Category: London News

Tips To Make Moving Out Cleans Easier

Moving house is a hassle – there’s no denying that one. There’s not just the hassle of packing everything up into boxes (and getting them out again at the other end and trying to find new homes for them) and the problem of finding new shops in the neighbourhood, new schools, new gyms, etc. There’s also the problem of tidying your old place up, either to keep the landlord happy or to make it more likely that the old place will sell more quickly.

Cleaning is Very Important

Things get worse if the place you’re moving into hasn’t been adequately cleaned. Then you to clean at both ends. Don’t believe that this doesn’t ever happen because it’s happened to me about three times in the past 20 or so years. It usually happens, in my opinion, if you’re moving into a house that belongs (or belonged) to a relative, who will be a bit less fussy about cleaning before you move in “because you’re family”. It also happened when we bought a lovely little cottage that was being sold as an estate sale, and all the relatives lived out of town and just wanted it sold ASAP and hadn’t bothered cleaning up after taking out the furniture.

The good news is that you can make this arduous task (the moving out cleaning or the moving in cleaning or both) a bit easier. Don your rubber gloves, grab your buckets, rags and mops, and let’s get started.

Pack First

Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can clean the drawers or cupboards as you empty them and pack the contents. This might seem logical, but it ends up being relatively inefficient. Consider packing and cleaning as separate tasks. It’s easier to do the cleaning in one big hit than lots of minor hits.

Don’t pack your cleaning gear, as you’re going to need it. If you’ve got a team of friends and relatives helping you with the packing, moving and cleaning, then don’t pack the kettle – it’s nice to make sure that everyone can get a refreshing cuppa.

Work Top To Bottom

Any professional cleaner will tell you that if you need to deep clean a whole room, it’s best to start at the bottom and work your way down rather than the other way around (or, in my experience, separating tasks into wet and dry tasks). The laws of gravity still apply, even if you feel that everything else in your life is in chaos and nothing is normal. This means that dirt dislodged from high places (e.g. ceiling fans) will fall onto lower things, and you don’t want to have to clean something twice.

Get Rid Of Grumpy Kids

It would be nice to be able to draw a line by age when it comes to which of your offspring will be helpful and which are going to be stubborn, sulky nuisances, but you can’t really. Sometimes, five-year-olds are super-excited about moving to the new house and love having the cheerful chaos of the fun uncles giving them rides on the furniture moving trolley. They can be handed a vacuum cleaner or a duster and set to cleaning skirting boards easily enough. However, some younger children will dissolve into tears and throw tantrums because moving house and having everything familiar vanish does feel like the end of the world.

On the other hand, you can have teenagers who are upset about having to move schools and leave their friends who will stubbornly refuse to help, possibly in the half-hearted hope that if moving is too hard for you, you’ll give up and won’t do it (slight chance of that when you’re moving from a rental to your property!). You can also get enthusiastic teenagers who are happy about the move who will pitch in and do an entire adult’s job.

Get rid of the grumpy nuisances one way or another. They will frazzle your nerves and slow you down dramatically. OK, small children who are enthusiastic and happy will slow you down, but their enthusiasm is contagious. Ask an auntie or grandma to take younger grumps out to the movies, the park, or something else that they’ll enjoy to get out of your hair. In the case of teenagers and pre-teens, who are more open to reason, try bribery and offer to pay them for doing some cleaning work. Yes, this is annoying, as it’s their mess as much as yours, but it does get the job done.

Have A Checklist

It can be mortifying if the landlord sends you a photo of the bathroom drawers that still had old hairs in them because you thought you’d cleaned it, but you hadn’t (not that this has ever happened to me or anything like that…). The best way to ensure that everything gets cleaned and nothing gets overlooked, or that nobody wastes time by cleaning something that has already been cleaned, is to use a checklist of all the places in the house that need that bit of last-minute cleaning. This doesn’t have to be fancy. The back of an old envelope will do, although I prefer using a whiteboard or chalkboard listing the tasks and areas, especially if the relatives help with the move. All the professionals use checklists.

