top of page
  • Brad Foster

Move-Out Checklist

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Brad Foster from North County Property Group


Moving Out of a Rental or Selling?

When cleaning a rented home that you are about to move out of, the small details make all the difference. Little things you overlook determine if you get back all, some or nothing of your security deposit. If you approach move-out cleaning the same way you tidy your home normally, the chances are you can kiss your security deposit goodbye. How should you clean a rental property when you move out of it?

That depends on the condition of the home when you moved in. There should be a pictorial or video record of the home’s state from the day you moved in. You are expected to return it to that same state, minus the effects of natural wear and tear. Your lease agreement will often include details about how clean your landlord expects the home to be.

The length of time you have lived in the home will also affect how clean the house should be. Expectedly, natural wear and tear from the proper use of the home will increase with the length of time you have been there. That will influence how much the property owner expects you to restore the property to its original condition.

There are detailed procedures to follow when doing move-out cleaning. Having a step-by-step plan will make the process easier and reduce the likelihood of missing vital areas in the home. Following a guide will also help you clean every home feature in the best way. The following move-out checklist will help you ensure that you don’t lose your security deposit.

Move-out Checklist

Before you begin, here is an essential cleaning tip: start cleaning from the top of each room. If you commence dusting rooms from the bottom, the areas you have already cleaned will get dirty when you eventually clean the higher parts of the room. But if you start from the top of the room, you save yourself the extra work.

  1. Everywhere in the home

  • Remove all your things: Move-out cleaning should not just be about cleaning. It should first be about moving out. Make sure you remove all of your items from the property.

  • Dust the room’s features and remove cobwebs: Dust ceilings in every room and all ceiling fixtures, such as ceiling fans. Get rid of cobwebs before you start the actual cleaning.

  • Clean windows, doors, and ledges: Clean the windows, window ledges, doorknobs, doors, walls, baseboards, light switches, and power outlets in every room.

  • Remove all nails from walls: Normally, you will have nails on the walls of the apartment for holding décor in place. You may also have a TV mount, towel hooks, hat racks, etc. You need to remove all of these.

  • Fill holes and repair damaged drywall: After nails and similar items have been removed from the walls, refill the holes in the wall. Repair parts of the drywall that are damaged.

  • Retouch the paint where needed: Many landlords use standardized paint colors in their rental units. You will only need to get a small amount of paint to cover the patched areas and any marks on the walls.

  1. The bathroom

  • Open all the bathroom drawers and clean them out, along with the vanity; don’t forget to get everything out, including hairs.

  • Wash soap scum off the bathroom tiles, tub, and shower. Clean tiles and bleach tile grout.

  • Clean the mirror and polish it. Clean the countertop and the sink. Wipe and shine the faucet.

  • Give the toilet seat a thorough wash. If you can’t get it completely clean, you may have to replace it.

  • If the exhaust fan is dusty, vacuum out its surface.

  1. The kitchen

  • Wash the front of cabinets and clean them out, along with liners.

  • Wash and disinfect countertops, pay attention to edges and the areas under them.

  • Wash the sink and faucets. Don’t forget to polish the faucets and repair any necessary issues.

  • Remove all the shelves from the refrigerator and wash them. Scrub the refrigerator inside and outside.

  • Remove the drip pan, shelves, and burners from inside the oven and wash them with steel wool. Clean the oven inside and outside.

  • Clean the dishwasher, outside and inside.

  • Do not forget to clean the exhaust fan; use a vacuum if necessary.

  • Move all kitchen appliances and sweep the area behind them. Dust the back of each appliance.

  1. Bedrooms and living room

  • Dust every surface in the room.

  • Remove all drawers from closets and side tables. Clean out corners; use a vacuum, if necessary.

  • Dust and wipe all light fixtures.

  • Sweep and mop each room.

  1. Garage and outside

  • Sweep the garage and empty it completely.

  • Cut the grass and remove all grass cuttings.

  • Trim all hedges and pull weeds from around the yard.

  • Remove all personal belongings from the yard; see that nothing is hanging in the tree.

  • Scrub the porch and porch stairs to remove all grass stains.

*Note: For a detailed list of what our move-out cleaning specifically includes, please refer to our list of services tab where you can find further information. Thank you!


We thank Brad Foster for this blog post and encourage you to check out their website, here you will find a link:

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page