How to move heavy items safely
You’re planning a move in the near future. You’re feeling good about how to make sure the small items get packed up and out, but what about your bed? Couch? Antique hardwood wardrobe? Grandfather clock? Oversized sculpture?
Feeling confident about being able to maneuver these large and heavy items out of your door to where they’re going next is a whole different story. Not being prepared or capable of this task will run the risk of damage to your items, your home or office, and even injury.
That said, if you’re committed to a do-it-yourself (and with a little help from people you know), then there are some steps to take to ensure that you can move your big stuff safely — or to help you determine whether you might need some professionals to help. In that case, you can rely on Piece of Cake Moving & Storage to lend an experienced hand to do the heavy lifting of your move.
Steps to moving heavy items safely
Step 1: Make a plan before starting
This is where you jot down the list of all the heavy and large items that you want to move. Determining where you’re moving them to is a critical step before making your first lift. Then, devise a strategy to traverse the terrain between point A (where your item(s) currently are) to point B (where they will end up), keeping in mind any obstacles or challenges along the way. These may include doorways, elevators, stairs, other furniture, and the like. Anticipating these will help you reduce the risk to damage to your stuff, your place, and yourself! Further, this may also help you figure out how many other people you need to ask to help — there’s safety in numbers when it comes to moving heavy furniture.
Step 2: Gather your tools
Having the right equipment is half of the battle between you and moving your heavier belongings. Many of the recommended tools can be either purchased or rented.
You’ll likely find the following items helpful when moving hefty belongings and furnishings:
- Moving blankets and plastic stretch wrap: To reduce the risk of your items getting banged up while you’re lifting and moving them, it’s a good idea to have some way of wrapping them up to provide a buffer against scuffs and scrapes. Placing moving blankets over your items and securing them with plastic stretch wrap (not the type you use in the kitchen) does a great job. While you’re at it, you may want to cover doorways and bannisters to keep them safe from damage as well as you pass through.
- Furniture sliders: For a number of heavy pieces of furniture, there’s no need to push or pull… just slide! Furniture sliders, in their many forms, reduce the friction between the heavy item and the floor and, in turn, assist in a quicker and easier move. There are a variety of types: it could be as simple as using cardboard or a moving blanket underneath your item or purchasing small discs made to pop under the feet or bottom of your item that will make gliding easy. Working with a moving partner, you can tip up your heavy item, place the slider under the bottom, place the item back on top of the slider, and then slide the item across the floor to reduce the amount of time you have to carry it.
- Lift slings and shoulder dollies: These are tools that use different types of straps to put around or underneath an item to make it easier to lift — with the help of another person. Lift slings are a rope or strap with two handles, one on each end of the sling. You and your moving partner put the sling underneath an item, like the long edge of a wobbly mattress. Then each of you take one handle on either side of the strap and lift. Shoulder dollies have a front harness that you and your moving partner each put on over your shoulders. A strap then connects the two shoulder harnesses and can be put underneath a heavy item so that it makes it easier for you and your partner to lift. These can often be adjusted to the size of the item you intend to move.
- Dollies, carts, and hand trucks: There are a few types of wheeled moving tools available that can often be rented for the duration of your move. Dollies and carts are four-wheeled square platforms (carts typically have a handle to push or pull the item easily) and hand trucks are a two-wheeled square platform with a handle that, once the item is loaded onto the hand truck, you tip the hand truck up on the wheels to move. Both can be very useful in moving heavy items safely to distribute weight evenly and take the work out of lifting hefty stuff. Before wheeling anything away though, it’s wise to strap your stuff in so it doesn’t shift or fall off the while you’re in motion.
Step 3: Remove any smaller parts
If you can, removing any parts from larger items, without damaging or breaking them, will reduce the total weight to be carried at one time. In this vein, it’s a good rule of thumb to take out any drawers and remove items from them before moving wardrobes and dressers. Removing parts may also make the task of moving a heavy object easier as you navigate obstacles like doorways and stairwells. For instance, removing the feet of your couch may allow you to successfully wedge it through a doorway — sometimes even a few inches can make a difference.
Step 4: Make use of the safest techniques
Moving heavy items without the help of professionals can run the risk of injury, so it is vital to use proper techniques while moving them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while moving heavy items:
- Before you lift, anticipate your route of movement and remove any barriers or blockages from your way.
- When lifting anything heavy, it’s good to use your legs to lift, not your back. Make sure to bend at your knees as you lift and not at the waist.
- Carry the items close to your body to rely more on your arms to do the work and to maintain your balance.
- Avoid twisting your body during the lift and while moving items.
Step 5: Unloading
The final step to a successful move of the heavy item is the unloading. When you reach your final destination, whether it’s from a truck or just in a different room of your home, you’ll want to ensure that the unloading of these heavy items is done properly. It’s wise to plan how you would unload the items (like arranging for additional help, equipment for unloading, deciding the placement for the items at a new home, etc.)
Not ready to take these steps on your own?
It’s okay! Moving heavy items is a daunting task for anyone who may not be experienced doing it. Piece of Cake Moving & Storage aims to lift the burden of a stressful move; we offer a variety of services to meet your needs including packing, unpacking, as well as disassembly and reassembly of your items. We can even handle moving just one or a few heavy items, even if you’re not moving all of your stuff!
Our team is well-trained, highly experienced, and have the right tools to safely move heavy items — and all your other belongings — to your new location.
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