Ok readers! Time to share your cleaning advice and expertise!
I have two very dear friends who are in the process of moving this week.
So I thought I would share some of my adventures and methods for “Clearing” Military Quarters.
As a military family, we are provided Government Quarters to live in while moving from post to post. It is just like being a renter in the Civilian world in many ways. We have a phone number to call for repairs to be made. We sign a lease/contract for our quarters. etc.
One major difference, is there is no initial security deposit. YAY!!!
However, there ARE very STRICT standards and inspections for “Clearing” your Quarters.
Your soldier cannot move to a new post until this is completed.
And it can be quite a daunting task
Sooooo…. Here is my…
Beginner’s guide to Clearing Government Quarters.
((Please leave your additions/suggestions in the comments!))
You always have two options. Hire a Cleaning Team or Do it Yourself
Hire A Cleaning Team
During our last PCS, I had a 3 week old baby and an almost two year old. So we hired someone!
The Housing office will provide you with a list of approved cleaning teams. Basically, if you hire one of them, you’ll be able to hand over your keys the day of your final inspection because they know it will be cleaned to standard.
I suggest calling down the list and asking for estimates given your number of bedrooms and the amount of time you have lived there. I remember getting bids anywhere from 800 to 400 dollars – so it pays to sit down and make 10 phone calls!
Once you have it narrowed down a little, you can invite them to your house for a walk through and they’ll give you a more accurate bid. I invited 3 to my house and they all gave me estimates BELOW their initial phone estimate.
No stress. No cleaning. It was well worth the 375 bucks to us!
Do It Yourself
Start by visiting your post “Self Help” office and getting as many free supplies as you can. (Light bulbs, Spackle, Government White Paint (if needed), Paint brushes, Cabinet knobs, Screens, etc)
Things you will need: Trash can with bags, Mop, Bucket, Broom, Dust pan, Toilet brush, Hammer, Pliers, Razor blade, Toilet paper – don’t forget this!, Paper towels, Rubber gloves, Magic Erasers, Over Cleaner, Mop-n-Glo, Windex, 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, Dish soap.
Food: Yes FOOD! Keep a few Granola bars, Beef jerky, or favorite nibbles on the counter. And a bunch of water bottles or Coke in the fridge – you need FUEL while you work! And on that note – Make sure you stop periodically to eat regular meals. If you keep a few sandwich ‘fixins’ on hand you’ll be able to keep working and save money!
1 – Contact the housing office to schedule your Pre-inspection and get a checklist.- This list will give you a good idea of what is expected along with a visit to your house to clear up any questions you might have.
2 – Wall hangings and holes – Something you can do before the movers come, is take down all your pictures and picture hangers. I put them all in a Ziploc bag and taped them to the back of a picture. That way they were all together when we unpacked them. Then go around and Spackle all the holes with a Putty knife. (Don’t use toothpaste! It’ll shrink and the hole will be visible again!) After letting it dry overnight, I use a Magic Eraser (wear gloves) to wipe away the excess Spackle on the wall.
2 – Windows – Wipe them down inside and out. I use Windex and lots of paper towels.
3 – Light fixtures – Take them down and wash them. (Warning – Ours was filled with bugs… gross!)
4 – Walls – Start with the door and work your way around a room. I use a Magic Eraser, bucket of water, and Rubber Gloves. Paint if you need to.
5 – Floors – Sweep and then mop. My dad (prior Air Force) swears by Mop-n-Glo. (Just make sure you let it dry completely before you walk on it because your foot prints will show and you’ll have to do it all over again… Not that I would do anything like that…) Also keep a throw rug or old towel by the front door so you won’t keep tracking dirt onto your clean floor. Then just throw it in the washing machine when you’re done! **If your quarters has wall-to-wall carpeting, consider renting a rug shampooer or hiring a professional.
6 – Kitchen – Yes this one gets its OWN number because it’s usually the MOST work.
—6a – Move your Fridge and Oven and clean the floors… (Warning – usually very gross…)
—6b – Take out the shelves/drawers in the Fridge and wash them in the tub with dish soap. While they are drying, go clean/wipe out the entire fridge freezer. Prop the doors open so it dries out completely.
—6c – Start at one end and go through your cabinets shelf by shelf wiping them down and throwing away random bits of dried rice, past noodles, stashed chocolate… wait… eat the chocolate and continue… Make sure to wipe outside/handles of the cabinets too.
—6d – Spray the oven with oven cleaner and let it sit overnight. Then wearing Rubber Gloves and a Face mask (open a window if you can) start cleaning it out. You can use a razor blade for the really tough spots – JUST BE CAREFUL!
7 – Storage and Outside – Sweep your storage room. Double check the shed. Mow the lawn. Rake the leaves. Wash out your garbage container. Is there anything in the attic?
8 – Remember: Inspectors are just doing their job – Their job is to make sure your quarters are ready for the next family moving in. Although you can contact the housing office and speak with a supervisor if you feel you are being treated unfairly. (In Europe? Fill out an ICE card baby!!)
Oh – and one more thought… If you are moving yourself?
Always make your bed FIRST.
(You’ll thank me later!)
How can you help a friend who is moving?
1 – Offer to watch their kids! The world is big, but the Army is small!
2 – You could also share a few strategic coupons for cleaning supplies!
3 – Offer to share an extra bed or a set of pots after their household goods have shipped.
OK – That’s what I got! What did I miss?
Do you have a great tip or a horror story to share?