Do you have a move in cleaning checklist for your new apartment?

No? We thought so.

Move-in day can be pretty exciting. You’re all jittery, and the butterflies in your stomach are having a field day. But before you can get to this point, there’s a lot to do.
For one, you need to make sure your place is spotless before you go all Architectural Digest-esque and put your personal touch on everything. Getting started with cleaning is often the most challenging part. You need to find out if bedrooms are to be tackled first or if the kitchen cabinets take the first priority.

In this guide, we take you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your place for move-in day. We also share a pre move in cleaning checklist to make the process a breeze for you.

what is move out cleaning


Do You Really Need to Clean Before You Move In?

This one’s a real kicker. Is it really necessary to clean before you move in? After all, you’re just going to end up making a mess as you move your belongings in, right? 

We get where you’re coming from. 

But cleaning before moving in can have its benefits. First, it’s therapeutic. You spend a nice sunny Sunday cleaning your new home. Sounds splendid, doesn’t it? 

Consider cleaning beforehand if you have chemical sensitivities or allergies. The last thing you want is to end up sick on the first week in your new place. Scrub the place top to bottom so that the exhaustion of moving in, coupled with leftover dirt, doesn’t trigger an allergic reaction. 

Similarly, if you have kids or pets, clean your new space before you move in. You’ll thank us later.

regular vs standard cleaning / weekly cleaning of apartment & living room

Move In Cleaning Checklist: A Room-by-Room Guide 

We could simply give you a full apartment move in cleaning checklist. But that can seem too overwhelming. Instead, you can tackle each room one by one. 

How Long Does It Take to Clean a House? Bedroom move in cleaning



The bedroom is to your house, what the heart is to your body. It’s where you’ll come after a long day of work. So, this place needs to be as clean as possible. 

Here’s our checklist for the bedroom: 

  • Dusting: The surfaces you need to dust are the furniture tops and fixtures such as lamps and curtain rods. You don’t need a fancy duster for this task; just a clean cloth would work. 
  • Wiping: Wipe the mirrors and other reflective surfaces. Give the furniture a wipe with a damp cloth, too. Do the same with the baseboards. 
  • Vacuuming: The floors, of course, should be your primary targets. Vacuum the area rugs and carpets. 
  • General Cleaning: Don’t forget to clean the door frames and door knobs. Clean the window tracks and windowsills, too. If you have a closet inside the bedroom, vacuum and wipe it. 

move out cleaning process



The bathroom will take a little more time since you need to get into every nook and cranny. But don’t worry; we’ll tell you what to do. 

  • Sanitizing: Some places you need to sanitize are the sinks, shower walls, bathtubs, and glass doors. 
  • Toilet Cleaning: Clean the toilet from the inside and the outside. If you’re using a chemical-based cleaning solution, keep the door and window open for ventilation. 
  • Cleaning: General cleaning would include the mirrors and the countertops. 
  • Wiping: Wipe the countertops, windowsills, door frames, door knobs, and light switches. 
  • Vacuuming: Vacuum the bathroom floor. 
  • Mopping: Again, the floor should be mopped. If you’re having trouble removing stains and grime, a vinegar solution would work great. 
  • Tile Cleaning: Dirty grout can make your bathroom look dull. Clean the tiles with a grout cleaner, or create your own by mixing baking soda and water. 
  • Emptying and Replacing: Empty the bin. Since you’re moving into a new place, it will more likely be empty. But sometimes, the previous tenants or the contractors working on the house might leave trash behind. Replace the liner and keep one extra under the bin for future use. 

living room cleaning checklist tips by Sunlight Cleaning NY (move in move out cleaning)

Living Room 

We’re out in the open now. The living room is just as important as the bedroom. It’s also often a larger space, so dedicate a little extra time to cleaning it properly. 

