How to avoid leaving a huge mess when you move out

Don't forget to clean the stove before moving!

Moving is a huge time-consuming and stress-inducing chore, but there’s no other way about it. You have to spend weeks sorting and packing stuff you’ve accumulated over the past few years, talk to the movers, arrange for utilities to be transferred, unpack and put things away in your new home…the list just goes on.

With all this occupying your mind day and night, it’s only natural that you’ve forgotten one essential part of moving – that’s right, move-out cleaning! This house has been your home for the past many years; don’t you owe it a good cleanup before you leave? Okay, you are not that sentimental about the house, but do you think you have a good chance of getting the deposit back intact if you leave the house in the condition it is in right now?

To make things easier on you and help you avoid leaving a huge mess behind when you move, we have put together a handy list of things that you need to do before closing the door of your old home one last time. Happy moving!

What you will need:

  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A mop
  • A broom and a dustpan
  • A squeegee
  • A spray bottle
  • Scrubbing sponges
  • Dish detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Magic erasers
  • Vinegar
  • Toilet cleaner and brush
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • An old toothbrush for tough-to-clean stains
  • Old newspapers
  • Cleaning rags
  • Trash bags

Tip: Remember to keep the above items separate from your packing boxes so that they don’t get shipped out to your new home before you are done cleaning!

In all the rooms:

Spray all windows with a mix of 50% distilled water and 50% tap water and wipe clean with a squeegee or a scrunched-up newspaper. If you had not washed your windows for a long time and they are particularly dirty, you may want to wash them with soapy water first. Clean the ledges.

Dirty window blinds? Simply put on an old cotton sock, dip your hand in the vinegar mix, and run your hands over each of the blinds. And there you go, good as new!

Take out all nails and hooks you have put into the walls and doors and fill them with putty. Use a magic eraser to remove scuffmarks, but take care to first test the eraser on a small surface. Harsh erasers can take the paint right off the walls and make your job twice as hard!

Bright lights are magnets for insects. Make sure to check for dead insects when you dust and clean the lighting fixtures and fans.

Wipe the closet shelves and check if the walls are clean. Remove cobwebs from the ceiling, vacuum the floor, and mop the hardwood and tile surfaces.

Tip: Always clean from top to bottom to avoid having to clean the same spot twice!

In the kitchen:

Empty cabinets and remove liners. Wipe the insides and the front surfaces clean with a damp cloth.

Remove refrigerator shelves and soak them in the sink while you scrub the inside clean with a scrubbing sponge and dish wash soap. Wipe the inside dry with a cleaning rag, wash the shelves, dry them, and put them back in. While you are at it, clean the sides, back and top of the refrigerator and also sweep below the refrigerator. If you have a dishwasher, clean it thoroughly.

Clean the oven, microwave and stove next and make sure that you remove all traces of grease and burnt food. While cleaning the stove, make sure you clean below the drip pans too. Scrub the kitchen counter top, sink and plumbing fixtures and you are good to go!

Tip: For the oven, use a paste made of baking soda and water to remove stubborn grease and grime without the harsh odors associated with heavy-duty oven cleaners.

In the bathrooms:

Empty the bathroom cupboards and take out the liners. Scrub clean the shower walls, tub, sink and counter with an all-purpose cleaning agent. Use the toothbrush for attacking the grout. Clean the toilet thoroughly from top to bottom. Spray the mirror with the vinegar solution you used on the windows and wipe clean. Dust the exhaust fan. Mop the floor.

Tip: Remember to keep at least one bathroom for the last or you may have to clean it again before you leave!

Don’t forget the outside areas

If you were using any outside storage facilities in the building, such as garage lockers, clean out those spaces. Dust and clean the outside lighting fixtures. Check your mailbox. Sweep the porch and patio.

One last time

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you say goodbye to your old home for the last time.

  • Are all the closets and cabinets empty?
  • Are all the electrical appliances/lights/fans in working condition?
  • Have you taken the trash out?
  • Do you have time-stamped photographs to document the condition of the house at the time of your move-out? These may be necessary if the landlord comes up with false damage charges later.
  • Do you have all the keys to return to the landlord?
  • Have you informed your neighbors you are moving?

A thorough move-out cleaning, especially if you have not been very particular about keeping the house in great shape all these days, can take a lot of time. If you have friends who are willing to pitch in, don’t hesitate to ask for their help. You should ideally start a few days in advance so that you are not left elbow deep in soapsuds and detergents even on the last day.

If you hate getting your hands dirty and don’t mind spending the extra dollars, you can always consider hiring a professional cleaning service to spruce up the home before you leave. But whatever you decide, don’t forget that move-out cleaning is essential to ensuring that you get your security deposit back from your landlord without a major deduction. In most cases, a happy landlord means a full refund. Here’s hoping that your moving happens as smoothly and easily as possible. All the best!

 

photoKurt Jacobson is a writer and vacation rental manager. Knowing what it takes to maintain pristine appearances for customers, he thrives on sharing what he’s learned from his experience. When he’s not managing a property, he writes about home cleaning for the Professional Home Cleaning Inc website.

