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Here’s Everything You Need to Do When You Move Out

Here’s Everything You Need to Do When You Move Out
School’s almost out. That means no more homework, classes or exams — and way more time to relax and have fun. And though finals might be just around the corner (along with too many all-nighters to count), there’s one other thing on your list: moving out.

When you’re moving out of your dorm, student apartment or off-campus house, follow this checklist to make sure you don’t forget any essentials or face possible fines/penalties.


One of the most obvious tasks is packing up your stuff and getting it out — and this applies to all housing types.

First thing’s first: You need to get your moving materials together. Boxes, tape, scissors and a permanent marker (for labeling) should cover the basics, but make sure you also have packing materials for weirdly shaped or fragile items. Just because your skis won’t fit in a box doesn’t mean they you’re going to ditch them!

Boxes are easier to stack than bags, and bags can rip, so always opt for a box if you can. And put small things in bigger boxes so you have to make fewer trips. Make sure that none of the boxes get too heavy, though. This can make them heavy to carry, rip or crush other boxes stacked beneath them.

Organize your things based on where they need to go. You might be graduating and moving back in with your parents, or you might be moving out on your own (in which case, figure out which non-essentials you can store at Mom and Dad’s indefinitely).

You might be heading abroad for the summer, and storing your items here in Colorado is the easiest and most convenient option.

Regardless of your summer plans, organize your stuff based on where it needs to go. And sometimes, it doesn’t need to go anywhere except the trash.

Get ideas on what to get rid of after college graduation >

When you’re packing, label everything. Seriously, every little thing. This makes moving easy, because you don’t have to open and reseal the box during the process.

Don’t pack any food, drink or other perishables. Trust us. And when it comes to liquids, if you can’t toss them, make sure the cap is screwed on tightly. You could also put them in a sealable plastic bag to protect your other stuff.

Cleaning and Repairs

Any holes in the wall should be fixed, but check with your rental agreement to determine who’s responsible, and what the potential repercussions could be if you don’t fill in the holes.

Fix anything else that you broke, and make sure you put in any necessary maintenance requests ahead of your move-out date. Paint all walls their original color.

If you have roommates, coordinate with them about who’s doing what and when. It might help to write it down and post it on the fridge so you all remember and stick to it.

Here’s a quick list of things you’ll want to make sure are cleaned thoroughly:


  • Clean the inside and outside of your fridge, freezer and microwave (if they belong to your landlord or school)
  • Wipe all drawers, shelves and cabinets
  • Clean your oven
  • Rinse the sink and clear the garbage disposal (if you have one)
  • Make sure the dishwasher is clean, including the lip that keeps it watertight
  • Wipe away all grease stains on walls, cabinets, hood, etc.


  • Give the toilet a good cleaning (check behind it, too!)
  • Remove soap scum from shower and sink, and wipe clean
  • Empty medicine cabinets and drawers and wipe clean
  • Check grout and caulking for excessive mold

Living room, bedroom and all other rooms:

  • Wipe blinds clean
  • Dust ceiling light fixtures and fans
  • Wash windows
  • For hardwood or laminate flooring, sweep and mop thoroughly
  • For carpets, find out who’s responsible for hiring professional carpet cleaners (this varies per rental agreement)
  • Wipe away all stains and scuffs — a “magic eraser” cleaning pad should do the trick

Other Details

Some other things you might not have already thought of:

  • Set up your mail forwarding address. Submit your request with the United States Postal Service. You should give your landlord your new address, too.
  • Organizing your key hand-off. Let your landlord know exactly which day and time you plan to move out, and coordinate how you can return the key. Gather any other items, like parking passes or laundry room keys, ahead of time and keep them together in one place.
  • Take photos. Capturing images of your dorm, apartment or house when you move out can help you from potential problems in the future, especially if you are wrongfully accused of damage.
  • Cancel utilities. If internet, cable, electric, gas or other utilities are in your name, contact those companies ahead of time to let them know of your move-out date. Cancel service as of that date, or transfer it to your new address.
  • Learn about moving out. Some schools and landlords have different move-out policies. Naropa University, for example, has an official move-out procedure for students vacating Snow Lion, and improper move-out can hit you with a $100 fine. Check your rental agreement or ask your landlord or RA for help.

Final Walkthrough

A final move-out walkthrough can help you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and it can help you get peace of mind. Take your move-in checklist (if you had one) and use that to guide your final walkthrough.

If you don’t have one, simply walk through every room and use the guidelines listed above to help you make sure you’ve ticked every box.

See below for more information about moving out of your dorm from your school:

  • University of Colorado Boulder: Move-in & move-out
  • Colorado State University: End-of-year move-out information
  • Colorado College: Housing FAQs
  • Naropa University: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Colorado School of Mines: Residence Life
  • University of Denver: Checking Out