When it comes to moving in NYC, it probably seems like there are endless to-dos to check off your list. While you might be focused on getting everything into boxes for moving day, don’t forget that after the movers have loaded the truck, you’ll still need to do a final cleaning of your house or apartment. This is especially true if you’re renting and want your deposit back. Here’s our checklist for getting everything spic and span for the final walkthrough with your landlord:
Start with the Kitchen
If you’re a cook, then your kitchen has likely seen the most activity of any room in your home. With food splatters and dirty appliances, the kitchen probably also needs the most elbow grease of any room to get it sparkling again.
1. Empty Everything
Start by opening all the cabinets, drawers, and the refrigerator to make sure all foodstuffs and other knickknacks have been removed. When the next tenant moves in, the last thing they’ll want to discover is your half-eaten box of cereal or your moldy leftovers still sitting in the fridge. Also, make sure to remove any shelf liner you may have added to the cabinets when you moved in.
2. Clean the Appliances
Take time to scrub down the refrigerator, microwave, oven, and any other appliances you’re leaving behind. While these are especially a nuisance to get clean, not doing so is one of the surest ways to have part of your cleaning deposit withheld.
3. Wipe Down the Surfaces
With a damp cloth or mild kitchen cleaner, take time to wipe down all the kitchen surfaces, starting with the insides of the cabinets. Make sure to wipe down the outside of the cabinet doors as well, as these tend to get splattered and sprayed with food. Finish off with the countertops before moving on to the floors.
4. Vacuum and Mop the Floors
Once everything else is clean, vacuum the floors and baseboards to get rid of dust and any lingering particles of food. Finally, if your kitchen flooring is wood or tile, take a mop to it to make it sparkle.
Next Tackle the Bathroom
Most people dread cleaning the bathroom, but if you want your full deposit back, then it’s a must.
1. Clean Out Cabinets
Thoroughly clean out the cabinet space under the bathroom sink to remove all your toiletries, towels, and cleaning supplies.
2. Scrub it Down
Using a cleaner that’s formulated to tackle bathroom grime, give the shower, toilet, and sink a good scrub. Make sure any mold or mildew is wiped away and double check the toilet to ensure unsightly rings have been removed.
3. Wipe Down the Surfaces
Use a glass cleaner to spray down the mirror and any other glass surfaces in the bathroom. You’ll want to make certain everything is spot free before handing the keys over.
4. Take Care of the Floors
Finally, as with the kitchen, finish off the bathroom with a thorough vacuuming and mopping, if applicable.
Finish with Bedrooms and Common Areas
Now that you’ve tackled the two hardest rooms, it’s time to take on the rest of the house. When cleaning, take the top down approach so when dust or dirt settles to the ground, the floors will be the last thing cleaned.
1. Start on the Ceiling
Carefully dust ceiling fans and light fixtures that might have gathered dust using a step stool and cloth or a vacuum with a hose extension. While you’re looking up, dust any crown molding and check for cobwebs that might be lurking in the corners.
2. Give the Walls a Once Over
Remove any nails and screws you may have added to the walls to hang pictures and other decorations, and fill in the holes using drywall putty. If you took the liberties of painting your place, make sure you check the lease agreement to confirm whether you’re responsible for painting the walls back to their original color.
3. Make the Windows Sparkle
A lot of people forget to clean their windows before the final inspection. First, if the windows have blinds, vacuum them off or use a dust rag to wipe them down. Then, pull up the blinds and spray down the insides of your windows using a glass cleaner, wiping away all the smudges and dust. While the blinds are pulled up, vacuum or dust along the windowsill, as this is a common place for dust and dead bugs to settle.
4. Finish with the Floors
Vacuum all the floors, making sure to use a special vacuum attachment to dust the baseboards (a cleaning rag will work for this too). If you have serious stains left behind from pets or other mishaps, you may want to call in a professional carpet cleaner to get the job done. If the apartment has wood or tile floors, mop to make sure all the dirt and dust is removed.
While it might seem like a lot of work, taking the time to thoroughly clean your home after moving out could make all the difference in getting back the hundreds or thousands of dollars you put down for your initial deposit. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your move.