  • Dusting: Just like the bedroom, dust all surfaces. For example, if you have bookshelves, dust and wipe the shelves before you prop your books on them. Dust the baseboards and other furniture, too. 
  • Wiping: Wipe any surface that needs wiping. It could be lamps, window tracks, TV remotes, the TV itself, doorknobs, light switches, etc. 
  • Vacuuming: The floors need to be vacuumed from one corner to another. Vacuum the rugs and carpets as well.
  • Mopping: Mop the floors to give them a clean, polished look. If you have tiled flooring, use a cleaner that won’t rub away the finish. 
  • Cabinet Cleaning: Not all living rooms will have cabinets, but some do. This is where you can store your pillows or board games. Wipe the cabinets down both inside and out with a damp cloth. 

residential post construction cleaning: the kitchen & move in cleaning checklist


The kitchen is another area that might take more time to clean. That’s why we kept it last on our move in cleaning checklist. 

  • Dusting and Wiping: Most surfaces in the kitchen need to be dusted and wiped. Examples will be shelves, countertops, cabinet interiors, cabinet exteriors, oven exteriors, sinks, backsplashes, and window tracks. 
  • Washing: Wash the sink basin and the faucet handles. Wipe them dry with a clean cloth to avoid water spots. 
  • Vacuuming: Vacuum the kitchen floor. Then, mop it. If you plan to put a longitudinal rug in the kitchen, let the floor dry before laying it down. 
  • Dishwasher Cleaning: If it’s a new dishwasher, you can skip this step. But if you’ve moved into a rental, clean the dishwasher before using it just for that extra peace of mind. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’re good to go. 
  • Refrigerator Cleaning: If the fridge is moveable, move it out of its spot. Clean behind and under it. Please put it back in place and start cleaning on the inside. Wipe all the drawers and compartments with warm, soapy water. Leave them to dry before putting food back in. Remember to clean the door handles. 
  • Stove Cleaning: Clean the stovetop with an appropriate cleaner. 

Other Areas 

The rest of the apartment move in cleaning checklist will depend on the other rooms or areas in your space. If you’re moving into a house, you’ll have to do the following yard work: 

  • Weeding: Weed the flower beds to remove any unwanted plants. 
  • Mowing: Mow the lawn. 
  • Trimming: If the bushes are too big and widespread, give them a good trim. Do the same with the trees. 
  • Sweeping: Sweep the deck and the porch. 

Similarly, you may have a balcony in your apartment. In that case, you’ll need to add balcony cleaning in your move in cleaning checklist. 

For the most part, you have to vacuum this area. You can also place a rug here, put on some chairs, and make a cozy space to sit and read on a nice day. Or, you can hang some lights for the ambiance. 

Video Resource: How to clean your condo/apartment balcony. 

When to Hire Move In Cleaning Services? 

Creating a move in cleaning checklist is the first step. It’s also the easiest step of the process. The hard part is actually executing this list. 

Sometimes, that’s not possible to do yourself. You can look for move in cleaning services in New York City in the following instances. 

Inability to Clean

If you’re physically unable to clean, it’s best to hire professionals. Maybe you have a medical condition, or you’re injured. Don’t put yourself at risk and let professionals take over. 

You can give them a move in cleaning checklist to follow if you want things to be super-specific. Otherwise, most cleaners will have a plan to follow. 

Time Constraints 

You may be moving during a hectic week at work. Or, you have family obligations to attend to. Whatever the case, sometimes we don’t have enough time on our hands. 

You can let a professional cleaning service clean your house before you move in. It will be a nice little treat for yourself. 

Lack of Cleaning Equipment 

It’s possible that you were living in a dorm room before, and now this is your first proper house. You may also be moving from a different city or country. 

In such cases, you won’t have supplies like a vacuum cleaner or a leaf blower. You can buy these things one by one as you settle into your new house. 

But how will you clean your house in the meantime? Hire a move in cleaning service. 

Professional cleaning services have every tool to ensure your house looks fresh and clean. So you won’t have to provide them with anything. 

Park Slope Cleaning Services by Sunlight Cleaning NY

Hire Sunlight Cleaning New York For Your New Home 

Do you need some extra help executing your move-in cleaning checklist? Our cleaners at Sunlight Cleaning NY are happy to help. 

We specialize in apartment and home moving-in cleaning for spaces of all sizes. Contact us to learn more about our move-in cleaning services in New York City. 

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