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Truth Lies and Security Deposits
Every year on May 25 we find a group or two that have been caught off guard when it comes time to move and clean. I remember hearing "we've been cleaning all day" from a group that was behind. In fact, they had been MOVING all day. Moving and cleaning are two totally different things.
There is quite a bit of information here. However, it is important information. If you take the time to read it, you won't get caught off guard yourselves. Read it carefully, as we are telling you up front how to MAXIMIZE the return of your Security Deposit.
This is a busy time of year. You have finals, friends, family and summer on your minds. If you want to have a great summer (not your parents screaming at you about security deposits) you need to allow time to clean and move too.
Management companies will do whatever they can to keep your deposit, and you will have to fight to get it back.
Your deposit is held to pay for any damages (financial or physical) that you cause, and we would like NOTHING better than to give it all back!!
In fact, if you read through all of this material, follow the instructions, and don't have any outstanding balances owing, you will be very happy with the check that is returned to you.
However, you get out what you put in. If you wait until the last minute or expect that you can move and clean 12 months worth of dust and fingerprints in an afternoon, you will be disappointed.
On the following pages you will find helpful lists of things that will make your cleaning easier, as well as tips as to what, and how much to clean. We even go as far as to tell you what other people have missed, so you won't.
STUFF YOU'LL NEED LIST
- Paper towels galore and/or cleaning rags
- Old Toothbrush (you can use your room mate's in a pinch, we won't tell)
- Trash Bags
- Scrub Brush
- Sponges with one side that scrubs
- Rubber Gloves
- Broom and Dustpan
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Bathroom Cleaner
- Glass Cleaner
- Dishwashing Detergent
Cleaning product hint: Miracle cleaners, like "scrubbing bubbles" and "toilet ducks" rarely work. You will get more done, in less time, and for less money if you purchase tried and true products, such as: Comet cleanser, 409, bleach, and Windex brand glass cleaner.
These cleaners are also inexpensive, so purchase enough that three people cleaning in different rooms aren't sharing one bottle of 409.
*TIME - To play it extra safe, budget 4 hours of cleaning (real hard scrubbing, taking things to the dump, not "planning") for each month you have lived in your home.
You can not expect to move and clean your home, no matter how much help you have, in one day. If you are going to successfully clean your home, you need to have a game plan BEFORE the day you move. While you can't clean everything weeks in advance, you can get started.
- Sort through closets and storage areas and get rid of things you no longer need.
- Start packing things you can do without. The less you have to pack and organize on moving day the better off you will be. Label boxes so you can retrieve the toothbrush you mistakenly packed.
- Dispose of the furniture you will not be taking with you. Old couches and chairs can be troublesome. Don't get caught short trying to figure out how to get them to the dump on moving day.
- Pre-clean the really dirty, or hard to clean things like bathtubs and showers, stoves and ovens, refrigerator and windows. These things are time consuming to clean. If you do them early, you will just have to do a quick wipe down before you move.
Clean in the correct order:
- On cleaning day, after you have moved all of your belongings out, clean in the correct order. Don't waste your time cleaning floors if people are still cleaning and moving around, or you will have to clean them twice.
- You will find that you can get more done, and more quickly if you pick a room to start in, and don't leave that room until it is done. Cleaning a little here and a little there is not efficient.
Room by Room Cleaning tips:
- Clean all appliances, inside and out. Lift up the top of the stove and clean out all the gook. Clean the oven. If you can't get all of the burned on stuff off the stove burner rings and pans, either wrap them in aluminum foil, or purchase replacements at Wal Mart. (SAVE the old ones, no matter what condition they are in. Just leave them on the counter)
- Clean UNDER the drawers in the refrigerator.
- Clean the door seals on the refrigerator and dishwasher.
- Clean grease splatters on the stove hood and wall behind the stove with a degreaser like 409.
- Vacuum, and then wipe out all cabinets and drawers with a damp cloth.
- Clean windows, window tracks, baseboards and floors.
WARNING: Do not get oven cleaner on ANYTHING but the inside of the oven. It will eat through paint and discolor chrome and plastic. Read the directions carefully!
DO NOT move appliances. If it is necessary, WE will clean under the stove. This is MUCH cheaper than paying for a damaged kitchen floor.
- Scrub the toilet, shower and bathtub. Be sure to remove all soap scum from the shower / tub. This takes some elbow grease, and the right cleaner. For bathtubs, use Comet cleanser. This works for showers as well, but be sure not to scratch the surface.
- Mildew can easily be eliminated by cleaning with bleach. Just spray it on, let it sit a few minutes then rinse with clear water.
- Bleach poured into the toilet will remove most stains, but scrubbing may be required.
- Clean all cabinets, and drawers. Clean the medicine cabinet.
- Clean the mirrors and windows with Windex.
- After scrubbing, chrome faucets can be "polished" by cleaning with Windex.
- Wipe down spots on the walls and ceilings with a damp rag and some 409.
- Clean the floors and baseboards last.
Bedrooms and Common Rooms:
- Vacuum or broom cobwebs from all corners (both floor and ceiling)
- Dust off the shelves in closets.
- Remove all nails and staples that were used to hang pictures (do NOT patch holes).
- Wash baseboards.
- Clean windows and window tracks.
- Clean floors (on your way out the door).
- Do NOT attempt to clean the carpets, or have them cleaned.
- Walls should NOT be washed. If not done properly you can do more damage than good. You SHOULD wipe down door jambs and doors, as well as remove scuff marks and small spots on walls, but the wholesale washing of walls should not be done.
Outside (yards and parking area)
- Be sure both front and back yards are clean of all litter, including beer cans and bottles, paper, cigarette butts etc.
- Trash barrels must be neat, with lids closed. DO NOT put anything beside the trash barrel or dumpster.
- Broom down all screens (take care not to bend them).
- Common areas, such as laundry rooms and shared parking / yard areas are YOUR responsibility. Work out a plan with your neighbors to get them clean. If they are not cleaned, we will split the cost to do so between ALL tenants.