Whether you just bought or rented a new home, moving out of your previous rental is an important process to master. For most people, moving out of a rental home is all about packing boxes and securing your next space. However, before you move out, it's important to consider your security deposit, forgotten items, and general courtesy as you wrap up your final days in the rental home. Most tenants try to make sure they get the home broom-clean and clear the last of their socks and hangers out of the closet. But what about the places that are often overlooked by tenants on the way out? The utility closets, the bottom bathroom drawer, or the corners of the garage?
Before your landlord comes through to do their final inspection when you depart, a great renter should take some time to check all the most commonly overlooked move-out tasks:
The attic is the single most forgotten storage space when emptying a home during the move-out chaos. It's easy to forget stuff in the attic because you put it there to be forgotten, until you need it. And if you don't need your attic stuff until a few months after moving into the new house, that will be one heck of a forehead-slapping moment. Not only does your soon-to-be-ex landlord not need your boxes of sweaters and holiday decorations, but you'll (probably) eventually miss that stuff.
Remember to climb up into the attic one last time to haul down any boxes or personal items. And any stuff abandoned there by previous tenants can be set aside neatly in a corner or left as-is.
One of those little tasks that renters are responsible for is monthly care of the HVAC system, which means changing the air filter. Whether you've been on the job or let it slip your mind, take a moment to change the air filter one more time. Hopefully, you've been doing this every one to six months. But if you haven't, don't leave your landlord with a filter full of all the particles of your stay. Change out that air filter and leave your landlord with a clean filter and a slightly cleaner HVAC system on your way out.
When you're getting the house broom-clean, it's easy to forget the little details like the plumbing fixtures. But one way to get a gleaming landlord reference is to leave the house gleaming behind you. Take a sponge or a roll of paper towels and some surface cleaner to all the faucets and handles. Then wipe the space between the faucet and the wall. This is one of the most notorious secret grungy places in an entire home because we so often forget to clean it. It's always nice to leave a home impressively clean when you depart for your shiny new residence.
You've carefully cleaned every part of the house you normally look at, but what about the spaces behind the doors? You might be surprised how often this space is overlooked. A lot of dust can build up behind doors that are always open and even if you regularly close your doors, your final clean often involves leaving all the doors open, and it's easy to miss the space behind the door. Check for dust on the floor along with the possibility of an indent in the wall in case the doorknob has been knocking against it. If you've been using putty and paint for nail holes, a little can fix a doorknob-dent as well.
Grab a flashlight or your phone on flashlight mode and take a moment to look closely at every single corner in the house. Consider it a cleanliness challenge. Find the hidden dust bunnies, the lost socks, and the safety pins and hair ties that have been lost deep in the corners of each room, closet, and counter. Take a broom and mop with you sweep and clear every last scrap of dust or cobwebs. And perhaps even find a lost sock or two.
The most commonly forgotten cabinet to clear is under the sink. Both in the kitchen and in the bathroom, check under the sink.There's a pretty good chance you or a family member stashed some stuff under there that you have since completely forgotten about. Clear out everything. Clear out the old cleaning supplies, the long-lost hair ties, and anything else you find under there. If it's junk, throw it away. If it's not, pack it.
People, especially in their own homes, rarely look up. So if you stowed anything on an upper shelf or cabinet a long time ago, there's a good chance that you have totally forgotten about it. Grab a chair or a step-stool and check out every upper shelf and storage space you can find. You might even find some stuff left over by previous tenants that you lived under for months or years without realizing was there. Consider carrying a step-ladder around the home for an up-high once-over to make sure all upper shelves, cabinets, and loft-spaces are clear.
One way to be super cool is to take a sponge to the empty fridge. Someone's going to need to do this before the next tenants come in, and if your landlord doesn't, then the next tenants will have to. So soak and scrub any old spilled juice, jam, or mysterious congealed puddles that have built up inside your fridge during your residence. The next tenants will appreciate it.
Finally, challenge yourself to one last treasure-hunt for any weird little details you might otherwise miss. You know the house better than this guide could. There might be a garage, loft storage, or an obscure laundry room that might have a few final treasures to find. Take a step ladder and a light. Look anywhere that could possibly have been used for storage even once. Only then can you be truly confident that you have fully moved out.
When you've checked every last nook and cranny, and cleaned it all, you are finally ready to proudly say goodbye to your previous rental home and hello to your new home in Reno. You can now leave with confidence that your landlord will find only spotless cleanliness and a well-kept home in your wake.