Spring cleaning: Tackle the forgotten areas in your home

Written by Nicole Harrison

Spring is just around the corner! Toss back your curtains, throw open your windows, and breathe in that crisp warm(ish) air. Whether you love cleaning or not, now is the time to start freshening up your house and begin spring cleaning. As much as I hate cleaning, I have to admit, after a good spring cleaning my mood drastically improves.

Most people have the same spring cleaning schedule each year, however think about the areas of your home you don’t tend to focus on. It’s easy to vac SPRING-CLEANINGuum your carpet, dust your furniture, and clean out the fridge, but I have highlighted what I think are items and areas most people seem to neglect.

Baseboards– When cleaning, most people forget about their base boards. Vacuuming along the edges of the carpet is usually a go-to, but many people don’t actually take time to clean their baseboards, and if they do, it’s not very often. There are a few ways to clean your baseboards, speaking from personal experience, both work quite well. If you don’t clean your baseboards often I recommend using a bucket of water and vinegar, or soapy water. Dryer sheets are also an excellent way to clean your baseboards. The fibers in the dryer sheets work well to pick up dust, dirt, and hair that could be lingering on your baseboards. If you want a thorough deep-cleaning, you can wipe down your baseboards with dryer sheets and follow with the liquid solution mentioned earlier. We recommend using cotton swabs to reach the tight corners and crevices on your baseboard.

Blinds– There many types of blinds and cleaning them can be a huge pain. Believe it or not, blinds get very dirty and can collect a lot of dust. Depending on the type of blind you have, you can either vacuum across each panel — don’t vacuum vertically — or use a dry sponge to remove excess dust and particles. If you have to spot clean a certain area of your blinds, all-purpose cleaner works well to clean make your blinds look like new again!

Pillows– Did you know you’re supposed to wash your pillows? You should be washing your pillows at least twice a year. Check the care label on your pillow to make sure they are machine washable. Wash no more than two pillows at a time, while keeping a balanced load. When you wash your pillows, we recommend using very hot water. In addition to laundry detergent, it’s common to add powdered dishwasher detergent, bleach, and borax to your load to clean and make your pillows white again. If you decide to dry your pillows in the dryer, throw in a couple tennis balls covered in old socks to fluff the pillows while they dry.

Junk Drawer– I hate junk drawers. It’s a place for me to get lazy and throw … well, junk — and believe me I do. If you are like me and have a junk drawer (or multiple), be sure to spend some time going through it when you’re on your spring cleaning kick. Empty your junk drawer and wipe down the inside with warm soapy water. Depending on what you have in your junk drawer, the bottom of it could get really dirty, and really, how often do you take time to wipe out the inside of it? Go through yIMG_9032our drawer’s contents and pitch anything that has no value or functional use for you. Look into buying drawer organizers to keep items in place and easy to find.

Garbage Disposal– I stole this tip from our spring cleaning blog that was written last year. I tried it, and it’s brilliant! Warm up ½ cup of lemon juice in your microwave. After the lemon juice has been heated, slowly add ½ cup of baking soda to create a thicker paste (it should bubble). Turn on the garbage disposal and pour down the sink. Run hot water to wash down the leftover cleaning solution. If your garbage disposal still smells, repeat the process as needed. I love the fresh lemon smell!

Hopefully these spring cleaning tips were helpful and reminded you to clean those often forgotten areas! For more spring cleaning tips and ideas, check out this spring cleaning infographic.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Organizing your not-so organized closet

Written by Nicole Harrison

Closet organization is not many people’s strong suit. Closets are the one place in a home where things get shoved when guests come over, and it’s safe to say items accumulate easily in these hidden corners of the home. If you’re anything like me, you rarely spend time cleaning and organizing your closet because let’s face it, who has time for that? Having a clean closet is beneficial for so many reasons – the number one being our sanity. A well-organized closet helps you come up with the perfect outfit especially on those mornings you’re running short on time.

Here are five foolproof tips to give yourself a clean, stress-free closet.

Color code your clothing. This one is self-explanatory. When you are looking for that one grey shirt you got from your aunt Betty for Christmas and can’t seem to find it anywhere, a color-coded closet is the perfect solution. Not only does color coding make finding clothes easier, but it looks refreshing and put together.

Categorize your clothes. Sort your clothes in different categories. Put blouses, sweaters, cardigans, t-shirts, dress pants, dresses, skirts, button downs and whatever else you have hanging in your closet in their own sections. You will find it extremely helpful to keep your dress and casual clothes in separate locations. Categorizing clothes makeTMATSPRING2013140-2627556146-Os putting outfits together a breeze.

Invest in organizers. Trust me on this one. If you don’t have built-in shelves in your closet, we recommend you invest in some kind of organizer. These are perfect for your shoes, sweaters, pants, and other items you don’t have places for. One of our favorite and most handy organization tips is to take your old moving boxes and cover them with scrapbook paper or fabric and use them as bins for small, miscellaneous items. If space is an issue consider investing in a wardrobe box where you can fit three feet of hanger clothes from your closet in addition to out of season shoes and store in a basement or utility room until the seasons change.

