If you are extremely lucky, and you are making a local move, you may have the keys to your new place a few days before the movers arrive. If this is the case then you have the rare opportunity to get in there and clean everything from top to bottom before transferring any of your belongings. For most, this scenario is nothing more than a dream.
Even if you move into an apartment that has already been “cleaned” chances are pretty good that you will want to go over everything for peace of mind. You never know how many germs are still lingering that you can’t see. If you are moving to a place like New York City then it is highly likely that you will either be moving in while someone moves out, or you will be moving into a space that desperately needs cleaning attention, and that is putting it quite mildly. When your boxes and furniture are there, and the movers are paid and gone, you will probably have a moment where you look around and feel swallowed by chaos and filth.
Where in the world do you even begin?
Start in the Bathroom
Some will say to start with the kitchen. However when it comes times to break the seal from that extra-large coffee and a double shot of espresso, you are not going to want to go in that dirty bathroom. The only exception to this rule is if you have food that needs refrigerating. In this case, clean the refrigerator first, and then go do the bathroom. You might be tempted to leave the bathtub or shower until later, but when your energy completely depletes all of a sudden and all you want to do is shower and sleep, you will be happy you cleaned the entire bathroom earlier.
Kitchen is Second
The kitchen is probably the first room you will fully unpack so you can regain some level of normality, so it makes sense to clean this next. If you have not already cleaned the fridge, this will need to be done. If you are lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven then pull the lever and start it. Scrub the sink, counters, and backsplash, and thoroughly wipe the cupboard shelves and drawers. Do not forget all the handles and knobs!
If you have a child then their room should be next. You might be able to endure sleeping in a dirty room for one night but you probably will want your child’s room clean. Scrub the walls before you even set up the bed or crib or start unpacking the dresser. If you have a carpet cleaner, you might want to clean this carpet first. Again, do not forget the door knobs.
If you have not run out of energy yet, your bedroom should be next. You do not necessarily need to clean your carpets yet if you don’t have the time. It may be easier to clean your bedroom carpet with the hallway and living room later. The home office and any other extra rooms should be last.
One of the first things you should do is replace the filter to the furnace or clean the filter to the window air conditioner, if applicable. Who knows when these items were cleaned last? This is especially important if anyone in the home has allergies or asthma. You can always find out ahead of time what size filter the furnace takes and pick one up before your move. Pack it in your essentials box so it’s handy upon arrival.
If you move somewhere with impressions in the carpet that were made from heavy furniture, you do not have to plan your layout to cover them up. In most cases, if you leave an ice cube on them overnight, the fibers will loosen back up again.