Where Do I Start When Cleaning My Apartment? | Homeer

Where Do I Start When Cleaning My Apartment?

Residential Cleaning

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Living in an apartment can be a struggle at times.

This could be problems you are having with your neighbors or trouble you are having with maintenance.

Another problem that many people have is getting their deposit back when moving out.

Anyone that has ever lived in an apartment understands the struggle that comes with that.

Most apartments require a move out clean to be performed before the deposit can be returned.

They usually require some sort of proof that someone came and cleaned your apartment as well. This makes sure that you did in fact use a professional service instead of cleaning it yourself.

Keeping your apartment clean regularly will help later on when trying to move out.

You were looking for tips on cleaning your apartment. You found it.

Here we will discuss some tips and tricks on keeping your apartment clean as well as cover the way to find a cleaning service when trying to move out of your apartment.

Table of Contents


    Personally, I have lived in a total of 4 apartments and I can assure you that cleaning was definitely one of the problems I had to deal with regularly.

    Two of the apartments were in Lubbock, TX and the other two apartments were in Midland, TX.

    The windows never seal completely and the door always has a crack. Both of these things always lead to a lot of dust being trapped in my apartment.

    You are never going to stop the dust from conquering your home in West Texas. Credit to: Matthew Cappucci

    I mean... Look at this article released by The Washington Post. That is a huge dust storm, there is no way you can expect to prevent some dust from coming inside.

    If you know about West Texas dust then you will understand how quickly it accumulates. Getting dust all over my possessions, floors, and deep into my carpets. When I had the maintenance people in my apartment they always either tracked in dirt or left a mess where they were working.

    To help you stay on top of it I have created 10 tips to help you keep your apartment clean regularly.

    Clutter can dictate the entire feeling within your home. Credit to: Onur Bahçıvancılar

    1. Don't let clutter dictate the way your home looks and feels

    Trying to clean or maintain how clean your apartment is hard to start.

    Where do you even begin?

    To help make it easier on yourself I would start with the clutter first. This includes the things that have piled up on the countertops and around the floors. Most people do not realize it but they start to put things in piles over time.

    Begin putting these items up in the cabinets where they belong or up in the closets. Apartments are usually not very big. Having clutter out is sore to the eye and can make your apartment impossible to represent as "clean".

    Your home can feel even better than the day you moved in if you just keep moving

    As soon as you begin to put away the clutter you will begin to see your apartment become more clean and neat.

    Another benefit of having the clutter put away is that cleaning everything else is substantially easier. By not having to move every decoration and loose item in your home you can save yourself over an hour every time you have to clean.

    On top of that, putting away clutter will allow you to clean the floors with much more ease when the time comes!

    You can manage the trash in your home. You just have to let it know you are the one in charge.

    2. Be the boss of the trash in your home

    If you are like me, then you probably have a water bottle or two next to your bed. Or if you are in college maybe a beer can, or two, or five...

    As the days go by and you do your daily activities the amount of trash may begin to pile up. Unfortunately, no one in life has figured out a simple solution to the mass collection that we as humans all do. But, you can keep a lid on it and maintain a manageable level of trash at any time.

    This means it's time to do a garbage sweep. Begin going throughout your whole apartment and throwing away any garbage you might find. This is also a good time to take the really small things you don't even consider "decorations" and decide if you want to keep it.

    It's easy to fill a dumpster when you throw everything away I suppose. But what about a trash can?

    Chance, the founder of Homeer, has a habit of throwing everything away when he doesn't want to deal with it anymore, but it comes in hand every now and then. In a blog post from this week Chance said:

    "... I am not the type of person that keeps belongings or decorations. So, prepared with zero boxes to pack items into, we started."

    Whether you are like Chance or not in this regard, it's always a great feeling to do a full-sweep through everything and either organize it properly or toss it.

    This includes anything in drawers, next to your bed, all of the trash cans, etc.

