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The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving Heavy Furniture

Adele MacGregor

Written by

20th Jan 2022 (Last updated on 22nd Feb 2022) 10 minute read

When it comes to moving house, one of the biggest challenges is moving large or heavy items. These are often pieces of furniture, kitchen appliances or specialist items like musical instruments that need extra care and attention to move.

Moving these items can be daunting but with careful planning, expert tips and the right tools for the job, you can ensure your items reach their destination safely, avoiding both damage to the items and injury to yourself.

Compare My Move work with the very best moving specialists to bring you everything you need to know about planning and executing a successful house move. In this article, we look at the best way to transport heavy and awkward items, from the materials you need to when to call in the professionals.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Plan What Needs Moving
  2. Dismantling as Much as Possible
  3. Moving Furniture Up and Down Stairs
  4. How to Move Common Heavy Household Items
  5. Risks of Moving Heavy Furniture Yourself
  6. Using a Removal Company Instead
  7. How to Find a Local Removal Company Near Me

Plan What Needs Moving

Planning is a crucial part of any type of move, but it is especially important when heavy items are involved. Attempting to move awkward and heavy items without planning can result in damage to the item, the property and injury to yourself and others. Below we look at a few essential steps to take before you move a heavy item:

Where It’s Going to Go

Before you start moving an item, you will need to know where exactly you are moving it to. Having a clear plan of where the item is going, and a clear pathway to where it needs to be is crucial to avoid accidents.

Access

Ensuring there is access to remove items is crucial to moving heavy items and essential for minimising injury or damage to both the furniture and the property. By creating an easy access route, you have a clear path to manoeuver the item.

We recommend measuring the item you are moving, to ensure it fits through doorways and around bends. You may need to remove doors or even door frames if the items are particularly bulky.

You should also ensure there are no wet or slippery surfaces, in addition to removing any clutter so that there are no obstacles that could affect your route.

Covering and Packing

Whether you are moving house or packing for a storage unit, using the right methods and having the correct supplies is essential to protecting your belongings. Packing the items correctly is also crucial when moving them.

In the case of large and heavy furniture, protective covers, dust covers and specialist packing materials for fragile items are necessary to keep the item intact and ensure nobody is injured when moving the furniture. If you do not have dust sheets to hand, old bedsheets can serve the same purpose. Be aware if you are keeping items in a storage unit, avoid using plastic covers as these can trap moisture and cause mould and mildew.

If you have booked a removal company, they will have the correct packing supplies for these items and many also provide packing as an additional service.

For more information on packing for a house move see: How to Pack Boxes for Moving House

What You Will Need

Beyond the standard packing items you will need for moving house, you will need to acquire specialist equipment for moving heavier items of furniture. These are items that removal companies will have to hand, so hiring professional movers is always worth considering.

You can, however, purchase or rent these items if you want to move the items yourself. Below is a brief list of items you will need when moving large, awkward and heavy objects.

  • Furniture dollies
  • Moving straps (also called lifting or furniture straps)
  • Furniture sliders
  • Protective blankets and dust sheets

Keep in mind that if you are moving heavy items yourself, enlisting the help of friends or family members is essential. Moving heavy items on your own is dangerous and can lead to accidents, injury and damage.

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Dismantling as Much as Possible

Before attempting to move a bulky and heavy item, first see if it is something that can be dismantled or can be moved in parts. This will make moving the item easier, allowing you to reassemble it once you reach your home or storage unit. Many modern furniture items can be taken apart with relative ease, which is especially useful if you live in a small property or are moving items up and downstairs.

Some removal companies offer to dismantle and reassemble furniture as additional services to it is always worth discussing this with your chosen removal company prior to moving day.

Moving Furniture Up and Down Stairs

Stairs are very often the most hazardous part of moving, especially when the objects are particularly heavy or bulky. Not only will you require at least one other person to carry the item with you, but it is also highly recommended that you have someone to guide you up or down the stairs.

Large objects, in particular, can block your view of the stairs so take your time and listen to the advice of others helping you. Moving quickly, turning suddenly or taking your focus off your footing can be extremely dangerous.

As we have mentioned above, planning before moving heavy items is essential and moving items up and downstairs is the area where this is most important. You must ensure the path is clear, that there is no clutter or spills where you are moving and that the area is free from other people.

You must also allow for turns in the stairs and changes in stair size, particularly if it is an older property. It is recommended that you take a walk through the area, measuring the room you have if possible so that you are fully prepared when moving your items.

