Moving Guide - Tips and Advice on Packing and Moving Heavy Items

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Tips for Moving Heavy Items

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The pressure and anxiety of planning and executing a move can be excruciating. One of the most arduous tasks during a move is the packing, maneuvering and transport of our most cumbersome items. Our furniture, appliances, and electronics are not only some of our most valuable possessions, but also our heaviest. The following are some tips on how to easily and safely move your bulky belongings.

The basics

Get help: The aid of professional movers is of course an effective way to lighten the load of moving. However, if this is not an option for you, friends are a wonderful asset when you are planning a move. Calling a few pals over to lend a hand makes moving a less stressful experience and is especially helpful when moving heavy objects and furniture. You can prevent unnecessary injury or accidents by enlisting the assistance of others when moving heavy items.

Plan the route: Make sure the path you will be moving the item is clear and free of obstacles. It is also helpful to measure the item as well as any doorways, hallways, or tight spaces it will have to pass through to ensure that it will fit.

Lift carefully: When lifting heavy items, test the weight of the object to be moved by carefully lifting one corner off of the ground. Do not try to move something too heavy by yourself--get help from a friend or two. When lifting an item or placing it down, bend at the knees, not the waist, and keep your back straight and upright. Keep the item close to your body while carrying it.

Push, don't pull: When possible, it is easier to push a large item rather than pull it. This way, you are more aware of the path you are moving the item and have more control. To push a large item, lean forward and use the strength in your legs to start moving.

Moving furniture

Make it light: Remove any drawers, shelves or other contents before attempting to move furniture. This will make the piece lighter and much easier to lift. It will also prevent loose items from rattling around and damaging the furniture during the move. If a cabinet or bookcase is easy to reassemble, you may want to take it apart and move it piece by piece. If so, be sure to keep track of the nuts and bolts and store them in a secure place.

Use furniture pads: Furniture pads can be rented from most moving truck rental companies and are essential to protect your furniture from scratches and damage while it is in transit. Furniture pads come in two varieties--paper and fabric. While fabric will offer more protection, paper is cheaper and helpful for smaller appliances like a coffee-maker or microwave.

Use sliders: Sliders can make the heaviest piece of furniture glide across the floor effortlessly. To use sliders, simply tilt the piece of furniture and place a pad under the raised corner. Do the same for each of the remaining three corners and you can then push the piece through the room with ease.

Use blankets and newspapers: Quilts, fabric, old newspapers or sheets of plastic or cardboard can also used if you are pushing a piece through the room. It will facilitate movement, as well as protect the floor and the furniture from abrasion.

Moving appliances

Prepare the appliance: Make sure all shelves, racks, and contents are removed from the appliance. Unplug refrigerators and freezers 24 hours in advance to defrost. Turn off any gas connection and disconnect and drain the water lines from washing machines and ice-makers on refrigerators. Tape the electrical cord to the back of the unit to keep it out of the way. Always read the manual for any special instructions on moving the appliance.

Use a dolly: Refrigerators cannot be laid down or tipped on their side because the oil from the compressor can flood the cooling lines. To prevent a ruined fridge, a dolly can assist you in keeping the heavy appliance upright during a move. You simply slide the dolly beneath one side of the appliance and secure it using moving straps. Lastly, set your foot on the dolly and tilt it back. It is helpful to have friends aid in you in wheeling the appliance away. When moving it downstairs, it is best to go bottom first, slowly moving the dolly downwards one step at a time. Have a helper at the other end of the dolly to help support the weight.

Moving heavy items on stairs

Analyze the surroundings: Be aware of the number of stairs you will need to climb or descend. Make sure to take note of any uneven steps or loose boards that could cause an accident, always remembering to be cautious and move slowly. Analyze the width of the stairway, the placement of corners, and the height of the ceiling and railings to determine how the furniture will need to be moved, and if it should be lifted and carried or pushed.

Build a ramp: A makeshift ramp can be easily fashioned out of two boards. While slowly sliding the item down the boards, you can carefully back down in between them. Have a friend help you by supporting the item from the other side and directing your footing. Blankets can also be used to slide heavy items down short flights of stairs.

Communicate: Have a friend stand at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom to direct you. Make sure they have a clear view of your path so they can give instruction on the best way to maneuver the piece.

Keep the path clear: Once you have moved your piece up or down the stairs, make sure it is in a safe spot out of the way. This will ensure that other movers don't trip over it.

How to pack heavy items

Use small boxes: Packing heavy objects in the smallest possible packaging will eliminate extra weight and keep the object restricted. This way it will remain stationary during the move and will be less susceptible to damage. When packing books, place them in boxes vertically.

Be sure to make it secure: Tape both the top and bottom of the box securely. This will prevent a heavy item from falling through the bottom of a box and breaking when lifted.

Be proportioned: Try to balance the number of heavy items in a box with light items. If you pack too many heavy objects in one box, it will make the box unnecessarily difficult to lift and carry.

Packing electronics: The best way to transport a television or a DVD player is in its original packaging. However, if that's not an option, another sturdy cardboard box will work. To protect the fragile piece of technology, be sure to wrap it securely in newspaper or bubble-wrap, or fill the box with Styrofoam packing peanuts.

Always label: Be sure to label these boxes "Heavy" or "Fragile" so the movers know to exercise special care when transporting the items. An upright arrow can also help instruct the mover of what position the box should be in when carrying it or loading it onto the truck.

Photo by: Ambro (

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on February 18, 2013 - Moving Expert
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1 Comment

Olivia Grey | Commented on September 2, 2013 at 05 : 46 AM
I really found these tips very helpful, i especially liked your tip about moving heavy items and packing electronic items. Thanks for the information .



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