Tips for moving out of your apartment rental


Save your deposit with these cleaning tricks.

Sydney Novak

As summer comes to an end, many apartment leases will end and restart in late July and early August. Students will be moving to and from Ames, and the city will be busy with traffic, U-Hauls and incoming freshmen. To avoid unnecessary fees and ensure you get your deposit back from your leasing office, there are certain things you can do to make your move as painless as possible. 

A) Leave your apartment in good condition

Leaving your apartment in as good of condition as you found it is integral to getting your full deposit back on your rental. Looking over your lease, you might realize it stipulates something to the effect of “normal wear and tear” that happens to a living space that is acceptable. These could be things like putting a few nails in the wall to hang art or mirrors or small scratches from furniture. These will not include damage like broken windows or appliances, damage from pets or excessive stains to carpets. Doing a once over your unit a few weeks before your move out might save you some money in the long run if you are able to fix any unwarranted damage. 

B) Packing

Packing all your belongings can seem like a daunting task, especially when you need to sort what belongs to you or your roommates. Depending on how much stuff you have, it might be smart to do this bit by bit. 

1. If you are moving a longer distance, be sure to book movers or U-Hauls in advance for this busy time. There is a lot of demand. Menards will also rent you a pickup truck by the hour for anyone over the age 21 if you only need to move a few pieces of furniture. This is an easy process and based on first come, first serve.

2. Start by going through your stuff and deciding if anything can be donated. 

3. Consider if you will need short-term storage. Some leases have gaps depending on when their move-in date starts and your previous lease ends. Pay attention to this. 

4. Don’t empty dresser drawers and leave clothes on the hanger. 

5. Take pictures of the contents of every box you pack on your phone. 

6. Remember to have a plan in place for your pet if you have one. Will they stay with friends that day?

C) Cleaning

Tenants are expected to leave the apartment in a clean condition with no personal belongings left behind. Here are some cleaning tips for miscellaneous places you might forget.

  1. Check your shower drain for hair if you used a hair catcher and make sure there are no water spots. Equal parts water and vinegar will take care of any streaks.

  1. Use a lemon to polish away spots on your bathroom faucets.

  1. Clean the microwave! Microwave a cup of vinegar for one minute to help dislodge food stains before scrubbing.

  1. Wiping down ceiling fans and cobwebs is a great place to start with your cleaning. Finish with tasks like sweeping, mopping or vacuuming. Clean up to down.

  2. If there are carpet stains, try removing them. Depending on what the stain is from, it might be an easy fix.

D) Before you leave

Don’t forget a few miscellaneous tasks that will save you time in the long run.

  1. Make sure to leave a forwarding address with your current leasing office. 

  1. Collect any mail or packages from your mailbox.

  1. Return keys and parking passes/tags if necessary.

  1. Figure out your utility situation ahead of time. Will you be responsible for any bills? Do you already have an account but need to transfer addresses? Be sure to get this set up before your move-in date.

E) Moving in and unpacking

Now that moving is out of the way, the fun can begin! Moving into a new place can be exciting, so here are some tips to getting settled.

  1. Although your new apartment should be clean and in good shape, this might be a good time to buy some new cleaning supplies. Paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, lightbulbs and other necessities are also great to go get.

  1. Your leasing office should give you a checklist to go through, so note any preexisting problems in your unit. Be thorough with this. Check smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, garbage disposals. Make sure bathroom tubs and sinks drain properly and locks and keys work as well. Look for stains on carpets or scratches to the floor and walls.

  2. Throw away the boxes as you unpack. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and free up much needed space in your apartment as you make progress.

  1. Set a deadline for yourself. If you move on Monday, invite a few friends over Friday so that you will have motivation to accomplish everything prior.

  1. Introduce yourself to new neighbors! Get acquainted with those who work in the leasing office.

Moving can be a stressful time and something you need a lot of patience for, but these tips should make your next movie easier.