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Cleaning When Moving Out: 15 Areas You Shouldn’t Miss

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Whether you’re renting or selling, see the 15 places in your home you shouldn’t miss cleaning when moving out


Hi friends! I’m really excited to announce that we are all moved into our new home!

We recently moved an hour away from the city into the country, and we feel so blessed. 

This move has been something that we’ve been working towards for several years. Chris and I finally sat down, put our heads together, and decided that if we wanted to make things happen for our family we would need to put in the work.

I’m not going to lie – there was some divine intervention.

And before we could really get a hold of our finances and steady our feet, Chris lost his job.

The entire workplace closed down, it wasn’t anything my husband did personally. Hundreds of people lost their positions, and were forced to look for another job.

It was scary. 

I wasn’t sure how we were going to make money, let alone save it.

He was contracted to work until the very last day, though, and offered a bonus for not leaving until the end.

But Chris ended up finding a great job, and we decided to be smart about his bonus and apply it towards our debt.

We paid it all off!

And from there, we decided to change our spending habits. 

We got smart.

We stopped spending frivolously, stopped using our credit cards, and started stashing away some money into savings.

Needless to say, our credit scores improved tremendously!

Within a year of all of those sudden intense changes, and us adopting and applying a fresh and focused mindset, we ended up being in the perfect position to start looking for a new house.

We found the perfect house for us, with a big yard for our three children, plenty of square feet, and a bedroom for each kid. 

It even has an office for me!

We are incredibly lucky that things worked out the way they did, and we couldn’t be more thankful, but it was a lot of hard work.

We even ended up selling our old house within the first 24 hours it was on the market!

I contribute that to our amazing realtor (I can’t recommend Jennifer Gogo enough for all of my Metro Detroiters!), the love and care we put into our DIYs, and how well we cleaned our home before listing it. 

To be honest, it took us about a week and a half to clean when moving out of our home. We were juggling the boys’ final days at their schools, packing boxes, and struggling to find the time to do it all with our newborn baby in tow.

BUT WE PULLED TOGETHER AND MADE IT HAPPEN.

Because that’s what we do.

For this post, I wanted to put together the areas you shouldn’t miss cleaning when moving out to make the moving out process that much easier – there’s even a checklist at the end of this post for you to download for free to help you remember them all, and even add a few spots of your own if you have more to add.

Cleaning when moving out makes a huge impact on how much you’ll get offered by potential homebuyers, and whether you’ll receive offers at all.

If you don’t take care of basic cleaning duties in your home, buyers will see that and start to wonder if there are bigger problems with the house that you also didn’t care to maintain or take care of.

Hopefully, you have a little less on your plate when attempting this list so it doesn’t take you as long as it took us, because moving with a newborn is tough business ;).

Here are the 15 areas you shouldn’t miss cleaning when moving out…

*This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions are my own, as always. 

Porch

The front door is the very first thing a home buyer sees and sets the tone for their entire experience. 

First impressions matter!

Wipe down both the exterior and interior of your front door and door frame. 

Sweep off your porch with a sturdy broom to remove dirt and debris, and lay down a fresh doormat with a rug underneath.

Be sure to dust off and wipe down any furniture on the porch if you are staging your porch for a showing, but feel free to remove non-essential furniture items to show off the available space your front porch has to offer.

Take it to the next level with a fresh coat of paint! Neutral and coordinating paint colors are best. If you’re stumped on what color to paint the front door, try to match the shutters.

showers and tubs

Probably one of the germiest and dirtiest places in a home, be sure to give the shower and tub a thorough cleaning.

Bar Keepers Friend is great for removing tough stains, marks, and rust spots in tubs.

cabinets

Everyone remembers to wipe down their counters, but very few people actually clean their cabinets.

And I’m not sure about you, but for me, the kitchen is the part of the house I pay the most attention to – especially when looking at listings online.

Cleaning your cabinets makes a huge difference – whether you are running a damp magic eraser over your smooth cabinets or degreasing and waxing your oak cabinets!

By the way, I highly recommend degreasing (here’s the degreaser we used) and waxing oak cabinets before taking photos for listings and before showings! You really only need to do it about a week before you move out after most of your personal items are removed. 

