Yes, moving large stuff can be hazardous to your health. With good planning, good tools, and good friends, however, moving a sofa, dresser, or refrigerator really isn’t that strenuous for a person in typical condition. Even if you’re older or have physical limitations, you can sidewalk-supervise others to do the actual work.
Your legs have stronger muscles than your back. When lifting, then, bend your legs and keep your back straight. You’ll find lifting not only easier but less painful.
A number of valuable tools are available to professional movers, most of which can also be rented or purchased by the do-it-yourself mover.
The appliance dolly is on top of the moving tool list. Not only is it handy for moving major appliances, you can also use it to move stacks of boxes and even sofas and other furniture.
A good appliance dolly is 60 inches high or taller. It has a cinch strap that can be wrapped around an appliance and cinched tight with a locking mechanism. The last thing you want as you move that refrigerator is to have the strap come loose halfway down the stairs!
An appliance dolly should be rated for a load of at least 500 pounds. More is better. If you can, select a dolly with a slider or stepper located between the two wheels. A slider is two small wheels with a rubber track around them. A stepper is three small wheels on a rotating shaft. The slider or stepper can help you make your trip down a set of stairs easier.
When talking about a dolly, a slider is two small wheels with a rubber track around them. A stepper is three small wheels on a rotating shaft.
Don’t use a smaller two-wheeled dolly (called a stock dolly) to move large appliances. It isn’t built for the job. Stock dollies are typically 36 to 60 inches tall, but have no cinch strap for holding the appliance in place.
Another useful moving tool is the four-wheel or piano dolly. This dolly is approximately 30X30 inches and about 6 inches high with wheels on each of the four corners. Be sure to rent one rated for a load of at least 500 pounds.
A piano dolly is useful for moving, yes, pianos. For uprights: one end is lifted, the dolly is placed under the center of the piano, and the lifted end is lowered. The piano can now be rolled away. For grand pianos, the piano is first placed on its side, and then the dolly is placed under that side. Grand pianos should be strapped to the dolly for secure movement.
As you can imagine, a piano dolly can also be useful for moving other big pieces such as cabinets. Wrap the item and the dolly with a cinched strap to keep the item from moving.
Other useful moving tools include a pry bar, a couple of four foot two-by-fours, and a blanket. You can use the pry bar to get under the edge of a large piece to help lift it for insertion of a dolly. You can use a 2” X 4” board as a fulcrum under the center of the pry bar or to hold the item off the floor once the pry bar has lifted it.
And the blanket? Yes, a thick, tightly woven blanket, mover’s quilt, or carpet scraps are excellent tools for moving couches, chairs, tables, and other objects that are more bulk than weight. Here’s how.
To move a couch across a room, for example, place half of the blanket under the two side legs. Then grab the other end of the blanket and carefully pull. Your success depends on the weight of the couch and the surface underneath it. If a the floor is a firm surface, place another blanket or some carpet samples (carpet-side down) under the other legs to reduce friction.
Your hands are your best moving tools. Here are some tips for smart carrying:
- Wear gloves. Gardening gloves with rubber dots on the fingers and palms provide adequate protection and a nonslip grip.
- Larger objects (chests, cabinets, refrigerators) should be tipped to keep the carriers from bumping knees on the furniture. Lowest end goes out the door first.
- If the edges of heavy objects are sharp (such as on a washer), use a towel or gloves to protect your hands.
- Always carry large objects by the bottom edge so your fingers don’t get crushed or bruised as you go through a tight doorway.