There are many causes for panic on moving day, but the biggest one is that the day is already here, and you still have a long way to go with cleaning before handing over the keys. Don’t panic! With last-minute strategic planning and focused effort, you can get the old place clean in time for the final walk-through. Here are some tips for handling last-minute cleaning before moving day:

woman cleaning kitchen cupboard

Make a Prioritized Cleaning Checklist

First things first, list down all the cleaning activities that need to be done. Do a walkthrough in every room and write down everything you can see, from the dust on the ceiling fans to the wipe-out drawers. Once you have a good cleaning list, you can prioritize the items according to importance.

Focus on the tasks that will make the most noticeable difference in terms of cleanliness in your home. For example:

  • Mopping and vacuuming of the floors
  • Wiping down counters, cabinets, and appliances
  • Scrubbing the toilet, shower/tub, and mirrors in the bathroom(s)
  • Dusting off of surfaces and light features
  • Remove any nails and fill the holes on the wall

Declutter and Pack Simultaneously

The thing with last-minute cleaning is that you end up doing it in between packing your stuff. Make the process more straightforward and free of stress by decluttering and packing simultaneously. Don’t leave anything behind, as your landlord might use your security deposit to pay for the removal costs. As you pack an area, clean any vacant spaces while you are already at it. Have some boxes or bags designated for items to donate or dispose of as you come across them. This will prevent clutter from piling up and getting in your way as you clean. The more you can clear out of the room, the easier it will be to deep clean.

Clean from Top to Bottom

When it’s time to deep clean, always start at the top of an area and work your way down. This will force debris downward and prevent you from having to re-clean your space. For example:

  • Begin by dusting the ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Washed walls and windows
  • Clean countertops and other kitchen surfaces
  • Finish with a vacuum and a mop

This will prevent you from missing something and creating double work.

Don’t Forget the Small Details

It is so easy to overlook these small details when one is in a hurry, but, caring for these little details does make a massive difference in the appeal of the cleanliness and sanitation levels of your space. Some easily forgotten places include:

  • Wiping doorknobs, light switches, and cabinet handles
  • Dusting window sills and baseboards
  • Cleaning the inside and outside of appliances
  • Sweeping the garage out and wiping down the shelving
  • Making the outdoor space neat and sweeping the porch

Enlist Help from Family and Friends 

Cleaning an entire home from top to bottom is a big job, especially when you’re on a tight timeline. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your family and friends for assistance. Many people are happy to lend a helping hand during a move, and delegating tasks can significantly lighten your workload. Assign each person a specific room or task to focus on so you can divide and conquer the cleaning efficiently. Provide them with the necessary supplies and clear instructions to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. 

Even young children can participate in age-appropriate chores like dusting low surfaces, wiping down baseboards, or tidying up their own rooms. Involving them in the process not only helps you but also teaches them valuable life skills and responsibility. To keep everyone motivated, create a positive and fun atmosphere. Put on some upbeat music, order pizza or prepare snacks, and take short breaks when needed. Encourage and thank your helpers for their efforts, and consider planning a small celebration or reward once the cleaning is complete.

Hire Professional Cleaners as Backup

If you find that you are pressed for time or in challenging cleaning circumstances, like preparing for an out-of-town visitor, it may be best to hire the pros. Quality cleaning services, like Seattle Green Cleaning Fairy, can commit to doing the deep cleaning for you, leaving you lots more time for packing and all the other stuff you have to do.

Professional cleaners have the experience, equipment, and products needed to clean your home quickly and completely. They can often accommodate last-minute requests and work around your schedule. While it’s an added expense, it can be well worth the investment for the time and stress it saves you leading up to moving day.


Move-out cleaning at the last minute sounds like a daunting task; however, it really shouldn’t be that bad. Stick to the most essential cleaning strategies, and call in reinforcements if you are in need to get your old place looking great before you pass the keys over.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect; the idea is to just leave the place in decently clean and orderly shape for the following users. Breathe, stay focused, and soon, you’ll be able to close the door on this chapter and start fresh in your new home.

We hope you found this blog post How to Handle Last-Minute Cleaning Before Moving Day? useful. Be sure to check out our post Renters Cleaning Checklist For Moving Out You Should Know for more great tips!

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