It leaves your cabinets looking shiny and clean without being greasy!

Waxing oak kitchen cabinets with beeswax makes a HUGE difference in both pictures and in person when people come to look at your house (here’s the wax we used – the container was small but we still had plenty leftover after polishing our large kitchen and many cabinets).

Also, be sure to wipe down the interior shelves of your cabinets.

flooring

Here’s a great DIY floor cleaner that makes your house smell like HEAVEN! It’s great for tile, laminate, and wood floors.

Try to do this step last, and mop your way out of the house.

Deep cleaning your carpets after moving furniture also helps deodorize and spruce up the main living areas in the home.

Here’s the carpet cleaning machine I use, which is great for cleaning up after kids and pets.

closets

Once you have removed clothes, towels, and essentials from the closets in your home, give the shelves and closet walls a good wipe down. 

Remove scuff marks from shoes with a magic eraser, wipe down poles and shelves and vacuum away dust and cobwebs.

Also, be sure to check the ceiling and vents in the closets for spiderwebs and dust!

walls and ceilings

Cleaning your home’s walls and ceilings is incredibly important when you’re moving out, especially if you have children and pets!

You might not even realize just how dirty these areas are until you start to clean them.

Here’s a great recipe for cleaning walls and ceilings that works wonders and removes dirt, grime, grease, fingerprints, and more!

stairways

Vacuum carpeting or hard flooring on your stairs with the nozzle attachment, making sure to remove all dirt and debris in all nooks and crannies!

Wipe down the handrail and surrounding walls.

If hard flooring, mop each stair using a spin or wring mop (this is the one I use – you can toss the dirty mop head into your washing machine!) starting at the very bottom stair and working your way up.

fireplaces

Remove all ashes and debris from your fireplace, but scoop up 2 tbsp. of ashes and place into a bowl.

With a wet, wrung-out rag, apply some of the ashes to the interior glass of your fireplace windows and rub the glass in circles.

This is the best way to clean the glass inside a fireplace, hands down!

Wipe down the exterior of your fireplace using a wet magic eraser if it is smooth or painted, or a coarse dry brush if it is rough brick.

oven and stove

If you are including your home’s stove and oven in the sale of your home, people will be opening up these appliances and envisioning what it would be like to bake cookies in the oven or cook dinner with family and friends on the stove.

See how to clean a glass cooktop HERE.

Here’s a great post on cleaning your oven, including how to properly clean oven glass.

microwave

Remove all food, spills, and marks from your microwave.

Potential homebuyers will open this appliance, and you don’t want them to smell burnt popcorn or see last month’s reheated spaghetti all over the walls of your microwave!

This post shows you how to clean your microwave in 5 minutes without having to scrub!

refrigerator

Cleaning the fridge is essential when moving out!

Clear out the food, wipe everything down, and place a new opened box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

Here’s a comprehensive post I wrote on cleaning out your fridge from start to finish…

freezer

Same as the fridge, clear out all the food and items inside.

I like to let the freezer thaw a bit before wiping everything down.

ceiling fans

Dust all ceiling fan blades with a duster (this one is my favorite), and dust all light covers and fan bases. 

You can also take this time to change out light bulbs that have burnt out if you have any.

laundry room

I would recommend running a washing machine cleaner through your washer when moving out, even if you don’t notice a smell.

This is the one I use! It kills all odors (even ones you don’t realize are there!) and is septic tank safe.

Clean out the dryer vent as best you can, and wipe down the sink in your laundry room, if you have one.

air vents

One of the forgotten areas that buyers notice are the air vents. 

I can’t tell you how many houses we saw that had dirty vents with layers upon layers of dust that could be seen in the slats!

Dust your vents, and be sure to replace the main filter.

basement 

Basements aren’t really an issue unless there’s water damage, but try to spruce yours up a bit with vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down closet spaces.


Alright friends, those are the 15 areas you shouldn’t miss cleaning when moving out! Be sure to print off the free Moving Out Cleaning Checklist download below to help you conquer cleaning your home.

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