Check What’s Expected

In the case of moving out of a rental property, there may be things that you don’t have to clean to keep the landlord happy. For example, you might not have to wash the exterior windows or trim the garden hedges. Have a wee look at the fine print on your rental contract to see what you do and don’t need to do, and keep this in mind when you create your checklist (see above). You could also talk to your landlord about what they are planning. For example, if they hope to redecorate, you may not need to be quite so fussy about removing all the scuff marks from the walls.

If moving out of a property you own and a real estate agent is involved, talk to your real estate agent about what they recommend. Adjust your to-do list accordingly. There’s no need to clean something you don’t have to unless you want to and feel like it (and have the time to do it).

Enlist Help

Bribe, wheedle or bully as many friends as possible to help you with the job. Some of them will be volunteering anyway. Accept all offers of help that are going, even if it’s just the offer of a van and a trailer to help you shift gear from A to B or a babysitter for the day.

If you get friends and relatives helping, keep them well-fed as a way of saying thank you. This is why you don’t pack the kettle. It can be nice to have a decent cake or similar on hand for morning tea breaks in the middle of the process. Treat the helpers to pizza or fish and chips or the reasonably takeaway of your choice afterwards.

Hire A Professional!

The best way to take care of all the hard work and get the lot off your shoulders is to hire a professional end of tenancy cleaning company. They aren’t working under stress, although they’re usually pretty good at meeting deadlines. They also don’t have the emotional attachment to the old house (or what’s in it) that you do, so they won’t get all sniffly about discovering a forgotten and outgrown baby shoe at the back of the wardrobe. You can just pack up, get out and leave the professionals to do it all.

Categories: London News

Seven Weird Things You’re Likely To Find When Moving Out Froom Your London Home (And Where You’ll Find Them)

Moving Out Is/Not Fun

Ah, moving house! The time when you have to go into all the old cupboards and places that you don’t really go into and discover things that you haven’t touched for years. It happens to everybody, even the most minimalist among us. We tend to collect clutter and memorabilia like dragons collect gold (I am sure raiding as many London car boot sales as I can is some kind of a condition) – and we can be just as grumpy as dragons when it comes to parting with any of it, Marie Kondo et al. notwithstanding.

Moving Out Is Not Fun in London

When the time comes to move out of your old London home, you tend to be confronted with your cluttery tendencies. There are certain items that you will probably find during the process of packing all your gear up and cleaning out those obscure cupboards and other spots (you’d better hope you find them or they’ll be there to amuse the professional end of tenancy cleaning team later – if you’re doing the moving out cleaning the easy way).

#1: Children’s Drawings

Tucked away in a cupboard or into a drawer, or maybe pinned onto a board somewhere, you’ll come across one of those cheerful wonky drawings with stick arms that seem to be all head. It was charming and made you smile when you got it but now… you’ve got no idea which of your children drew it or when they drew it or why they drew it. It may make you feel like a hard-hearted old monster, but it’s probably best to quietly dispose of it.

Of course, if you know who drew it and why, or if it makes you smile every time, then definitely treasure it. I, for one, will never throw out a certain Get Well Soon card my daughter made me when she was seven that makes me laugh every time. (I’m not giving you any more details – that’s a family secret.)

Cleaning Up and Tidy After a Move Out

#2: Odd Socks

Do you know all those odd socks that you’ve accumulated over the years? The chances are that you will finally discover them when you move out. Some of them will be in the laundry, often behind the washing machine from where careless laundry maids and laundry-lads have tossed them while aiming at the innards of the machine. Others will be under beds, trapped between mattresses and the wall or fallen down the back of an overstuffed set of drawers.

