Moving-Out Etiquette

Moving out etiquette like cleaning your kitchen and taking out your trashWhen my husband and I bought our home, we were pleasantly surprised to see the sellers did a thorough cleaning before handing over the keys. Not just a quick sweep, either -- everything practically glistened. This was in direct contrast to the last time we had moved -- we arrived at our new house with a truck full of boxes, only to find crumbs in the kitchen, hair in the bathroom, and a healthy layer of dust on all the light fixtures. Since then, I've become an advocate of moving-out etiquette. When moving out of your home, why not leave it how you'd like to find it? Add the following items to your moving to-do list, and your former home and its new occupants will love you for it (the best time to do these things is after the moving truck has come and gone -- it's much easier to clean an empty house than one stacked with boxes):

1. Wipe down the walls and door frames. Sweep the cobwebs from the walls and ceilings, wipe the grime from the edges of doors and door frames, and clean off any stains or gunk left behind by children or pets.

2. Clean the bathroom. Clean it like you're expecting company. Nothing says "ew, gross!" like someone else's bathroom grime left behind when they move out.

3. Clean the kitchen. In addition to wiping off the counters and rinsing out the sink, be sure to wipe down the stove, the inside of the microwave, and any other spot that attracts crumbs. And please remember to check your dishwasher -- we've worked with more than one buyer who moved in only to find the seller left behind a load of dirty dishes!

4. Take out the trash. Moving out before trash day? Ask a neighbor to pull your trash cans to the curb for you, so that when your buyers move in, they have access to an empty trash bin.

5. Take all your stuff. Sure, it's polite to leave behind that extra gallon of touch-up paint, or the left-over tiles from your kitchen renovation. But it's not quite as helpful to leave behind boxes of stuff simply because you no longer want it. Don't make your buyers move the rest of your stuff out before they can move their own stuff in.

Do you have to do these things? Nope. But your buyers will appreciate it. And just think -- wouldn't it be nice if the people moving out of your new home did the same for you?