I know we are not alone in renting a house/townhome/apartment for YEARS and every experience is so different. Sometimes you have the best landlords; other times you want to move just to never have anything to do with them again. We have had a wonderful mixture of the above, and each situation we took something from, used it as a learning experience and moved on.
The one thing I will say I had the hardest time with was at our last rental they did vigorous inspections every 6 months, and sometimes when investors were on site, they would do surprise checks as well.
Now I don’t think that I am a messy/dirty person by any means, but these guys wanted to make sure that they whole complex looked great from the outside, inside and also stayed safe. There were things they checked that never would have crossed my mind had they not been listed out in front of me on a checklist.
We lived in this rental for almost 3 years, so having 6 inspections total (every 6 months remember) I feel like I became a pro at these semi-annual checks and I knew that I could get my house clean enough to eat food off pretty much every surface in the unit….and it wasn’t even hard to accomplish! Granted we were living in just over 1100 square feet, and the house I’m in now is almost double that, but I’m already implementing some techniques into the new house and it’s staying cleaner than if I hadn’t had this checklist. I am going to stick with fulfilling the checklist every 6 months, even though I won’t have anyone coming and evaluating it!
The checklist is pretty self explanatory once you look at it. I broke everything down by rooms (kitchen, living, bedrooms, bathroom, utility/laundry) and if you have more than one of each area, just do the same thing in each.
A few things that weren’t complete “duh” ones for me at first were:
- TURN OFF THE FAN and clean the fan blades. We have our fans running 24/7 so I never notice them, but turn them off and you’ll see how GROSS they get!
- Pulling out the fridge & stove to clean under them.
- Cleaning all air vents, including cold air returns will help keep your air system running efficiently and can also help save you $$$ because they don’t have to work so hard
- Checking batteries in garage door openers. You mean those things don’t last forever?!
- Dusting behind, around and even vacuuming out the lint collector of the dryer. Did you know your lint can build up causing fires? I had a friend who just had hers catch fire last week in the middle of the night. SCARY
- Running an empty dishwasher can get rid of excess buildup that can be causing your dishes to not be as clean as they could be.
If you are using this checklist as a move out list, once completed you should be leaving your unit spic and span which will make your landlord super happy. If you need to, do some deep carpet cleaning or use touchup paint throughout the house. A few dollars spent doing these extra things will save your deposit, which usually landlords keep more than it would have cost you to do it yourself.
If you are using this list for a deep clean BEFORE moving into your house, you won’t regret it. We just bought a house and the previous owners left it TRASHED. Although we didn’t have time to do painting and a full deep clean before moving our stuff in (because we didn’t move local, it was a relocation), we had to do a bunch of it with our things already in the house. It was still doable (I do it every 6 months, so it must be!) but wasn’t as easy as if the house had been empty.
A few other things we do when moving that helps a ton:
- I hate having other people’s smells. Spray some febreeze to eliminate odors (previous owners had super smelly dogs) and then do what you can to get it smelling like YOU. I immediately pulled out our essential oil diffusers and got some great smells circulating throughout the house.
- Wash those everyday essentials. I don’t put sheets or blankets back on a bed without washing them. They for sure got some dust/dirt/gunk on them during the move, so throw them in the wash for a great fresh clean set to sleep on your first day in the new house. This also helps to bring your scent into the house (am I weird for worrying about that?!)
- Washing curtains while they are OFF the wall is so much easier. While they are down, take this time to run them through a load of laundry to keep them clean and fresh.
- Prep freezer meals a few weeks ahead of the move and keep them handy. The last thing you have is a full fridge or want is to make dinner. So keep your freezer meals and a crockpot RIGHT where you can find them, and for the first few days in the new house you won’t need to spend the expensive money eating out…you can have a hot meal each night with NO work! (Get a huge list of our favorite freezer meals in this post)
We used a bunch of P&G products from Walmart to help in our cleaning; Bounty® , Swiffer® (I love it because my kids can use it too!), Tide® , and Charmin®. The best part is that they were super affordable at Walmart, which completely helps in the cost associated with moving. Head over to your local Walmart to pick up supplies for your next cleaning day!
Mommy Chore Chart Printable