As you prepare to vacate the house at the end of your lease, you may want to start preparing for this a few weeks in advance so you have very little to do on the last day!
2-3 months: Sell furniture / items you want to pass on to the next tenants/other people. Remember to inform me if you are passing on items, ideally with pictures of whatever will remain, so I can get agreement from the next tenants.
1 month: Start getting rid of any large items you will need to discard, like sofas etc. You can schedule a bulk trash pickup by the city – details here. Call 311 and or set this up online – they will provide a confirmation number and a date when they will pickup. Make sure you confirm that your items are eligible for bulk trash collection. Label the items clearly as bulk trash and leave them on the curb (where the trash cans go) on the night before.
Getting rid of excess trash: You may put out a couple of extra trash bags for each regular trash collection a few weeks before the move out date. This will hopefully take care of everything you need to get rid of.
If you are left with lots of trash when you move out, or don’t get time to sort and pack before the end of the month, you can take excess trash to the Ft. Totten station in DC. They are open between 1-5 PM on weekdays and 8 AM-3 PM on weekends (except public holidays).
If you would like me to arrange for excess trash removal, please contact me. Please don’t leave excess trash in the front yard by the bins or anywhere else – as I will have a similar issue getting rid of it, and will have to pass on the cost.
Donating to charity: if there are clothes/shoes etc that you would like to donate to charity, do a run to the local Goodwill or setup an appointment with charities like VVA, who will pick up from the house. I generally bag everything in black trash bags and label them clearly as a VVA Donation.
2-3 weeks: Setup a through cleaning of the house and yard. Take a look at the condition photos I provided at the start of the lease for reference, as well as your move in checklist. If you hire a professional cleaning team, make sure you clarify what you want them to clean and check the condition after they are done. Some items often overlooked include
- Burnt food on stove around burners
- Inside of microwave (should not be greasy)
- Inside of oven – use a oven cleaner spray to remove any burnt food etc.
- Fridge/Freezer should be emptied of all food, turned off and thoroughly cleaned out. You may need to move/remove shelves to clean them properly (please take a picture before you remove shelves so you know how they need to be put back in). A box of baking soda will also go along way to remove odors once you have cleaned and turned the appliance back on.
- Bathrooms – drains should be unclogged of any hair etc. Use Comet or a similar cleanser for plumbing fixtures, along with a gentle scrubber or magic eraser, to clean off soap scum, stains, and hard water deposits. For especially stubborn stains or deposits, you may need to let the cleanser sit for several minutes before you start scrubbing.
- Walls – check for dirt, marks and smudges. (I find Mr. Clean very effective for cleaning these).
- Walls – Repairing small nail holes.
If you have small holes/damage on walls as you remove pictures/mirrors etc., this is quite easy to restore – please see this site for more details. I will drop off a small jar of compound, a putty knife and paint if requested – please reach out to me if you need these!
- Counters and cabinets – Wipe down your counters and the exteriors of your cabinets with a gentle cleanser and a rag or sponge. Areas around the handles of cabinets are especially prone to getting smudged and grimy. Don’t forget to clean out the insides of your cabinets, as well. For tough spots, use a mildly abrasive mixture of baking soda and water, and scrub with a soft brush.
- Yard – should be clean, free of weeds and any trash. Don’t forget to dispose of any yard furniture you will not be taking with you or passing on.