Betsy’s Guide to Moving Season: CHEAP Volume I

It’s moving season in our fair city. Thankfully, William and I have happily resigned a lease, and really…REALLY I’m actually going to paint our kitchen and living room. So, I don’t write this post for us. I write this post for friends who find themselves packing up the boxes once again.

I won’t bore you with things you already know. We all know how to apartment hunt, haggle, and get a truck. It’s up to you what sort of favors you are willing to do in order to ellicit help from friends. I stop at beer and pizza…but mid staircase, with a couch on your head…there are other favors that seem worthwhile…

I digress.

Anyhoo, what I want to talk about are the “gotchas”. Those little things that seem like nothin’ and end up costing you oodles in funds just to be done with it.

Part One:


You don’t just have to clean your new place, do ya? NooOOOoo. You have to clean the OLD one too. Which, admittedly, sucks. But, with about 5 bucks, a bucket, an old toothbrush, a sprayer bottle and rags (and even some of those are more for convenience sake…) we can get your place cleaned.
You’ll need: Concentrated dish soap, Vinegar, baking soda, some way of heatin’ up some water.


The kitchen sucks the worst to clean pre-move (and post move). It just does. Get it done first.
1. Pack up everything and do yourself a favor…label and cushion. Take a tip from me however, do the environment and your sanity a favor by using as many dish towels and kitchen linens as you can to cushion glassware and breakables. You are saving yourself trash and dirt from the ink of newspapers. I even use old tshirts and dance clothes when I run out of linens. That way you are saving yourself luggage, too. Blankets. Pillow cases, sheets. Anything will work. I keep the bathroom linens away from the kitchen stuff, though. Clean out your fridge, and put anything you want to keep that may be perishable in a cooler with ice.
2. Once it’s packed, you’re going to want to work top to bottom. Now, between you and me, it’s you’re old apartment we’re talking about here. Wasn’t all that thoroughly cleaned when you showed up, was it? Newp. So here’s what you do. Fill a bucket with warm soapy water. Dish soap will do. If there are particularly greasy spots, sprinkle a little baking soda on the grease and then scrub. Scrub tops of cabinets, inside cabinets, top of the fridge, counters…any permanent surface that isn’t going with you. Rinse with a clean damp cloth and dry with a clean dry one as you go. A spritx of vinegar or a vinegar dampened rag will shine up chrome surfaces like faucets, not too grungy ranges, etc. Open windows to get the air flowing and dry surfaces faster. Make sure the sink is shiny. It’s an eye catcher. Unplug your fridge and open ‘er up. Allow to defrost. Right before you mop (which won’t be for awhile), scrub ‘er out with our trusty dish soap solution. If she’s greasy, pop a little vinegar and baking soda into the mix.
3. Sweep, but wait on the mopping until you are literally ready to never come back in the apartment again.

Other Rooms
Basically, you’ll do the same thing in all other rooms (Except the bathroom). If you are concerned about wood finishes, try Murphy’s oil soap instead of dish soap. Go easy with the baking soda in living spaces. It is a mild abrasive. Make sure you hit the baseboards. You don’t notice them while there is furniture in the room, but grungy baseboards stick out when it’s empty.

The bathroom takes a little more elbow grease but no different products. Heat up a kettle of boiling water. While you are doing that, dump about 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of baking soda down the sink drain and the bathtub drain. Pour an equal amount of vinegar down and let it bubble for awhile.
Spray the mirror with a half and half vinegar water mixture and wipe clean.
Pour the boiling water down both drains to rinse out the baking soda and vinegar. You might need to do it twice (for future reference, doing this once ever couple of weeks keeps your drains from clogging…it is NOT, however, a clog remover. It’s a grease and smell remover.)
Remove your shower curtain if it is still up and the rings. Wet down the tub. Any tough stains get baking soda scrubbed (make sure this is okay with the bath’s finish…it probably is…but I don’t know what you’ve got goin’ there.) You can also use salt and scrub it into the tub with half a lemon. Vinegar will kill mildew and mold. Use dish soap for a general clean.
Put some gloves on and mix up a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Take an old toothbrush, a rag, or just your gloved hands and start and spread it on the inside of the toilet boil. You’ll have to scrub at any stains. Make sure to get up and underneath. When it’s clean, flush.
Again, leave the floor until it’s time to go.
Hit the baseboards and behind the toilet with a scrub. Dish soap’ll do. Just refill your trusty bucket.
Give the sink a scrub with baking soda and dishsoap.
Make sure you scrub down the outside of the toilet (for germ purposes, do all toilet centered cleaning last).
Make sure you’ve dusted and scrubbed any miscellaneous surfaces.
Things to look for: hairspray buildup, makeup stains, pet hair tumbleweeds, little mustache trimmys from dark and surly significant others.
And by the way, nobody says you have to clean up dust and other hard to wrangle stuff with a cloth. Get out the vacuum! Get in the corners and stuff.

When it’s finally time to mop the floors, give ’em a good sweep and put a couple teaspoons of dishsoap into a bucket with a sploosh of vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar shines, baking soda cuts grease. This formula is best for a string mop, but a sponge mop’ll do. Dry the floors and you are done!

All for pennies, my friends. Now, if this was me cleaning my NEW place, I’d throw a little bleach into the action, especially for bathroom and kitchen surfaces (a very little goes a long way). But let’s be honest, you’re trying to get your deposit back with the old place, not pass an antimicrobial test (which, if you are worried, you would probably pass. Bleach just guarantees it.)

If you are seriously hurting for cash, try family dollar for your baking soda. 55 cents a box. Buy a couple boxes. Cheap vinegar, too.

If you find yourself buying so much baking soda you are surrounded with little orange boxes, try the laundry aisle at your grocery store. Sometimes they carry enormous boxes of baking soda. Make sure you aren’t buying washing soda. It’s a great product, but it requires gloves and is a little more caustic. I do love this product, but it’s for another day.

One more little baking soda tip, throw a half a cup in with the detergent in your laundry. It’s a fabric softener. It is NOT however, an anti-static product, so you may want to take that into consideration.

I hope these little tips can save you money while moving or just any old time. While of course times are tough for everybody right now, times are always tough in the arts world. But, as my Grandma Clara always said, you’re never too poor to buy a bar of soap. That may or may not be true, but I still try to live by it.


2 thoughts on “Betsy’s Guide to Moving Season: CHEAP Volume I

  1. As one of your many friends who find themselves moving (TWICE!) this moving season, this blog will likely come in hella handy. I have also found that, when you’re packing with clothes and run out of clothes, paperback books make good travel insulators as well. Hardcovers, not so much, but paperbacks can be your best friend. Bets, you should have a TV show… Domestica Bombsell and the kitchen of doom!

  2. Pingback: Spring Cleaning Part One: The Kit « A Rhinestone World

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