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Tips for Moving Heavy Items on the Stairs

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Have you ever tried to lug a couch or refrigerator up or down a flight of stairs? It's not that easy--and the slightest misstep could result in a painful injury or serious damage to your furniture or appliance. If you are planning an upcoming move, find out how to safely and effectively move your heaviest items up and down your home's stairs without mishap.

Measure first

Before lifting your couch and attempting to carry it down a narrow flight of stairs, it’s a good idea to ensure it will fit. Measure your piece of furniture or appliance as well as the stairway before you begin. Make sure to measure the height and width of the entryway as well as the bottom of the stairs in case your ceiling swoops down or the staircase becomes tighter as you descend. This way you can better strategize how to effectively carry the item, and plan for any twists or turns you may need to make on the way up or down.

Disassemble and wrap your furniture

It’s important to properly wrap your items to protect from scratches, dents, or other damage while hauling them up and down the stairs. Moving blankets, stretch wrap, and bubble wrap are all effective materials to shield your furniture from damage, dirt, and debris during a move. Remember to avoid placing plastic bubble wrap or stretch wrap directly on the surface of leather or wood—the plastic can melt or trap condensation and ruin the delicate surface. Always use a furniture blanket or paper pad as a barrier when using stretch or bubble wrap.

If your furniture can be taken apart, it will make it easier and less cumbersome to carry. Entertainment centers, bookshelves, bedroom sets and tables can often be disassembled and the pieces wrapped separately. Remove drawers from dressers and shelves from cabinets to make the piece lighter.

Clear your path

Make sure the stairway and the immediate area surrounding the top and bottom of the stairs is clear and free from any obstacles. Before beginning, check for any safety hazards so you can carefully avoid accidents while hauling your items—examples include loose or raised boards, protruding nails, or shaky bannisters.

Get help

You should never attempt to move heavy or bulky items on your own—especially on a staircase. Even if you think you can handle the weight, maneuvering a cumbersome piece of furniture or heavy appliance is more difficult on the stairs and can obstruct your view. Get a few strong helpers—one to help you balance the weight of the item and another to direct your footing and offer instruction from the floor.

Use moving straps or hand trucks

Helpful moving tools can be used to make moving heavy items on the stairs a little easier and with less strain on your back. Moving straps lower the center of gravity for the item, redistribute the weight and make it easier to lift. Place the straps underneath the furniture item or appliance, and then over your and your partner's shoulders. Since you do not have to bend, it causes your body less stress and helps you move heavy items easily.
Hand trucks are vertical, two-wheeled dollies used to transport tall-standing appliances or large furniture items like sofas. Slide the platform underneath the item, tip the truck towards you to lift, and wheel it carefully in the appropriate direction. Hand trucks must be maneuvered with extreme caution on stairs with assistance to direct you—especially if the item obstructs your view.

Make a ramp

Some pieces may be more easily moved down the stairs with a makeshift ramp 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.

Move slowly and carefully

Stairs pose extra difficultly and possible danger compared to moving heavy items on a level surface. The best way to stay safe when carrying anything on a staircase is to move very slowly and cautiously. Ascend or descend one step at a time, making sure to have both feet firmly planted on a stair before moving to the next one. If your view is obstructed, be sure to have a helper with a clear view of your path direct your footing.

Hire professional movers

If you have a significant amount of cumbersome furniture items and appliances and a lot of steep stairs to haul them up and down, you may want to considering hiring movers. Give your back a rest by leaving this difficult task up to trained professionals--movers know the proper methods for lugging your bulkiest belongings while limiting the possibility of damage and injury. Start comparing quotes from movers near you today with out fast and easy quote form.

  Posted by Nicole La Capria on July 31, 2014

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