    Keep a trash bag around while you are cleaning so you can throw away any trash that you might find hidden throughout. This will make this step go by much faster and require far less walking through your home.

    Just make one big pile of the trash during this sweep so you can take everything to the dumpster/dump at the end.

    With that being said, we do recommend getting all trash from all rooms before you begin cleaning and then keep the bag with you as your progress through the cleaning. This way, instead of having to walk back to the kitchen you can just lean down and drop anything else you may find in the bag.

    Plus, a little extra benefit of keeping your trash to a small amount is that your home will smell far better. Your trash can may not even smell horrible, but it is likely preventing the good smells from doing all the work they could.

    A trash sweep is amazing, but that doesn't do anything to prevent the build-up of trash that is constantly created. To alleviate some of the pain that comes with this there are two suggestions we have:

    Getting a trash can that is intended to live in the kitchen can have a much larger impact than you may realize.

    Get a larger trash can that is intended to be used in the kitchen

    More often than not, you could use a larger trash can that is sealed. You may think spending any amount higher than $15.00 on a trash can to be crazy, but let me explain.

    With a good trash can you not only prevent the smells from constantly seeping into the area that your trash can sits, but you also get the added benefit of not having to look at it. I mean, have you ever looked at the trash can and thought: "Yeah, I just love looking at the trash I should do this more often." Absolutely not.

    A trash can that has a lid and can seal will make your kitchen area appear far cleaner without doing anything else. Also coming with the benefit of a lid, a proper kitchen trash can will be large enough that you don't have to take it out every day.

    Now, there are some people with the preference of taking out the trash anytime there is a large family meal like lunch or dinner thrown away. There really isn't any exception to this, but if you aren't concerned with this then you can definitely use a larger trash can! More often than not, you won't even have to buy new trash bags.

    Coming with all these benefits and caveats, another is if you're living in an apartment. In the case that you aren't on the first floor, it can be difficult to lug loads up of trash up and down stairs. It's the last thing anyone wants to do so the best thing to do for yourself is to get a larger trash can and limit the number of loads you have to make a week.

    Everyone makes trash. Everyone has a different way of managing it.

    Are you happy with yours?

    Setting a schedule will do wonders on the amount of time it takes to empty the trash.

    Set a schedule for the trash to be taken out

    Setting and sticking to a schedule can be difficult. Especially when it comes to a family where you have multiple lives and schedules intertwining hoping to make time for dinner at the end of the day.

    But, by creating a schedule to take out trash you should never have to worry about a big pile. On a schedule, the trash you have to take out should really never be more than one bag.

    You of course can put a reminder on your refrigerator, but this is one habit that does take some time to form. It's not an immediate thing and if you don't do it now then it will assuredly take you a few times of doing it to get used to it.

    There will always be dirty dishes. All we can do is stay on top of the mess that is created.

    3. Keep the dishes from piling up

    The kitchen is usually one of the dirtiest places in any home but especially apartments. Why? Because that is where most people spend most of their active time. Meaning, if someone in a home is moving around the odds are high that they will find themselves at least walking through the kitchen.

    It's a high traffic area and the rate at which this area gets dirty reflects that.

    I know that one of the problems I had was that I would let the dishes stack up in the sink. This would lead to a smelly kitchen and never having the right utensils clean when needed. Then I started working for Homeer and learned the trick.

    The trick is to never let your pile get out of control. If you look at a pile of dishes and think "Ah, that's such a big pile of dishes." then you've let the pile get too big. By keeping the pile smaller and cleaning the dishes more often you won't dread it so much and the impact it has on your day will be largely mitigated.

    I would love the day that I never have to think about this, wouldn't you?

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could just forget about all of the things that we don't enjoy doing? Thankfully, you can do this with the tedious chore of washing dishes. By washing your dishes in smaller portions more frequently you can leave this chore in your memory-past.

    You of course will still have to clean the same number of dishes. But the mental tax will be far less and to me, that's a major win.

