Please Help Clean The Apartment Before Leaving

Josh L
3 min readJan 24, 2022

A bad roommate story and how it can help you

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

My roommate and I both agreed to move out of our apartment on January 1st. Instead, he told me in mid November that he was moving out at the end of the month.

As you can imagine, I was caught off guard. I had been looking at a few places already but I was far from having a new place to live. I was pissed.

After asking him a few times over the next few days if he was serious, I finally came to accept the news that I needed to be gone by then as well. I could not pay the whole rent myself.

The end of the month came. He put his keys on the table and said he was leaving. I reminded him that he still hadn’t done any cleaning and if we wanted our security deposit back, he better start scrubbing.

He didn’t care. What was his response?

He said I am leaving now and I don’t care if we get that back or not.

I cared. He owed me money and had agreed to give me his half of the security deposit. We would then call it even.

So, now he left me two weeks to figure out how not to become homeless, he didn’t clean at all, and basically told me he’s not paying me back either.


After he left, I sat in the empty apartment on the floor for about 30 minutes. I was afraid. I didn't know what to do. I looked around at all the work that needed to be done.

In those 30 minutes, I felt helpless. I was thinking of all the negative things I had been through in such a short time. To be left like that left a sour taste in my mouth, to put it lightly.

At the 31 minute mark, I stood up. I had only one option. To get up and start cleaning. Get the security deposit back so that I had some kind of money for a new place. I needed to take that first step.

So that’s what I did.

I cleaned the whole two bedroom apartment and patio area all alone. I scrubbed the fridge, freezer, oven, bathroom, his bedroom walls, and everything else.

I vacuumed and swept. I cleaned out the microwave and wiped down all the cabinets. I cleaned for three hours straight because I knew I needed that money.

I got the money back. I found a new place. Everything worked out perfectly. It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it.

What can you take away from this story?

Don’t feel like a victim. Sh*t happens in life. Most of it is outside of our control. When things like this happen, you can feel bad for yourself for a little bit.

We are human. It’s natural to want to look at the world and question why are these bad things happening.

The key is to make sure that you do not linger there for too long. The brain is the most powerful tool in the world. Whatever you tell it to do, it will.

If you feel bad for yourself, your brain will have no issues coming up with reasons as to why you should feel bad. The opposite is also true.

If you think positive and tell yourself that you can do something, your brain will give you reasons as to why it’s true. This will make it much easier to get up and get the work done.

I could have said I’m not cleaning. Why should I clean the whole place and his bedroom by myself when he lived here too? I could have bought into this negativity and victimhood mentality.

If I did, I would have been a whole security deposit poorer. Instead, I chose to get up and get the work done anyway. Despite the circumstances, I put in the work anyway and got the results I wanted.

You can do this too. Next time life is being cruel to you, think of the end result that you want. Then take steps toward it.

You can and will succeed if you keep going. The only question is, will you do what it takes?