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How to Move Common Heavy Household Items

Below we look at some of the most common heavy household items and how best to move them:

Sofa and Armchairs

    Sofas especially can be awkward to move as they very often don’t come apart and need to be moved as they are. Ensure you have enough people to assist with this, including someone to guide you if you are moving up or downstairs, as a large sofa or armchair can often block your view.

    Do check if there are feet that can be removed, this can be the difference between getting it through a doorway or not.

    Don’t try to slide or push the sofa to move it, especially on your own, as this can lead to injury.

    Dressers

    Dressers, or a chest of drawers, come in various sizes which will determine how many people are required to move it. For a standard size, two people, one at each end, should suffice.

    Do remove the drawers or secure them before moving

    Don’t attempt to move the item on your own, regardless of size

    Beds

    Many modern beds can be dismantled do they can be moved with ease. The exception is usually with older, vintage or antique items which may require a professional.

    Do label parts of the bed to make reassembling easier

    Don’t try to move more than you carry at one time

    For more information see our article: How to Move a Bed

    Mattress

    Not only are these awkward and heavy to carry, but you will also want to be sure you don’t rip or snag the fabric or get the mattress dirty, especially if it is expensive or relatively new.

    Do wrap the mattress in a protective cover and enlist help - two people are required, one at each end, carrying the mattress upright.

    Don’t bend the mattress when packing and moving as this can damage the springs

    Wardrobe

    If your wardrobe cannot be dismantled, you will need at least one other person to assist you with moving it. Older, valuable or more heavy items should be moved by experienced professionals.

    Do dismantle if possible and secure the doors so they don’t open when you’re carrying it

    Don’t try to move it on your own, especially downstairs. Call experts if necessary

    Tables

    Before moving a table, check to see if the legs can be removed for ease of transport. If not, ensure there is a clear route and you have at least one other person helping you. If it is a particularly large table, you may need an additional three people, with two at each end of the table.

    Do enlist the help of other people, especially if the table is particularly large

    Don’t attempt to move the table without first checking it can be dismantled

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    Risks of Moving Heavy Furniture Yourself

    The last thing you want on your moving day is a trip to A&E. When moving items yourself, you must be aware of the risks involved to both you and anyone who is helping you. You should also be aware of the risks of accidental damage to the items you are moving and the properties you are moving them to and from.

    Reducing the Chance of Injury

    Moving heavy items without a removal company can be hazardous and it is essential you take all the necessary precautions to avoid injury. Lifting or carrying items incorrectly can lead to issues with your back and neck, such as a strain. Especially if you have preexisting conditions, this can be exacerbated and lead to accidents, many of which can be serious if due care is not taken.

    • Below we’ve included our top tips to avoid accidents and reduce the risk of injury:
    • When picking up items, bend your knees and use your legs rather than your back to lift.
    • When you’re carrying the items, don’t twist your body or turn sharply. Not only can this cause strain to your back and other parts of your body, but it also increases the risk of dropping the item, causing injury to yourself and others.
    • Carry the items close to your body if possible. This gives you more control and makes moving the items easier.
    • Move slowly - rushing to get things moved is almost guaranteed to lead to an accident. Move the items at a pace you are comfortable with and one which is safe for both you and others around you.
    • Especially for heavy items, having the correct equipment such as a dolly or cart will take the majority of the weight. Using these items correctly is also essential to avoid accidents so be sure to read instructions and follow precautions.
    • If you are not hiring professionals, ask friends and family, ensuring you have the help of at least one other adult. Moving items on your own can be dangerous.

    Using a Removal Company Instead

    As we’ve mentioned throughout the article, using a removal company is highly recommended when moving heavy items. Removal specialists are experts in their field and will know the best way to pack, manoeuvre and transport your awkward and large items of furniture.

    Using a removal company minimises the potential damage to the item, not to mention the damage you could do to yourself or others if the item is moved incorrectly or an accident occurs. All companies who are partners with Compare My Move also have insurances in place, so your items are covered in the unlikely event that something does go wrong on the day.

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    How to Find a Local Removal Company Near Me

    At Compare My Move, we work with verified and reliable removal companies who are equipped to deal with all kinds of moves. By using one of our partners, you can have your heavy items moved wherever they need to go. What’s more, all our removal partners are fully insured with Goods in Transit and Public Liability Insurances, ensuring your items are protected throughout your move.

    We can connect you with up to 6 local removal companies, saving you up to 70% off your moving costs along the way.

    Adele MacGregor

    Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.