1) The Bathroom
One might call a tossup between this and the kitchen, but I'm going to list this one first. Takeout can get you through a few days, but bathing comfortably and without feeling like you're in a strange person's bathroom goes a long way to making you feel more human when you're settling into a new rental.
2) The Kitchen
Next up: the kitchen! This one's fun, because once it's all clean, there are lots of boxes to be put away. Hit cabinet interiors first so you can get some things put away and free up a little space. Then you can close the doors and know everything inside is clean and ready for use. Then hit the kitchen surfaces like countertops, backsplash, and flooring. Last, scrub up the appliances and sink.
3) Closets and Storage Areas
Much like the kitchen cabinets, cleaning closets will let you unpack a lot of boxes and will get your clothing hanging up so you can stop living out of boxes and luggage. Clean the floors, wipe down any shelving, and clean the walls and door. Which leads us to the next don't miss spot to clean...
You don't often think to clean walls, but that's how they get surprisingly dirty! Giving the walls a wipe-down will eliminate any cobwebs, dust, and fingerprints left behind by the previous tenant (and maybe even tenants before them!). If you're in a freshly-painted apartment — as is often the case since landlords often paint between tenants — just be sure to get the ceiling (using a duster) and light switches (as they're major fingerprint traps).
5) Doors and Trim
Unlike the walls, the doors and trim are likely not painted between tenants. It can often go unobserved, but if you take a good hard look, you might notice that the doors and trim are really dirty. Wiping them down will go a long way toward spiffing up most any rental.
What spots top your cleaning list when you move into a new place? Please share below!
(Image: Jill Slater)