If you are lucky, you will have the mates to the long-lost socks patiently waiting. If you are not, then you will have thrown out the other half a long time ago. There is also a good chance that if you do have odd socks waiting for their other half of the pair, the mate will not turn up while you’re cleaning up ready to move. This leaves you believing in the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s sock-eating monster or Stephen Hawking’s untested hypothesis that the high spinning speed of washers and dryers creates miniature black holes that swallow socks.

Put any unmatched socks to good use as dusters and cleaning rags if you’re doing your own end of tenancy cleaning rather than calling for professional help.

#3 Unused Kitchen Implements

Do you know that cheese knife that originally belonged to your grandmother, the handles for the Popsicle maker set, the 1/3 cup measure and the meat thermometer that you haven’t seen for ages and you swear that you’ve hunted for a dozen times? You will finally find them at the bottom of the kitchen implement drawer now.

Yes, I know you looked for them when the drawer was full but you were probably trying to avoid slicing your thumb on the potato peeler or stabbing yourself on the skewer, so you missed them. If you’d emptied out the entire drawer to hunt for them and gone through everything, you’d have found them earlier. But when does anybody go to all that sort of palaver? That’s right – when moving out.

#4 Dead Pens

Forget the Dead Poets’ Society. When you move house – or move office, for that matter – you are likely to discover the Dead Pens’ Society. Sometimes, the ballpoint pens with dried ink and snapped clicking mechanisms will be all in one place, such as in a drawer or even in a caddy. Others will be in obscure places – behind the landline telephone that has been quietly collecting dust (apart from when you get rung by cold callers and phone scammers – at least these are the only people who ever call my landline), in the kitchen drawer, behind the fridge, in the laundry after being rescued from pockets, and so forth.

Test each of the pens out – preferably to write the contents of a box on the outside up or the words “FRAGILE – WITH CARE” on the one with the crockery. If they don’t write, ditch them. The same applies to other writing implements (permanent pens, whiteboard markers, etc.) that you discover in odd places.

#5 Broken Appliances

You were sure that you could fix it one of these days and that you were going to get around to it eventually because it only needed one little spare part that you’re certain you can get at the hardware store if you remember to pick it up and… Well, it’s been sitting at the back of the wardrobe or the cupboard under the stairs or in the attic or at the back of the garage and you never did get around to it. Time to face facts and give the thing the chuck.

Moving Out Of Rented Accommodation in London

#6 Mousetraps

The best thing you can hope for when discovering a forgotten mousetrap in the laundry, in the pantry or in the garage is that it has snapped shut and not caught anything. If you are unlucky, it will have snapped shut and caught something. So that’s where the horrible smell was coming from all this time. Remove the shrivelled and quasi-mummified carcass, or the hideous disgusting one (the mummified one is the easiest), try not to vomit and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, then disinfect the area where you found the mousetrap.

If you’re very unlucky, the mousetrap will still be active and will snap shut on your fingers as you reach into the depths of wherever you’d forgotten you’d put it. I hope you haven’t already packed the ice pack and the first aid kit.

#7 Outgrown Outfits

This is one item that you won’t discover quite as often if you’ve been diligent. However, most of us will find one or two items that somebody in the household doesn’t fit anymore. It could be as simple as outgrown children’s clothes that were being stored in a bag or a suitcase in case you had another child or to give to that cousin or friend, or the second-hand store one day. It can be more gut-wrenching to discover items that you’ve got too plump for thrust to the back of the wardrobe. However, finding items that once fitted you but are now too big because you’ve stuck to that diet and exercise plan is a bit more encouraging.

What you do with those items now is simple: send the lot down to the charity store. This is obvious in the case of old children’s clothes that are in good condition. If they’re in bad condition, use them as cleaning rags, because you will need a lot if you’re doing your own moving out cleaning.

Do not keep items that you don’t fit just in case. If they’re too small for you, they’ll just bring you down every time you look at them. Don’t give them space in your new home. If they’re too big and you’re keeping them just in case, what sort of thinking is that? Are you planning on getting chubby again? Out, out, out!


Categories: Cleaning, London News