    When cleaning all of your dishes make sure to put them away as soon as they are dry. If you let them sit and accumulate then you are only creating another chore for yourself that will eventually have to be done.

    Now, when you are in the mood to clean your home you don't have to tackle a huge sink of dishes. Instead, you can just grab your supplies and get straight to work on your home cleaning. Doesn't that sound nice?

    Doing the laundry will remain an easy task if you refuse to let it pile up and become an issue.

    4. If you have a stack of laundry, just wash it

    I always seem to have a chair that I put my clothes in.

    I pile anything from jackets to shirts that I wore before bed. This is likely something I learned as a kid and that has followed me through the years of being an adult. But it's a bad habit and a hard one to break.

    As days go by this pile will start to grow until it is overwhelming. This ends up just being a big pile of clutter that I have to walk over and avoid. Instead of being able to relax while in my bedroom, I have to be careful and I am not a fan of that.

    So to avoid this you should begin by sorting your clothes into your preferred piles and throw them in the washing machine. At Homeer we believe it is a wonderful idea to load your clothes before cleaning so that they will be done washing during your cleaning and done drying when you finish with everything.

    You can ditch the idea of a single hamper and get a segmented one to save yourself time.

    If you aren't in love with the idea of doing more loads of laundry then there is another option. You could purchase a laundry basket holder that has multiple bags so that you can pre-sort your piles. This way, when just one bag gets full you don't have to go through and sort everything. Instead, you just grab that basket and dump it into the wash in a matter of seconds.

    And before leaving this trick I'd just like to talk about one last thing. The smell of dirty laundry. It's not exactly horrible, but it's far from good as well. It's kind of like the smell of a wet dog. Very distinct and everyone is used to it so it's not too bad, but still not something you want to live in. Well, that smell doesn't just stay in the pile of laundry. It's wondering about your house making everything smell like that dirty pile of clothes on the floor in your bedroom.

    Whichever method you prefer; not letting your laundry pile up is one of the few things in your home that will have an impact in every room.

    With your laundry all taken care of, you've officially gotten rid of the last possible source of constant clutter. You may have temporary clutter here and there but there is nothing you can do about that. Homes are meant to be lived in after all...

    Now we are going to learn about the single most-used cleaning supply.

    5. Don't be afraid of using your all-purpose cleaner

    With all of the clutter away your decorations should really stand out and your home should be ready to clean.

    Wow, this place looks nice, right? Now it's time to get serious.

    When doing an apartment cleaning it's important to find and use a good all-purpose cleaner. All-purpose cleaner is the supply you will be using the most throughout the cleaning so make sure you've chosen one that you really like. This will be your best friend when making this place really shine.

    We did write: How to have a stressless moving out experience that does go over the actual usage of the supplies you will need. But that's not what this blog is for so if you're interested go ahead and pop over there and come back once you've finished!

    Zep is the best cleaning supply company we have ever found in all our years of experience.

    At Homeer we always use Zep All-Purpose. It's a wonderful product, isn't harsh on your body, and doesn't have a super-strong smell. It ticks off the checkbox in every single aspect and every team member at Homeer carries that in their supply arsenal.

    You can find it at your local hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot in the cleaning supply section. This all-purpose can be used on baseboards, inside the fridge, countertops, possessions, floors, inside the microwave and oven, sinks, showers, basically everywhere.

    As long as the item you are cleaning won't be ruined by getting wet, all-purpose is the way to go. This will save you a lot of time, money, and consideration of what supply to use. The one constant exception being the glass for which you should be prepared with your favorite glass cleaner.

    We use specific cleaners for the showers, sinks, and floors, but the all-purpose will be good to take care of any general cleaning that you have.

    For basic maintenance clean, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner will be the things you need to get your clean perfect.

    Having a clean kitchen and bathroom will have more than a visual impact.

    6. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms in your apartment cleaning

    The two dirtiest places that I always had in my apartment were my kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen gets used a lot. This makes it the dirtiest in the apartment.

