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Moving out checklist for tenants

A new job in a different city, or maybe your term’s up, and you don’t want to renew your lease. Either way, time to pack your things and go. And that’s the kind of change that can be really difficult if you’re not prepared for it.

In a world that is dynamic and ever-changing, we have been taught to embrace it and roll with the proverbial dice. Of course, human nature is hard-wired to not go so gently into that good night, and we fight the mere idea of change with claws and teeth. And when it comes to home, that haven away from the big bad world, change is even harder.

But, hey, we don’t blame you. Sometimes it’s just the way things are. A new job in a different city, or maybe your term’s up, and you don’t want to renew your lease. Either way, time to pack your things and go. And that’s the kind of change that can be really difficult if you’re not prepared for it.

That’s where we come in. With a few tips and the right checklist, moving out doesn’t have to be a hassle or as nerve-wracking and heartbreaking as you might think.

Get Your Papers in Order

The first thing you want to do before moving out is making sure all the paperwork is in order. Here are a few things we believe you should keep in mind.

  • Make sure you inform all the right people of your changing address. These include your insurance, bank, doctors, your workplace, and of course, friends and family (unless you’re making a run for it). Of course, you’ll need to leave a forwarding address if you’re not going to your new place right away.
  • Contact your utility suppliers and make sure all your bills are paid and provide the last meter readings so you can close off your account. This goes for water, sewage, gas, electricity, phone lines, internet, cable, etc. 
  • Revise your lease contract and make sure you reacquaint yourself with all the terms in it. These include inspection dates, time of notice, terms involving your insurance deposit, and others.

Give it Back the Way You Got It

If you have a smart landlord, you’ve probably been given an inventory of everything that was in your home before you moved in. If the landlord is creative, there are probably pictures there as well. This would be the perfect time to do your own inspection before your landlord comes in for the agreed-upon end-of-lease inspection.

  • Check every room for general conditions that might be a cause for concern. Make sure the walls are clean, that your little ones haven’t painted their Picasso-inspired artwork anywhere, and that there are no cracks or chipped areas. The same goes for the ceiling and floors, especially if the floor is hardwood or MDF.
  • Check all doors and windows. Make sure they open and close properly, that the hinges are fine, there are no cracks in the glass or chipped wood, and that the knobs are in good condition.
  • When it comes to electricity, be vigorous. Every light fixture, every socket, every wire. Check them all, because your landlord will. Check all appliances, including refrigerators, heaters, AC’s, stove and oven, etc.
  • Bathrooms can be tricky. Check for broken tiles hidden behind the toilet or under the sink. Check all the faucets, make sure cold and hot water are running, the toilet flushes normally, and that there are no clogged drains. The same applies to the kitchen. An extra thing you want to do here is check washing machines and dishwashers for mold, which is a clear indicator that the pipes are faulty.
  • Clean, clean, clean. We can’t stress this enough. Chances are, you were delivered a clean home, and your landlord will want it back. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hire professionals. All major cities have a multitude of companies to choose from, and living in a metropolis like New York or London is no longer an excuse to skip this step. On the contrary, your landlord will appreciate that you’ve hired the right end of tenancy cleaning London professionals the city has to offer, or that you’ve scoured the New York yellow pages for the right people to get the job done.

An Easy Escape

When it comes to moving, don’t diddle-daddle on the help you can get to ease a lot of the hassle that comes with moving day. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind, though.

  • If you’re hiring a moving company, make sure you book in advance. Take your time with the research and ask friends and family for advice. 
  • Find friends or family who can help you move some the more breakable and urgent things you’ll need in your new home. Movers are professionals, but you can never be too careful.
  • Look up tips to help you with the packing and unpacking process. There are multiple ways to do this right, and advice is never scarce. A few tips we can give you here is to make sure you label all your boxes clearly, pack according to importance (things you don’t need right away at the bottom of the box, important utensils on the top), pack while planning how you’ll be unpacking in your new home, and if there’s an overlap in time, move your boxes and valuables one room at a time. The key takeaway here: Be organized. It’ll make a world of difference.
  • Try to find a sitter for your children or pets on moving day if possible. It’ll help you stay focused on the actual move, and they won’t get in the way while you and the movers are carrying things back and forth.

That’s pretty much it. With the tips in this article and the checklist we’ve provided, moving day won’t be the daunting experience everyone worries about. At the end of the day, the stress of change is more than enough to make your head spin, and you don’t need the added stress to make the day unbearable. The most important things you can do is be prepared, be organized, and remain calm throughout the whole process. After all, you are supposedly moving to greener pastures… why make the journey feel like hell?

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Your "not that regular" all-around gal, writing about anything, thus everything. "There's always more to discover... thus write about," she says in between - GASP! - puffs. And so that's what she does, exactly. Write, of course; not (just) puff.


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