Move-In Cleaning Checklist

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With over 20 moves into homes of all kinds in 12 states and 3 countries, I’ve learned a bit about how to clean your new home when you move in.   I clean our new home in a particular order to make it easier for my family and for getting moved into our new home as quickly as possible.  Following my Move-In Cleaning Checklist makes moving into a new home as simple and efficient as possible.  Let me tell you, my own family’s dirt is gross but other people’s (that I don’t even know) dirt is just plain nasty. My goal is to clean our new home so that we can start fresh making our own memories (and dirt).

clipboard with blue pen and blue, red and white checklist next to bottle of bleach, purple rubber gloves, blue sponge and cleaning brush
image of blue, red and white cleaning checklist

Often when we move into a new home, we only have a couple of hours to look around and start cleaning before the movers arrive with our things.  Because time is limited (and so is our energy), I have to prioritize what I clean to make it possible for my family to start living in the home immediately and make it possible for the movers to bring our things in so that I can start unpacking right away. I make sure I have my Move-In Cleaning Checklist and we work our way down the cleaning tasks.

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I start by cleaning the toilet and sink in one bathroom so that my family can use it as soon as needed. Period.

Next I tackle cleaning the floors of the closets and the floors where any large pieces of furniture will be placed (that I don’t want to have to move ourselves later).  This makes it possible for the movers to place boxes and furniture where they need to go.

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Cleaning the kitchen comes next. I try to unpack as many of the large dish boxes as I can while the movers are unloading the truck. This allows me to send those boxes and all the paper away with them when they leave. The kitchen has to be clean so that I can start unpacking and it needs to be clean so that my family can start eating and living in our new home.

The last thing that I absolutely must do on the first day is clean one shower or bathtub.  After an exhausting and emotional day of moving into our new home, I want to make sure we all feel comfortable bathing that first night. Washing up helps us relax and sleep better the first night in our new home.

2 images of white tile with stained grout

While this dingy grout in our current shower is gross (it’s our own dirt and embarrassing), if this was in a new home that we’d just moved into it would be plain nasty and would need to be cleaned before anyone used this shower. Just so you know, I’ve cleaned and cleaned this grout but it’s tough to get the bleach and cleaner to stay put on those vertical surfaces and to not just run down the drain on the floor.

close up of clipboard with blue, red and white checklist and cleaning supplies in the background next to white tile shower

To clean the shower and tub well, I use Clorox Bleach® (or now this new Clorox® ThickCling® Cleaning Bleach), baking soda (I use the products separately for cleaning and don’t mix them), a scrub sponge, a scrub brush and paper towels. The bleach helps get rid of any mildew and yuck, while the baking soda, sponge and brush help scrub any gunk away.

white tile with dark stained grout and blue liquid covering most of tiled area

I’ve been wishing for years that there was a way to get Clorox bleach to stay where I need it to deep clean surfaces, especially when I’m moving into a new home and trying to make it fresh and clean for my family. I guess great minds think alike, because the new Clorox® ThickCling® Cleaning Bleach does just that – it clings and stays in place so that I can tackle my deep cleaning jobs. It’s also colored blue so I can see right where it is working and where I need to add more.

2 images of white tile, one with stained grout and one with clean grout

See how well it cleaned the grout in our shower. I did place a paper towel in the corner by the shower door and soaked it with the Clorox® ThickCling® Cleaning Bleach. The paper towel helped keep the bleach in place even longer so that it had time to work.

overhead view of clipboard with blue pen and blue, red and white checklist next to bottle of bleach, purple rubber gloves, blue sponge and cleaning brush

Once the first tub or shower is clean, my tired family can get washed up and go to bed after a long day of moving into our new home.  If I still have time or the energy, I continue working my way down my Move-In Cleaning Checklist on the first day (otherwise the last three chores can wait until the next day). Whether you’re moving into a new home and cleaning someone else’s dirt or just cleaning your own home and your own dirt, you want to use the best products and tools you can find.  

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  1. My neighbor is moving this weekend. We were just talking about how overwhelmed she is. This is perfect to make her life a bit easier.

  2. With many military moves behind me, I agree that cleaning the bathrooms is top of the list! I must admit, I’ve never cleaned the interior of my washer and dryer upon move-in, but am thinking that is a smart idea!

  3. This is such an excellent and helpful list. I’m bookmarking your post now so I can share with friends & family whenever anyone is moving.

  4. Your check list is great Susan. I love the order you clean. I have always started in the kitchen, but I see the sense in cleaning the bathroom first.

  5. Moving is such a huge job! but it is so nice to move into a place that you know is super duper clean. Perfect for a fresh start. Great cleaning list!

  6. It made a lot of sense to read the part of your article that suggested cleaning areas like the kitchen and bathroom first when moving into a new house. I’ve spent so much time thinking about the kinds of furniture and decoration to buy and use for my new home that I have apparently forgotten about the most important part, which is living in it as soon as we move in. Your checklist was a big help, so I’ll keep it in mind once I find a moving company that can assist us so we won’t experience any delays during the process.

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