    I always recommend starting with the kitchen because it is going to take the most work. Begin working from top-to-bottom.

    Do not worry about wiping crumbs or dust onto the floor. We clean them last and get it all cleaned up at the very end. Use your all-purpose on the cabinets, vent hood, stovetop, microwave, countertops, inside the oven, the sink, and inside the fridge.

    Having a dirty kitchen makes it difficult to have anyone come over and enjoy the awesome you have.

    In a lot of apartments, the kitchen is the first place you will walk into to get into the apartment. A clean kitchen will make your apartment look and feel great.

    Now time to move onto the bathrooms. I never felt like my bathrooms were very dirty until I learned how to clean them. It would always surprise me how much hair and dust would accumulate in corners and the floor.

    Previously, I would allow the toothpaste and hard-water to build up. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal, but then I tried to move out. And when I did, I could not get any of the hard-water stains off. It was a disaster, to say the least.

    Now I know how to do it better and I'm here to share that with you.

    Our goal is to get your shower looking so clean you cannot even tell you have been using it.

    You will want to begin by using a good shower and toilet cleaner. I prefer to use a mixture of diluted bleach with water.

    This way you always disinfect all areas that will have bad bacteria. Spray your bleach solution on the toilet and behind the toilet. Spray your entire shower. I mean every inch of that shower. The better coverage you get the less elbow-grease you have to devote. Please note though, it's not about the amount of cleaning supply you are using it's about the coverage and the dwell time. The dwell time is the amount of time it takes for the cleaning supply you've chosen to really do its job and handle that bacteria like a bull at the rodeo.

    Once you've sprayed everything down you will scrub every inch of the shower and toilet. This will make them both sparkle. Clean the countertops and the sink with the all-purpose cleaner. Be sure to clean the mirrors and get all of the water spots off. Next, you can get the floors clean. This should make your bathroom really clean.

    You are getting closer to having your deposit back! Or to a clean apartment in general.

    Dust can be a beautiful thing with the right lighting. But it never looks good in my home so it's going to be cleaned.

    7. Dust like a professional and it will be easy

    Like I had mentioned before, my apartments were always dusty. In West Texas it's impossible to stop the dust from coming in. All you can do is let it come in and clean more often than you may in another area of the world.

    I was constantly having to dust all surfaces throughout the week. It would range from dusting my personal possessions to just my dresser tops to the light fixtures above my kitchen island... Now I know better.

    The best way I found to keep my apartment dust-free was to use a microfiber rag and some furniture polish. While doing this I would also use an extension duster to get my fans and hard to reach areas.

    Without dusting the fans your home will be covered in dust in no time.

    I begin dusting with the fans making sure to get every piece of dust off of those blades. My least favorite thing to see is a clean room, to turn on the fan and watch all the dust come back down onto everything. So, always start with dusting your fan. You'll thank me later.

    Once you've taken care of the fan blades you will want to get all of the other high areas at least once a quarter. Be sure to get on top of the door frames, window frames, and on any high shelves.

    Don't be afraid to use the all-purpose cleaner, but using furniture polish on the areas that allow for it will make everything shine and prevent future build-up for much longer.

    To make sure you take care of all the dust at one time go through each room and make sure to wipe down every surface. This will get all of the dust out of your apartment and you don't have to worry about doing any cleaning or dusting for the coming weeks.

    By doing a full clean of any step in this process you are saving yourself a massive amount of time for your future self.

    With improper form, cleaning the baseboards will result in scabbed and injured knees.

    8. Getting the baseboards is hard, but rewarding work

    With all seven of the previous items completed everything in your apartment should be coming together now. You have the kitchen clean, your bathrooms are clean, all surfaces are cleaned in the bedrooms and living areas.

    The next step is to get those baseboards. The easiest way to do this is to spray your microfiber rag with a lot of all-purpose cleaners.

    This is a step that you are going to have to be delicate with. It's not like you are trying to clean a $100,000 crystal chandelier, but you don't want to mess up the paint that is on your baseboards.

