Guest Post - Prep Your Home for a Handover: A Pre-Move Cleaning Checklist


Moving into a new home can be so exciting and fun. Relocating can mean better opportunities, change (the right kind), and a fresh start. As such, when you’ve found the perfect place, almost all your thoughts will be about it.

Before you move on, however, think about your old home and the responsibilities you still have to take care of it. Whether you’re renting or owned your former abode, it still needs to be left in near pristine condition. After all, it will be a “new” home, signaling a fresh start, for some other lucky person.

Below is a cleaning checklist for your old house before moving to the new one.

Exit Cleaning Checklist

If you were renting your old place, exit cleaning is important to get your full deposit or bond back. The landlord or caretaker of your former home will inspect every nook and cranny to see of the place to see if it is still presentable for new renters.

On the other hand, if you’re selling your house, cleaning is essential to attract potential buyers. Most people looking to purchase real estate don’t want a messy place from the outset.

When it comes to cleaning, work through every section of the house. Start with rooms that are the hardest to clean, and make your way to the easier parts of the home. Follow the checklist below as you are cleaning:

1. Kitchen

a. Appliances

Sometimes appliances are included with the lease of a place. Whether they were there before you came or were purchased by you, make sure the ones left behind are clean. Below are some of the kitchen appliances people usually don’t bring with them during a move.

Stove - Scrub the exhaust fan and hood. Use the self-cleaning option if it is available.

Microwave - Don’t forget to clean behind and underneath it. Make sure the inside is scrubbed clean as well.

Fridge - Scrub all the layers, dividers and compartments, and get rid of any accumulated ice in the freezer (if any).

b. Cabinets and Countertops

Open the cabinet doors and let them air out a bit, especially the ones on the bottom level where trash cans are usually kept. Then scrub every inch inside of them. Don’t forget to clean the exterior of the cabinet doors and to throw out any liners you used during your stay.

For countertops, start with the area surrounding the stove as it is usually the hardest to clean. Work your way to the sink and use cleaning solutions to polish it.

c. Floor

Most kitchen floors are tiled. Start by scrubbing them with specialized cleaning products. Try to clean the grout between each tile as much as possible. Wipe everything down with a mop and let it air dry.

2. Bathroom

a. Toilet

Most people focus on cleaning the inside of the toilet, but they should also scrub the outside of the bowl, the tank, and the base. If the seat needs replacing, do your landlord or the next renter a favor and buy a new one. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

b. Bathroom Sink — Similar to the kitchen sink, scrub it clean using products to make it bright and shiny.

c. Shower Area

Don’t forget to clean the walls of the shower and floor.

Pick up any stray hair that might be sitting near the drain.

Use a vinegar solution to clean the shower head and make sure the water flows properly.

d. Floor — Follow the same cleaning procedure as the kitchen floor.

3. Living Room

a. Furniture

Typically, people bring all their furniture with them during a move. However, sometimes people leave a couple of pieces behind. If you are thinking of doing the same, make sure it is clean. Use a vacuum to clear furniture of any pet hair if you own one and let the pillows air outside.

b. Walls and Ceiling

Take out any screws, nails, or other items you used to hang pictures and other decorations on the walls. If you can, cover them up.

Get rid of any cobwebs in the corners. (Bonus Tip: If you are selling the place and can spare the change, paint the walls white.)

Dust any ceiling fixtures and make sure they are working.

c. Floor


Use specialized cleaning products on the floor. Depending on the type you have, dust, sweep, and vacuum the area.

4. Bedrooms

a. Floors — Follow the same procedure mentioned for the floor in the living room section.

b. Walls and Ceilings — Refer to the cleaning instructions for the walls and ceiling in the living room.

5. Garage

Take out all the stored items in the garage. Scrub the walls and floor clean.

6. Yard

Uproot any weeds in the yard. Try to make it look presentable by mowing the grass and raking up leaves.

7. Patio

Wipe down any patio furniture you may be leaving behind. Scrub the deck if it is an outdoor patio. If it is indoor, clean it the same way you would the bedroom.

Time to Start Afresh

Think about the new renters or owner of your former home and how happy they would be in a beautiful, spotless place. Refer to the checklist above to make sure that the entire house is ready for its new owners.

If cleaning your old place is too much of a hassle, consider hiring professional cleaners to do it for you. After all, no one would want to leave an old home knowing they’ve left behind a mess.

Your new place would have (hopefully) been cleaned by someone, too.

As for you, it’s now time to move on and begin a new life in your new home.

Craig Jones is the Managing Director at
Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia and around the world.