Cleaning Tips for both Moving In and Moving Out of Your Home

When getting ready to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure that it shows well once it is listed for sale. Your moving house cleaning should be as methodical as purging and packing and can be accomplished in conjunction with these other tasks.

These are areas that you need to focus on so that once your household is packed and loaded on the moving van, you won’t have a lot of last-minute cleaning chores to complete. We’ve put together some tips that use common baking soda and/or vinegar as cleaning agents that will leave your home clean and fresh without the need for harsh chemicals.

Moving Out

Kitchen

Buyers look closely at the kitchen and every appliance and countertop in it. Kitchens are very important to prospective buyers and need to be cleaned carefully before and after the sale.

Stovetop and Oven.

Brush off any debris with a brush and sprinkle the surface with baking soda. Then spray with hydrogen peroxide. Wipe clean with a sponge and cool water after the solution sits for several minutes. Your oven can be cleaned with a paste you make from equal parts baking soda and water. Let this sit overnight and then wipe the paste away with a damp cloth. If there is residue of baking soda, spray with vinegar, which will make the paste fizz up. You should be able to wipe it away easily. If your oven has a self-cleaning option, use it to remove burned-on food. Don’t forget to clean exhaust fans.

Drawers and Cabinets.

Remove drawer and shelf liners and sprinkle surfaces with a little baking soda, wiping with a damp sponge. Stains or caked-on foods on cabinet doors can be removed with Murphy’s Oil Soap, an all-natural cleaner.

Refrigerator.

When ready to move, clear out everything and spray all surfaces inside and out with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Wipe with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Defrost the freezer, if needed, and clean in the same manner as the refrigerator. Move the appliance out a bit and clean behind, under, and around it. Last minute: unplug the unit and leave the door ajar.

Dishwasher.

Clean by using a recommended product while running the dishwasher. Repair or replace any broken utensil holders or racks.

Countertops.

Fill a spray bottle with water and white vinegar (equal parts). Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and wipe down the counters.

Sink.

Use the same solution you mixed up for the counters and wipe out the sink. If you have a garbage disposal, pour ½ cup baking soda into the disposal drain, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the solution soak for a few minutes. Then rinse with water while turning on the disposal for a few seconds.

Flooring.

Sweep floors, being sure to go under appliances. Then do a quick mop with warm water. If floors need a more thorough cleaning, use a product recommended for your specific flooring. When selling the home, floors need to sparkle. When moving, a quick sweep and mop is sufficient.

Bathrooms

Shower and Tub.

Here again, the baking soda and water paste will do the trick to clean out soap and dirt residue. Apply the paste, scrub the surfaces, and then follow with a spritz of vinegar until it fizzes. Scrub again when the fizzing stops. Finish with a final rinse with water.

Sinks.

Sprinkle baking soda onto the sink and rub it in with a soft cloth. Then rinse with cool water.

Mirrors.

Mix 1part vinegar and 4 parts water to wipe all mirrors and fixtures.

Toilets.

Pour a mixture of ½ cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush.

Floors.

Sweep and mop with a solution of ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 2 gallons water. Use a towel to wipe down floors with this mixture.

Living Areas

Walls.

Remove any nails or screws and plaster the holes using spackling paste with a putty knife. When dry, lightly sand and touch up paint. Remove any scuff marks with a Magic Eraser. Cover a broom with a towel and wipe the walls from ceiling to baseboard to catch any cobwebs. Don’t forget to dust and wipe windowsills clean too.

Doors.

Wipe down doors and knobs with a few drops of dish soap in water. You can add ½ cup vinegar (to 3 cups of water) and mix in a few drops of dish soap and essential oil.

Light Fixtures, Ceiling Fans, Switches, Outlets. Dust and use a microfiber cloth sprayed with your cleaning solution (see Doors).

Vents.

Use a vacuum attachment to vacuum up any dust, dog hair or dirt. Wipe with the microfiber cloth and the same spray used to clean light fixtures.

Drapes.

Use an upholstery brush and crevice tool to vacuum drapery to rid it of dust and dirt. If more cleaning is needed, consider dry cleaning and re-installing.

Carpet Stains.

Use 1part vinegar mixed with 2 parts water. Dip a rag in the mixture and then place it over the stain. Heat an iron to the steam setting and iron on top of the rag for about 30 seconds. If the stain doesn’t come up, you may need a commercial carpet stain remover.

Garage.

Clean any ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and any built-in shelving or cabinets. Vacuum or sweep out the area. Clean garage floor stains by scrubbing with a stiff brush, detergent, and degreaser. Be sure to leave the garage completely empty unless other arrangements have been made with the buyers.

If you’ve taken care of all this beforehand, when the movers have loaded the van, you can do a quick dusting, vacuum, and mop to greet the new owners with a clean home.

Moving In

Once you are on the road to your new home, you can turn your attention to what needs to be done to make it ready to welcome you and your family in comfort. The amount of cleaning you’ll need to do will depend on whether your new home is a newly built house or one that is a resale.

