Tips When Moving Furniture

In the best of all possible worlds, everyone who needs furniture moved would be able to hire experts to do the heavy lifting. In the real world, timing, budgets and even the availability of friendly volunteers don't always work out. There are situations that might require or inspire you to move so suddenly, it's impossible to find help. Breakups and divorces, along with short notice on lease terminations can prompt fast moves that pose the risk of damaging home furnishings. And even if you have the resources to hire movers, you might feel tempted to rush things or cut corners. I strongly suggest you stop, take a deep breath, and do some research. Whether you plan to hire people to do the work for you, enlist friends and family, or do the whole thing yourself, your move will go more smoothly if you first learn some tips for moving furniture.

Moving furniture

Plan First

Before you lift a thing, plan the logistics. Measure the furniture and then measure the doors, halls, stairs or elevator that the item will pass through – and note whether there are any turns or other challenges along the route. Do this assessment in your current home and at the moving destination. You might even want to draw a map of both locations, scaled down to size based on the measurements you take. This can help you strategize how to move furnishings more efficiently.

Dissassemble as Much as Possible

If there's anything you can remove temporarily, do so before moving. Dissassemble to the fullest extent possible before you move and then reassemble once the item arrives its destination. Remove from dressers, bureaus, armoires and nightstands all drawers and move them separately. The same goes for pillows and cushions on chairs and couches; and in the case of sofa beds, take out the mattress, then tie a strap around the sofa so the bedframe doesn't pop open. Unscrew anything and everything you can: knobs, feet, mirrors, tops, doors and so on. Speaking of which, doorways gain an extra inch or more if you unscrew the hinges attaching the door – it's easy to reattach when you're done moving.

Get Something Under the Furniture

The smoothest furniture moves utilize wheeled platforms or dollies; you could make one using a wagon, or the wheels from beneath a potted plant or cart. If you can't obtain any of those, get commercial sliders to put under the feet of the furnishings. You can create your own using rags, a throw rug or blanket. Lift up the legs or corners one at a time to get them onto the slider, and stretch it underneath the entire piece. Then you'll be able to push the furniture without damaging the floor.

Walk or Push

Actually, I recommend you walk the furniture. By that I mean leaning it back onto its edge or legs and push the right side forward, then the left – it might require baby steps to do this, but eventually the item will move to your desired location. Hold on to the piece of furnishing by its heaviest or thickest part while you push. Or, if the piece is really heavy, you might be able to push it using both of your feet – but first, take your shoes off first – while you lie on your back. Only do this if you've got wheels under the item or there's a carpet securely affixed to the floor; shoving furniture across bare wood will scratch or tear up flooring.

How to Lift

Too often, people try to lift really heavy things and end up with back injuries. Don't let that be you! Use your legs when lifting, and not your back. Bend at the knees slightly and keep your back straight while you lift with your legs first. Where possible, avoid lifting and use mobile implements.

Take Breaks

If at any point a piece of furniture frustrates you, stop, take a break and rethink the best way to move the item. You might need to rotate or twist the thing to fit it through a tight space or close turn.

Challenge Ahead

Moving furniture is really difficult, so I hope you think it through carefully before attempting to do it on your own. At the very least, try to get people to help you. But if not, it's possible to do it yourself if you've got patience. Best of luck moving!

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