When you have to clean a place you are moving out of, your heart (and energy) might not be in it. Let's be real -- you're no longer going to have to live there, so why should you care about the vacated house or apartment being sparkling clean?
For renters, if you want to ensure the prompt return of your security deposit, it's in your best interest to tidy up after your last box has left the building. For sellers, it's common courtesy to not leave a sty for your buyers.
In both cases, you could hire a cleaning service to come in and take care of your old place. However, if you don't want to spend extra dough on dusting, scrubbing and mopping, here's what you need to do.
1. Empty your refrigerator and defrost the freezer: Wipe down the shelves and don't leave anything behind. If you're feeling generous, the only trace you should leave is a bottle of chilled white wine.
2. Scrub all kitchen countertops, appliances, and sinks: No one wants to see your food residue. Grab some cleaning supplies and make your former kitchen a grease-free zone.
3. Wipe down kitchen cabinets: Your mantra should be, "Leave no crumb behind."
4. Clean the oven and stove: If you have a self-cleaning oven, there's no excuse. If not, buy some oven cleaner and get to scrubbing. Remember to clean around the stove's burners as well.
5. Scrub the bathroom: Your toilet, sink and shower must be scrubbed down and any residue removed.
6. Don't forget the floor: If your former home has carpet, you should vacuum or steam clean. If it's wood or tile that you're leaving behind, you must mop.
7. Wash the walls: Check the walls for any scuffs, stains, or smudges. If you spot any problems, carefully clean them up.
8. Dust busting: Light fixtures, blinds or other flat surfaces should be dusted off.
9. Windows must be washed: Clean the inside and outside of windows wherever possible.