Most standard leases won't penalize you for normal wear and tear to your apartment, so it's OK if the carpet looks a little more worn or the paint a little faded by the time you move out. However, the parameters of your lease will most likely hold you accountable for making your apartment look as nice when you move out as it did when you moved in, which can require some extra care on your part.
It may feel like a tedious job, but you probably did put down a security deposit when you signed that lease, and you do want that money back, right?
First, check to see if your landlord or management company has a move-out checklist. This will help keep you on track to getting your security deposit back in full. Then, be thorough when you clean. Imagine how you want your next apartment to look when you walk in with that first moving box and give the same consideration to the people who just signed a lease on your current place.
Getting that “like new" feel to your apartment means doing more than just the basics. While it's important to clean the countertops, floors and bathrooms well, here are few items you might not spruce up as frequently that need your attention before moving day.
Everyone has those hard-to-reach spots around their apartment that often get ignored on cleaning day. While that's fine for regular cleaning, they're not the spots to avoid when preparing to move out. Make sure you check these key areas for dust:
Spend some time wiping them down with a good duster and/or multi-surface spray if they look a little dingy.
Even though it may feel like the grease that has accumulated on your stovetop and in your oven is impossible to clean, you can return these appliances to their cleanest appearance with a little work.
Ammonia or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can serve as homemade cleaners for your stovetop, helping to break down grease and make it easier to wipe away the grime. Cleaners designed to target grease specifically can also often be found at hardware stores.
Many ovens offer a self-cleaning option, which is ideal if your oven is moderately dirty. This process heats your oven up to burn off the grime, so if your oven has a lot of build up, don't use this option. Too much grease can smoke up during the self-cleaning process and be quite dangerous.
Oven cleaner is another option, but it can be a little rough on the person doing the cleaning, so make sure to wear safety gloves. For the natural route, baking soda, water and vinegar sprayed on and left overnight can loosen the build-up.
Packing up all your belongings creates empty spaces where your stuff once lived. You may suddenly notice how dirty or dusty the inside of your cabinets is or a strange spill that has sat in your fridge for nobody knows how long. Wipe down all the insides of cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms, and give special attention to the shelves in your fridge and freezer. Complete the cleaning by wiping down the outside of each. as well.
General wear-and-tear typically doesn't include carpet or wall stains or the holes from hanging pictures. It's easy to take care of this common damage. Attack carpet stains with a carpet cleaner or use baking soda. Extreme stains may require you to rent a professional-grade carpet cleaner from your local hardware store.
Wall stains can typically be wiped clean. For small holes in walls, fill them with spackling paste, using a putty knife. Once dry, smooth over with sandpaper and you're good to go.
There are always last-minute items lingering, so a quick walk-through will help ensure you leave your apartment in the same condition it was in when you first arrived.