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Moving? You’ll need this ultimate housecleaning checklist

Whether you’re moving in or moving out, make your home shine with this cleaning checklist.

(CLICK HERE to download our house cleaning checklist as a PDF)

Moving can feel like a never-ending chore. Renters in particular are often required by lease to leave their apartments in tip-top shape, and anything amiss can be deducted from security deposits. No matter if you rent or own, you want to make sure your new home is just right when you’re ready to unpack.

Whether you’re moving out, moving in, or both, our cleaning checklist is the ultimate guide to making your house shine. (If the house you’re moving out of — or into — is in particularly rough shape, you may want to consider hiring a housecleaning service to help you out.)

Some preliminary housecleaning tips

Before we get into the details, there are a few tips experts agree on:

  • Cleaning should be the first thing you do before the movers arrive, and the last thing you do after the movers leave, says Barbara Reich, an organization expert at Life Organized. When you’re leaving a place, try to clean your spaces after the boxes have been packed and before they’ve been delivered to your new home. Wide open spaces make cleaning more comfortable and help you avoid tripping over things.
  • Make sure you have all your cleaning supplies ready to go. The last thing you want is to have to stop cleaning to run to the grocery store.
  • Find a great playlist, podcast, or audiobook to listen to while you clean. Music will keep your mood upbeat, and podcasts or audiobooks can make you forget you’re cleaning at all.

Your ultimate moving housecleaning checklist

Whether you’re moving out or moving in, these are the tasks you’ll want to make sure to check off in every room:

  • Remove nails, screws, hooks, and other hardware from the walls and ceilings. Fill remaining holes with putty, then paint.
  • Repair any damaged clothing racks, lighting fixtures, or other permanent wall furniture.
  • Dust each room with a focus on corners, windows, doors, blinds, baseboards, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. Once you start dusting, you’ll notice all the other spots in the room that need a once-over as well.
    • TIP: Experts recommend using microfiber towels, since they can cut down on allergens.
  • Vacuum every room.
  • For rooms with wood or tile, take the extra step and mop the floors as well.

Once you’ve checked off these larger tasks, it’s time for you to go room by room and make sure that everything is looking clean and tidy. Here are our room-by-room checklists you’ll want to have on you.

Cleaning checklist: Bedrooms, libraries and living room

  • After you’ve dusted, use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down window sills and frames, ceiling fans, lighting elements, and any other built-in furniture like shelves or cabinets.
  • Use glass cleaner and newspapers to clean the windows.
  • If the home has a fireplace, make sure to clean it as well.
  • Clean air vents and replace filters.
  • Finish by vacuuming and spot cleaning carpet stains.

Cleaning checklist: Bathrooms

  • Clean exhaust fans first, since it could make a mess.
  • Clean out drawers, medicine cabinets, and cabinets in the vanity. Don’t forget to toss old liners.
  • Apply grout cleaner early so it has time to sit.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner for walls, doors, towel racks, light fixtures — but not the toilet, mirrors, and tub.
  • Scrub the toilet with a specialized cleaner. Don’t miss the base, where dust often collects.
  • When cleaning a shower and/or tub, first clean out the areas with grout and finish with a specialized cleaner.
  • Don’t miss the shower rack and soap dishes.
  • Clean the vanity countertop, scrub the sink, and shine the faucets.  
  • Don’t miss built-in soap dishes and toothbrush holders.  
  • Vacuum the floor, then mop it.
  • Last, clean the mirror with glass cleaner.

Cleaning checklist: Kitchens

  • If the oven has a self-cleaning option, use it. Then clean the exhaust fan and hood.
  • Clean the inside of the fridge and freezer then the outside. Repeat the same process for the microwave. Move both appliances, so you’re able to clean behind and below them.
  • Next, clean the outside of the other appliances like the dishwasher then the stove.
  • Clean out drawers, cabinets, and shelves. Don’t forget to toss old liners. Clean the front of cabinets.
  • Empty the garbage disposal.
  • Scrub countertops starting with the area surrounding the stove, as it’s typically the messiest. Then clean the faucet and sink. Don’t forget to give the inside of the sink a thorough cleaning.
  • Vacuum then mop the floors with a specialized cleaner for wood or tile.

Cleaning checklist: Entry and exit ways

  • Move any debris by hand or with a leaf blower. Don’t miss the cobwebs.
  • Sweep away any extra dirt.
  • Clean any outdoor windows.
  • Scrub out any stains on the walkway.
  • Make sure grass, bushes, and trees aren’t overgrown.
  • If outdoor trash or recycling bins are dirty, clean them.

Cleaning checklist: Car garage

  • Make sure the garage is empty.
  • Repair any damaged clothing racks, lighting fixtures, or other permanent wall furniture.
  • After you’ve dusted, use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down window sills and frames, ceiling fans, lighting elements, and any other built-in furniture like shelves or cabinets.
  • Vacuum or sweep out the area.
  • If your cement garage floor has stains, you can scrub using a stiff brush, detergent and degreaser.

Download our printable house cleaning checklist

>> CLICK HERE to download our House Cleaning Checklist as a PDF file.