The most difficult thing about moving is the fact that you need to move everything you own. Unfortunately, not everything is so easily boxed up or lifted. Furniture presents a whole slew of problems when it comes time to relocate it. People frequently aren’t sure of the best way to approach furniture moving and, as a result, put themselves and their furniture at risk.
As a disclaimer before we get into talking about the right approach to moving furniture, it must be said that the best thing you can do is hire professionals. Period. The many challenges that come with moving furniture are best left to those who have experience doing this, and who also have the skills and equipment to facilitate moving large, heavy and bulky objects.
Here’s a look at some of the best ways to approach furniture relocation during your upcoming move. These are the same techniques and tips the pros will rely on.
Preparing furniture for relocation
As with most things, preparation is key when moving furniture. If you take the time to prep furniture before moving it, you’ll find that the whole process goes a lot smoother than you think it will. Here are a few tips for furniture preparation before a move:
- Wrap furniture—especially if it has moving parts. Most people think they need to remove drawers or take panels off of furniture. Not so! If you secure these items by plastic-wrapping the entire piece of furniture, there won’t be any reason to break these pieces down into their simplest parts.
- Pad corners if there are sharp edges, to prevent bumping and knocking against walls and other surroundings. Covering sharp corners with padding can be the difference between putting a hole in drywall or injuring someone! Make sure to plastic wrap over these corners as well, to keep them in place.
- Cover furniture that might be delicate or prone to damage. This is often as simple as throwing a furniture cover over a dresser or wrapping a blanket around a piece that might have delicate features. Again, plastic wrap around the entire thing to keep any coverings in place during the move.
- Remove any and all glass pieces if possible, to relocate them separately. If you can’t take the glass out of a piece of furniture, pay careful attention to how this piece is protected and handled during the move.
- For bulky and oblong pieces of furniture—like sectional couches or bedframes—break them down into several pieces to make moving much easier. It’s worth the time to take the chaise off of a couch or to take the headboard off of a bed if you increase the maneuverability of these pieces by a significant margin.
Handling furniture during the move
Most furniture moving hazards come to light during the actual handling of these pieces. As you try to get them up or down stairs, or into or out of a truck, you put yourself and those around you at risk if you’re not handling them accordingly. Here are some safety tips to keep in-mind:
- First, make sure you’re never trying to handle furniture alone. Even if you’re big and strong and confident enough to lift a coffee table, that doesn’t mean you should. Always lift with a partner and coordinate your efforts. This way, if you lose your grip or footing, the entire thing won’t come crashing down on you.
- Communicate verbally when moving furniture. The person walking backward should set the pace, while the person walking forward and bringing up the rear should provide most of the support and the vision for the path ahead. Call out things like “step” or “door” to help provide context, and make sure you’re clearly communicating with instructions like “rotate left” or “tilt your end up slightly.”
- Before you even start moving, walk the path from where you’re starting to where you’re going. This will help you anticipate any steps, turns or inclines, and inform you about any tough areas before you get to them. Work out a plan for how to maneuver tight turns and narrow spaces, and bring a measuring tape to make sure everything fits. The last thing you want is to get stuck trying to navigate furniture that physically can’t fit through the route you’re taking it!
- Identify areas where you can set things down and take a breather. This is especially important if you’re going up and down flights of stairs. Pick a landing or two where you can rest and regroup for a second. Don’t try to be Hercules and take everything in one go—you’ll only strain your body and put yourself and others at risk.
- Have a person walking with you who can either jump in if you need help or who can open doors and navigate instructions that you might not be able to see. A spotter can also make sure unsuspecting people don’t walk into your path.
Personal safety while moving furniture
Unfortunately, you risk the most harm to yourself if you’re moving furniture incorrectly. The last thing you want is to throw out your back or pull something mid-move. It’ll throw off your entire moving experience and put you behind schedule—not to mention affect your health! Here are a few furniture moving tips to keep you safe:
- Wear a back brace or a lifting belt if you’re moving heavy items. This will help brace the most susceptible parts of your lower back and educe the strain of lifting. If you don’t own a lifting belt, you can buy one online for a small sum. It may not be very flattering to wear, but it’s better than pulling your back!
- Lift at the knees. You’ve heard this too many times before and for good reason. Lifting with your knees puts the stress and strain of heavy lifting on your legs and lowers your center of gravity. If you lift with your back, it’s a recipe for pulled muscles and a strained back.
- Wear gloves and look for hand-holds before you lift furniture. It’s very easy to stress your hands or hurt them if you’re constantly readjusting your grip. This also presents dangers for lifting and moving. If you don’t have a sturdy grip, you could accidentally drop the item you’re carrying.
Leave it to the professionals
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the single best thing you can do when it comes to furniture moving is leave it to the professionals. The pros will have the right know-how and equipment to move your furniture without hazards or issues, and can do it faster and smoother than you can. It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are—it matters how much finesse you have!
From couches and tables to dressers and even pool tables, big, bulky, awkwardly-shaped furniture pieces are the most difficult items in your home to move. Leave them to someone who will take the right approach, preparation and precautions to move them with the care and diligence they deserve.