    Let's get these baseboards done quickly so that we can move on to the next thing.

    If you get it too wet when you go to wipe it down you are going to remove the paint. In an apartment this is one of the last things that you want to do so please make sure to pay attention to the directions here...

    To clean the baseboards we recommend getting your rag pretty wet. It shouldn't be dripping, but it should be wet enough that the rag will be able to move in your hand and still make contact with the baseboard and cleaning supply on the rag. So, to make that easier just spray a little more cleaning supply than you would when typically using your all-purpose cleaner.

    The mitts used for cars make a wonderful accessory to use while cleaning your baseboards.

    Optionally, you could use one of the mitts that you often found to be used for washing your car. You know, the ones with fingers that has microfiber strands coming off of it? Shockingly, this has been one of the best ways we've found to clean baseboards with minimal effort. By using a mitt the rag doesn't get moved around and doesn't lose contact every few centimeters. Instead, you can get every angle of the baseboard in one broad sweep.

    When your rag is ready you will want to bend down if possible and scoot across the baseboards. It is easiest on your body if you don't let your knees touch the ground and will make the process much faster. Be sure to do all of the baseboards, even behind your toilet.

    Soon you will begin to see how big the difference is between the clean baseboards and the dirty ones.

    Baseboards are one of the things that you can clean your apartment that will have the largest impact on the overall appearance of your home.

    Although there still may be some marks that you cannot get off you should be able to get almost every spot perfectly clean. Cleaning your baseboards is a large task, but also has a large return.

    By doing the previous steps getting your floors clean should be the easiest part of the entire day.

    9. Let's get those floors of yours sparkling clean

    As you are reading this you may think by this point that you have done way too much work. But you are wrong!

    It would usually only take me about 4 hours to get my 2x2 apartment sparkling clean from top to bottom. So not too bad! If that still sounds like a lot of time we do have a solution for you and you can learn more about it on our home cleaning page. Now it's time to get those floors clean.

    Vacuum all of the carpeted areas. Make sure to get all crumbs and dust on the carpet and hard floors in your apartment.

    A little pro tip for you is to vacuum underneath and behind your refrigerator as there are likely loose items contributing to a "kitchen stench". Plus, getting all of the lint and dust out from underneath your fridge will allow for your fridge to regulate temperature better. This will ensure that your fridge will last longer without any maintenance and it will get all of that unwanted dust out of your apartment.

    Next, I would recommend using a microfiber mop head and a mop pole however any mop will do! I always use Zep Neutral Floor Cleaner to get my floors spotless.

    When using a microfiber mop you don't use a typical bucket that is full of dirty water. Instead, you spray the floors with your floor cleaner and begin to mop away the solution. When your mop gets dirty, just rinse it off with hot water and you are ready for another round! The time savings that come from using a microfiber mop is precisely why we've chosen to use them at Homeer. But, if you choose not to use a microfiber mop be prepared to spend a little more time getting your floors returned to perfection.

    Steam cleaning is not all that it is cracked up to be.

    Before moving on I would like to mention that we never recommend steam cleaning your floors. I understand the thinking that steam may give you a better result, but more often than not it results in more of a mess to clean up with the potential of damaging your floor. In my experience, it's never really worth the effort or concern and we completely avoid this option of cleaning at Homeer.

    With your floors taken care of everything should be cleaned and it should look like a brand new apartment. Does it look like the day you moved in? It should!

    Your home is officially clean, but there's one last step.

    Don't just choose the most popular smell. Choose the smell that is your absolute favorite. It is your home after all.

    10. Find an air freshener that makes you feel good inside

    Now that everything is put away and cleaned, let's make the place smell amazing.

    Everyone has their own preference so let me lay out the options and you could choose the camp you prefer:

    • You can spray a good air freshener in each room.
    • You can buy a candle that you really like.
    • You can refill the scent cubes in your Scentsy or warmer.
    • You could toss a lemon down the garbage disposal and turn it on.