Flip your hangers. Do you have too many clothes? Is it hard for you to get rid of the clothes you don’t wear? After you have organized, color coded, or categorized your closet, you can start the downsizing process. This trick will help solve your crowded closet problems. Flip all of your hangers backwards for a certain time period (usually three or four months does the trick). After you wear something hang it back up facing the normal direction. At the end of the three or four months, get rid of the clothes whose hangers are still backwards. If you’re still unsure about tossing certain clothes, ask yourself if you would buy it again today.

Clean your closet. Once your closet is sorted and organized, take time to deep clean it. Just because it looks nice doesn’t mean it’s clean. Vacuum or mop the bottom of your closet and take a rag and wipe down the walls. Most likely you will find dust bunnies on the bottom of your closet. Spending time deep cleaning your closet will add that extra sparkle as a finishing touch.

These simple steps should be a helpful guide to get your closet in tip-top shape in no time. If anything, hopefully this post inspired and motivated you to go through your closets and get organized. This winter has consisted of brutal temperatures and icy roads, organizing your closets could be the perfect cure to your cabin fever!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

10 spring cleaning tips using basic household products

Written by Claire Schneider

Throw the curtains open and put out a cheerful welcome mat because it’s finally starting to feel like spring. We all know what that means … spring cleaning time! It’s the season to toss or stow seasonal items, tidy corners, and tame cluttered spaces.

This may sound strange, but I’ve been waiting for spring cleaning since last spring. My husband and I bought our first house last year, which was a foreclosure, so it needed a lot of work. I’ve tested many different cleaning products ranging from eco-friendly to the toxic, burn–the-lungs, cleaners. Still there are just some items in our house which will not clean well.

I’ve enlisted the help of my awesome co-workers for their go-to, natural/organic spring cleaning tips. I put some of them to the test on our home; others I’ve heard have worked for several people, such as the oft-prescribed club soda trick.

Vinegar

• Windows and glass: Mix together a 50/50 blend of vinegar and distilled water into a spray bottle and grab a few sheets of recycled newspaper. Use a diluted 25/75 for hardwood floors and silk plant leaves. It will make them shine!

• Rust: Soak rusty items in vinegar to eat off rust. Since our house was vacant for at least six months, our sinks and showers had stubborn rust rings around the drains.

I tested out this cleaning tip on our bathroom sink. It was hard to really get the area to soak for a long period of time (our drain apparently doesn’t close water tight), but after only soaking for 30 minutes and scrubbing with a toothbrush for about 10, there already is a dramatic difference in the amount of rust that even the well-known rust cleaners couldn’t accomplish.

Rust 1

Rust 2

•  General cleaning: Vinegar is good for general cleaning of bathrooms and clearing clogged drains. When left in a bowl it also can deodorize a room.

I left a bowl in one of our linen drawers that has always had a musty smell no matter how long I let it air out. From what I can tell, it worked very well.

Club Soda

• Stains: Club soda is perfect for getting rid of red wine and other pesky stains.

Dryer Sheets

• Dust and hair: Rub a used dryer sheet over freshly dusted furniture and it will repeal dust and hair.

This one I had to try. We have two dogs and I currently have to dust at least twice a week. Here’s a photo of what our table looks like after not dusting for a week without using the dryer sheet and in the right is one week after testing it out. It’s still dustier than I hoped, but it’s an arguable improvement.

Dusty Table 1

Dusty table 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Odor: Dryer sheets are very handy and inexpensive air fresheners for closest, drawers, under sinks, and pet areas.

Lemon

• Water marks: Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon on the metal fixture and rinse.

Not only did this work but it left my bathroom smelling lovely!

• Garbage disposal: Mix ½ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of baking soda. Heat lemon juice in microwave for 30 seconds. Add baking soda slowly (it will bubble) and mix well. Turn on the disposal and pour down the drain. Turn on hot water for a few seconds to rinse away any mix remaining in the sink or the bowl. Use weekly. If disposal still has a bad odor, repeat.

Cotton

• Ceiling fans: Slip a pillow case over ceiling fan blades, one at a time, and wipe. Dust falls into the pillow case, not on you, your furniture, or your floors.

This may be one of my favorite tips! I have really bad dust allergies so being able to dust and tap it will really help ensure I don’t get one of those amazingly fun sneezing attacks this year.

• Blinds: Put an old sock on one hand and spritz it with water. Grip each panel of the blind and pull one end to the other, removing dust from both sides at once.

I hope you find these natural and powerful cleaning tips as helpful as I did. Check out our spring cleaning infographic for additional tips!

7 Benefits of Spring Cleaning

By Claire Schneider

Are you getting tired of the winter blues? Well it’s finally getting to be that time again for the ritual of spring cleaning; that is if Mother Nature ever decides to cooperate. Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get a head start on the seasons of spring and summer so we can enjoy them with our friends and family. Here is more information on the ritual’s history, benefits and a checklist for spring cleaning:

Spring Cleaning Infographic

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.