Moving Checklist: Clean to Get Your Security Deposit Back

moving checklistIf the time has come for you to move out of your apartment, you’re probably busy packing and finding a new place to live.  But don’t forget to take the right steps to get your security deposit back!  Your moving checklist should include a solid plan to clean and repair your apartment so you can get your security deposit returned in full.

First things first: What will your landlord expect of you when it comes to cleaning and repairing your apartment?  Consult your lease and figure out what is required of you in order to get your security deposit back, then construct your cleaning and moving checklist accordingly.  For example, your apartment may clean your carpets and floors for you upon move-out, but might expect you to paint over any colors you’ve added to the apartment walls on your own.  If you aren’t sure what is expected of you, call your landlord and confirm what you need to do to get that security deposit back.

Next, go through the apartment room by room and create a comprehensive cleaning and moving checklist.  Below is a moving checklist to help you get started, but be sure to think about the special needs of your apartment as well.  And remember, when it comes time for your landlord to inspect your apartment, request to be present during the inspection.  That way you’ll be able to address any problems and make adjustments as needed.

General Cleaning

  • Dust all surfaces thoroughly.
  • Vacuum every room.
  • Clean all windows thoroughly with a streak-free cleaner.
  • Mop the kitchen and bathrooms.

General Repairs

  • Remove all wall décor and fill in any holes made by nails or screws.
  • Make sure all doors and windows shut smoothly and securely.


  • Clean the bathtub and shower.
  • Clean and disinfect the sink and bathroom counter.
  • Clean grout using bleach or vinegar.
  • Clean out bathroom drawers, cabinets, and medicine cabinet.
  • Remove any drawer liners.
  • Clean the mirror.


  • Clean out all appliances, including the oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave.
  • Sweep and vacuum behind all appliances.
  • Clean the fronts and insides of cabinets.
  • Clean and disinfect all countertops.


  • Sweep all outside areas, including the porch, garage, and doorways.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Pull any weeds.
  • Remove any yard décor.
  • Wash the windows’ exteriors.

For More Moving Tips…

For another useful moving checklist, check out the ApartmentSearchcom Apartment Moving Center.  Do you have a tip for get your security deposit back that’s not on this moving checklist?  Share your own tips with on Twitter and Facebook!