    Making your apartment smell amazing is the last step in completing the cleaning of your apartment. Once you've done that, there is nothing to do besides kicking back and relax.

    Smells are an easy way to add a personal touch to your home without investing a large amount of money, time, or attention. It really is the easiest way to add your own touch to an apartment that is difficult to make personal.

    Playing with seasonal smells can really add some life to a home that may smell the same year-round.

    At Homeer we have clients that prefer seasonal smells and we get behind that. It's really awesome to clean an apartment year-round and watch as the home evolves season-to-season with smells to represent the time of the year. It's difficult to put into words, but if you've ever bought a Thanksgiving or Christmas candle you know what I mean.

    Even if it's just you at your apartment, make it smell good! You won't regret it. Especially if you have family or friends coming over. Choose the smell and get it going. Each person in the world carries their own unique smell, you don't want others to remember yours as a stinky one, do you? A candle or air freshener is a simple and cost-effective way to avoid that.

    The concept of a clean life is not an abstract thought.

    Why cleaning your apartment is so important

    Keeping your apartment clean has more than one benefit.

    I always noticed that I performed better in life when I had all of my possessions organized and my apartment sparkling clean. It made me feel better as a person which allowed me to do better in life.

    A clean apartment also means lower maintenance costs for you and the apartment complex. Cleaning the countertops, sinks, toilets, showers, microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, etc. will allow for them to last longer.

    If you take care of all of the things in your apartment while living there, then it is more likely that nothing will need much work or need to be replaced when moving out. This will save the apartment complex money and will also save you time and money when trying to move out.

    The military understands this concept so well they enforce cleanliness. This may sound crazy but I promise it's not. Why do you think the military keep their bunks so clean? So they can perform better.

    Cleaning your apartment regularly assures that you will get your down deposit back at the end of the lease. We've also talked about this aspect in our blog here: Will a move in cleaning even make a difference?.

    I have always gotten my own deposit back when moving out of any of my past apartments, but not by luck.

    One of the reasons behind this is because I cleaned regularly and returned my apartment in tip-top shape. Doing this allowed for all appliances and baseboards to look brand new at the time of moving out.

    Honestly, it usually looked cleaner than it did when I moved in. Two of the apartment complexes I have lived in required that I get a professional cleaning company to come in and do a move out cleaning at the time my lease was up.

    I even had to show them proof with a receipt showing that they came in and cleaned everything, but that wasn't a bad thing.

    The thought crossed my mind...

    To be straight-forward, a few friends suggested I forge a receipt and clean my apartment myself. But then I started packing and realized how much time I was going to have to invest before I even got to clean my empty apartment.

    At the time I already knew Chance so his team members came in the next day and took care of it. I may not have worked for Homeer yet, but I knew how important a move-out cleaning was back then too. So here I am, strongly recommending that any time you move out of an apartment in West Texas, schedule a professional cleaning service.

    You should go in with the expectation to build a routine that is custom to your home and cleaning needs.

    Cleaning some apartments requires special attention and routines

    Apartments all clean differently. I have learned this from personal experience, as well as, working in the cleaning business.

    Some apartments will require the tenant to find their own move out cleaning, some use an in house person and do not require the tenant to do anything, some apartments will use a cleaning service and contract them out. The bottom line is that no matter what, every apartment will need a move out cleaning before another tenant moves in.

    I have had a terrible experience where the tenant before me did not use a service and the apartment used someone in-house to clean. Now I'm not saying that the apartment didn't get cleaned but it could've been a lot better.

    I had to completely clean the entire apartment before I could even start to move in. It was a really bad experience. After this, I have always used a professional cleaning service like Homeer to take care of my move out cleans.

    This way I do not get in trouble with the apartments and better yet, the next tenants won't have to deal with my mess, but best of all, I don't have to deal with messes that someone else created and left.

    I hope you found these tips/tricks helpful! If you have any questions don't hesitate to drop them down in the comments below and we will answer any questions you may have!

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