Kitchen

Cabinets, Drawers, Counters. Wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant spray and add lining where desired.

Dishwasher.

Pour a cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher while running it through one cycle.

Refrigerator and Stove.

Remove all stove-top grills and refrigerator shelves and drawers. Soak them for an hour in a tub of warm, soapy water. Remove, dry, and put back in place. Prevent odors in the refrigerator by placing an open box of baking soda or a tray of fresh or used coffee grounds in the back corner. Replace every two- to four-weeks.
Bathroom
Toilets. If desired, replace toilet seats and covers to ensure a clean, fresh start. Otherwise, wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant. Do the same for all other surfaces.

Sweep, dust, vacuum, and/or mop as needed throughout the home to your satisfaction.

Hopefully, the former owners of your new home have done as good a job cleaning before they left as you did. Now that you’ve done your move-in cleaning, you are ready to celebrate being in your new home and are ready to tackle the next job: unpacking!

How to Make Your Cross-Country Move Less Stressful

You don’t need to be told that the more things you take with you, the more work you’ll have to do and the more expensive it will be. Therefore, the first tip to make your cross-country move less stressful is to reduce and declutter!

Downsize to De-stress

Attack one room at a time and use a sticky note to label items you use every day, those you use less frequently, and those you hardly ever use.

For those items you seldom or never use (or wear), make three piles: Items to sell; items to give away; and items to discard.

Check the condition of everything. If you are thinking of moving a five-year-old couch that has seen better days, you might consider donating it to a charitable organization and purchasing a new one once you are settled.

Consider having a yard sale or listing your items on your local Facebook Marketplace, or freecycle, OfferUp, Letgo, or Ebay.  For those items that are to be discarded, think about renting a dumpster through a company like BinThereDumpThat. They will deliver a household-sized dumpster to your driveway and pick it up when you have finished your cleanout.

Organize to a Fault

Use a moving checklist which gives you a detailed description and timeline for what you need to do to prepare for your move and tips for during and after your move.

Make an inventory of everything you are shipping to your new home, room by room. Your mover will also make an inventory, but it is prudent to have your own to compare.

Use technology to assist in making your inventory list easier. Check out the app from MoveAdvisor-Home Inventory, which gives you a detailed digital map of your home into which you can place all the furnishings you are planning to move. Sortly allows you to create a virtual inventory of all your items.

Timing is Everything

Speak with your moving company about the best time to undertake a cross-country move with regards to peak and off-peak seasons. Mid-month, mid-week, and off season moves will mean better scheduling to meet your needs and lower costs.

Be sure to consult the weather predictions a few days before your move is to begin. If bad weather is in store, you and your mover can prepare a back-up plan.

Begin Planning Early

Once you’ve decided to move, begin to interview prospective movers who are experienced in long-distance moving. You want to be sure to ask for a free, no-obligation quote that includes an in-home visit (adhering to current Covid-19 precautions) or a detailed telephone quote. You will need to be prepared at that point to know precisely what you are moving and communicate that to your prospective mover. Remember to discuss the different options regarding insurance and ask about the travel arrangements. Will there be an overnight stop along the way? What if there are delays?

Packing – Who and with What?

You have options regarding the packing procedure for your move. You can do it all. You can have your mover do all the packing … or you can split the process by doing the clothing and household items and have your mover pack electronics, art, and items that need special care.

Your mover has many types and sizes of moving boxes available and may even have used ones to sell at a discounted rate. There are some items that can be shipped in grocery or department store boxes but be wary of using boxes that are inappropriate in size or weight that will not protect your items adequately. There are specialty boxes for lamps, dinnerware, electronics, wall art, and TVs as well as wardrobe boxes in which you can hang clothing.

You can also purchase unprinted newsprint paper from your mover or stationery store … paper that won’t soil your items like used newspaper will. You can also use towels and linens to wrap fragile items.

Label each box with the room and a summary of what is in the box. Make a copy to put IN the box as well as one to tape onto the box.

For a detailed guide to packing that you can download, visit our website.

Coordinate Your Travel

You will need to plan your travel arrangements to mesh with your mover so that you, your family, and your household arrive at your destination together. Consider where you will stay until your mover arrives. What will be the ETA of the truck and how long will it take to unload? If you are traveling with pets, children, or seniors, what special considerations are necessary? A pet-friendly hotel? A sitter to keep the children occupied while the movers are loading and/or unloading? A caretaker and comfortable waiting space with food and water?

Ask Questions

An experienced long-distance mover will have the answers to your questions. Don’t be afraid to depend on their expertise if you have concerns. The best way to alleviate stress is to have confidence in your mover who is your partner in this very important and exciting venture.

Related Blog Post: Cleaning Tips for Moving In and Out of Your Home!

How to Make Your Cross-Country Move Less Stressful