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How to Load or Unload a Moving Truck

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If you've decided to rent a moving truck and tackle your move by yourself, you're going to be faced with the task of loading and unloading the truck on moving day. As with anything else during the moving process, it's best to have as much help as you can.

There is a certain strategy to placing your items on the truck to ensure their maximum stability and safety while in transit. Also, there are different methods for loading specific items, depending on their size and fragility.  If you go into the loading and unloading process not knowing what items to load first and where they should be placed, you'll spend a lot of precious time removing, replacing and rearranging things to make them fit. Loading the truck correctly will save you a lot of time and headaches.

Loading and unloading safety

Before you begin, you should know the proper safety techniques for loading moving boxes and heavy furniture and appliances onto the moving truck. It involves a lot of heavy lifting, and even with help from a few friends or family members, you can become injured if you ignore the safety precautions.

  • Most moving injuries occur from people trying to lift more weight than they can carry or support. When lifting and moving heavy boxes, it's important that you only take what your body can handle--don't overdo it to expedite the process. You'll only hamper the entire move and put your personal health at risk-- which is much more important than finishing the move a few hours earlier.
  • Lifting items that are too heavy can cause injury to your back or arms, so make sure that you know the correct way to lift heavy objects: with your legs. Never bend at the waist--always bend your knees and drop into a crouching position to lift a heavy item. This way, the full weight of the item is supported by your legs and not your back when you lift it up. Since your legs are much stronger than your lower back, you'll avoid injury using this method.
  • Always wear appropriate attire. Wearing the right kind of shoes is as important as preparing in advance and having the proper moving equipment. If you're going to be carrying heavy furniture and boxes, you want to wear good, comfortable shoes that will also serve as protection for your feet. Have you ever dropped a TV on your foot while wearing sandals? You don't want to. Also, try to avoid loose, baggy clothing that can get caught on things, trip you up, or cause other injuries. 
  • Don't over-pack your boxes. When packing, it can be easy to stuff too many things into each box because you're in a rush or you simply want to limit the amount of boxes you'll have to move. However, even if you cut down on the number of boxes in your shipment, it won't make your life any easier if your boxes are too heavy to carry. Make sure that you evenly distribute the weight of your items when packing the boxes.
  • Don't carry more than you can handle. For your biggest pieces of furniture, make sure you have enough people there to carry it. Large sofas and appliances should have at least two people helping to carry the item and an additional person directing to ensure they avoid obstacles and get the items safely out of the house and onto the truck.

What you should load first

Knowing the proper order of loading your belongings onto the moving truck can make your life a lot easier. It allows you to load the truck quickly and efficiently, utilizing every square inch of space and minimizing any rearranging of items to make things fit.

First, you should load all of your large appliances onto the truck:
  • Refrigerators
  • Televisions
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Ovens
  • Dishwashers
These are likely to be your largest items, so they should be loaded first, towards the far wall of the truck closest to the cab. Since they are typically your heaviest items requiring the most outside help from friends and family members, you should tackle them first. Make sure that you have the proper equipment to safely move these items, such as furniture and appliance dollies, hand carts, moving blankets and moving straps.

After your appliances, you should next load any other large items you have that may not be as heavy or as difficult to maneuver:
  • Mattresses
  • Box springs
  • Head boards
  • Sofas
These should be placed in front of the large appliances and against the sides of the truck as well, to provide some added stability for the items during the move so they will not shift and cause any damage.

After that, you can load your smaller pieces of furniture:
  • Dressers
  • Bureaus
  • Bookcases
  • Cabinets
  • Desks
  • Tables
  • Chairs
Finally, you can fill up the rest of the space in the truck with your remaining moving boxes, being careful not to stack the boxes too high or to place delicate items stacked underneath heavier boxes. Always place the larger, heavier boxes on the bottom and work your way towards the top with lighter, smaller ones. While placing the boxes onto the truck, try to distribute weight equally both towards the back and the front of the truck.

  Posted by Robert Moreschi on April 9, 2013

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