Professional Cleaning Blog | Master Clean USA

The Essential Student Move Out Guide

Posted by Jessica Jankoski on May 5, 2016 4:00:00 PM
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Living in a college town means that every summer we get an outflow of tens of thousands of students who are going home for the summer and in the fall, a tremendous influx of everyone returning to class.  Property managers and owners all over town require students to do a professional cleaning of their apartments and houses including carpet cleaning and window cleaning.  As a professional cleaning company who specializes in move out cleaning in Santa Barbara, we see crazy things during a stressful time.  Students who procrastinate until the last minute and then realize they are going to lose their whole deposit if they do not comply with the cleaning requirements, apartments and houses that have not been maintained all school year and cost inordinate fees both in cleaning and maintenance, tearful roommates that are left with a mess to deal with on their own and much more.  We want to help students understand their responsibilities, prepare for their move ahead of time, and most of all we want to help you all save money!  With graduation and move out dates looming for the college community, take this student move out guide to heart and you will save yourself last minute stress and expensive last minute costs incurred from not planning ahead!


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  1. Plan ahead: Our offices get dozens of calls from students who waited until the last minute and then couldn’t find cleaning help or had to settle for an in-experienced or over-priced service in the hopes they would save their security deposit.  Guys- don’t procrastinate!  Many companies will offer discounts for scheduling ahead, but even if they do not, get on the schedule at least a month before you are moving.  If you wait until June (or the day-of in so many cases), you may very well be out of luck or charged excessively. If a company has to keep a crew overtime to fit you in to their schedule, they will pass that cost on to you!
  2. Maintain your palace all year long: Have a house meeting and get all your roommates on board to either pitch in for a weekly, biweekly or monthly house cleaning service or do it yourselves!  We know students that have monthly cleaning parties where everyone pitches in to clean the house and then they party all night long once they are done!  Depending on how many roommates you have, hiring a professional cleaning company can be as little as $10-$20 each per service to have the bathroom/s, kitchen and common areas maintained throughout the year.  Doing this means it will cost you less for the cleaning.  Move out cleaning pricing generally is scaled for “light”, “medium” and “heavy” cleaning pricing and the difference in price is significant! As a move out cleaning company in town, we see places that have not been cleaned all year that have bathrooms literally growing things (showers and tubs black and orange with mildew and rust and grime from lack of maintenance), kitchens so greasy it takes excessive time to remediate, floors covered in sticky broken glass from parties, tar and floors that are so dirty they look like a different, grey-black color that you don’t recognize. If you let your place get this dirty, you will pay the price whether it be with the cleaning company that takes on the job or your landlord that deducts the cost from your deposit to get it back to normal.
  3. Don’t leave moving your stuff out to the last minute: You have more stuff than you think and coordinating with roommates can be challenging.  Plan wisely. There are upcharges when your cleaning company arrives and cannot clean because you are still moving out.  Every year, students who do not plan ahead and recognize the time involved in moving will incur wait or cancelation fees because the cleaning company arrives and the apartment or house is not ready to clean.  Many of these overwhelmed students who didn’t plan ahead end up just taking a suitcase with important personal items and leaving everything else behind.  This is a huge NO NO! The additional cost incurred for the property manager or cleaning company to remove and dump your belongings will likely wipe out your deposit completely, not to mention the cost to replace all your things.  To avoid this, check out our blog on 10 Move Out Tips for Stress-Free Moving Experience and follow its advice.  A little planning ahead will save you stress and money!
  4. Make your move out experience easier:  Go through all the stuff you accumulated throughout the year and donating it to the Salvation Army or giving it away. If you and your roommates have purchased furniture and other items of value throughout the year and you don’t want to have to move or store it, consider taking out ads on Craigslist and selling these items a few weeks before your move.  We have seen flat screen televisions, scooters, couches, dishes and much more left behind.  These are all items of value and you can get that money back and have it to use for new stuff next year!
  5. Have a pre-move out cleaning party with your roommates to minimize cleaning fees: We have heard fun stories about roommates getting together a couple days before moving out to combine an end of year party with a deep cleaning of the house so that everyone can get most of their deposit money back.  When everyone pitches in, it won’t take long and then you can celebrate after!  In order to really maximize the cleaning fee savings be sure you take care of the cleaning that takes the most time for the cleaning company you hired:
    1. Bathrooms- really scrub, get hard water, mildew, inside cabinets
    2. Kitchen- don’t miss the stove top, oven and refrigerator as well as inside the cabinets. These tasks take the longest!
    3. Clean the walls, baseboards and window sills.
    4. Vacuum, sweep and clean floors

If you do a good job cleaning these areas you can potentially save hundreds of dollars on the cleaning fee.  Check out our How to Clean blog Series for step by step instructions on how to clean these areas if cleaning is new to you.

  1. Don’t underestimate this type of deep cleaning cost or time it takes to do the cleaning right: One of the most common things we hear from students is “it isn’t that dirty”, or “I am positive it won’t take that long”.  It is almost never the case and you can save yourself from significant disappointment if you plan on the cleaning costing the high end of the estimate.  Deep cleaning to the standard required by the landlord or property manager requires time and expertise.  When you clean the refrigerator for example, everything is removed, all sides cleaned, all drawers, all little grooves cleaned and one thing landlords always check:  the rubber gasket!  Be meticulous when cleaning the stove and oven and cabinets in the kitchen.  The requirements for the turnover of the property are extensive, detailed and take time.  Be assured that your landlord will check every nook and cranny and that is why a professional cleaning service that specializes in move out cleaning is worth its weight in gold: literally!

Follow these essential move out guidelines and your end of year or graduation time will be much less stressful and costly.  Plan ahead and get your moving done, cleaning scheduled and you can spend your time enjoying friends and family rather than worrying about moving boxes or cleaning your apartment at the last minute.  If you and your roommates elect to get on a good cleaning maintenance schedule so that your living situation is more pleasant and your move out is less costly, check out our blog on the 8 House Cleaning Tips You Never Knew You Needed and finally:  Get your proposal today for your move out clean!  Move out season is just around the corner!

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