How to Move Heavy Furniture by Yourself

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Having to move furniture is a necessary chore that everyone will have to go through at one point or another. Whether it’s moving furniture within your own home or being called upon to help a friend move his or her furniture as they migrate to a new apartment, no one likes this back-breaking task, especially if you get stuck moving heavy furniture alone.

Whether you want to avoid the cost of professional movers, can’t scramble your friends together, or just have to move bulky furniture on short notice, there are some strategies that can help you complete the task on your own.

WARNING: If you have any kind of pre-existing health issues, particularly muscular-skeletal system issues, these tips may not be for you. While these tips can alleviate some of the stresses heavy lifting places on the body, none of these options will eliminate the amount of effort needed to move such heavy items, so proceed with caution.

Step 1 - Assess Your Furniture

First of all, start by assessing the shape, weight, and size of the furniture. If you need to move the piece through a door, narrow hallway, or up a flight of stairs, take measurements and assess what the best way to carry and position the furniture will be so that it passes through without hitting walls or doorways.

Step 2 - Remove the Attached Parts

person lifting one end of a white couch

If you’re doing the heavy lifting all by yourself, breaking down each piece of furniture to reduce the weight is going to be a huge load off, literally. For couches or chairs, remove any loose pieces like cushions or pillows and make sure that any chair that can be collapsed or folded is positioned so that it takes up less space and isn't unwieldy.

When moving dressers or bookshelves with drawers or shelves, empty the contents since all of that is just more weight. If possible, go one step further and just remove the drawers and shelves from their larger units. At the very least, make sure that they are not going to open or shift while you carry the item(s) for the sake of safety and convenience. If you’re dealing with drawers and shelves that are both non-removable and don’t have any locks or latches to secure them shut, tape them shut or tie them shut. Remove any other parts that are easily dismantled or unsecured.

Step 3 - Consider Aids

Think about the surface over which you are moving the furniture, whether it is slippery, uneven, or sensitive to damage. Buying some sliders from the store can ease the work significantly. Lift each side of the furniture, one by one, and slide one of the sliders underneath. Push the furniture to the desired spot.

Another option is to use a trolley or a roller. Broom handles or curtain rods can be used as rollers. Lift each side of the furniture and push the rollers underneath. Push and slide, taking the free roller from behind and putting it in front. Repeat the process. When using a trolley, it is a good idea to position the trolley beside a wall and then push or pull the furniture forward to load it so that the trolley won’t roll away.

Step 4 - Use Care with Kitchen Appliances

several stainless steel appliances

Heavy kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens can be moved with less effort if you spread some dish-washing detergent on the floor to decrease the friction. Be careful not to slip! If you have to move a tall refrigerator, stand behind the appliance, lean it toward yourself, but only slightly, and move forward by pushing first the one side, and then the other. By alternately pushing from side to side as opposed to rushing the job, you reduce the risk that you will lose control and have the refrigerator fall, potentially onto you. Also, rely on a borrowed or rented appliance dolly, which is especially made for strapping appliances securely and aiding in the weight transfer of bulky appliances.

Step 5 - Transfer up Stairs

Carrying furniture up or down a flight of stairs can be tricky, especially if you're alone. Using two boards as ramps, you can push the item up or down by laying it sideways. Another useful idea is to put a piece of cardboard or an old rug or a sheet beneath the furniture that you wish to move and then just pull it. This trick can protect the floor surface, and at the same time, it is an easy and inexpensive way to move things. Also, position furniture for easy sliding. For example, put a couch on its back or a desk upside down.

Final Thoughts

By following these guidelines, you can save yourself a lot of money, and you can get the job done without having to be a professional weightlifter. However, don’t forget to lift with your feet first and keep your back straight in order to avoid any injuries.

If at any point you don’t feel confident or comfortable attempting any of these techniques, don’t. They do work, but only if you can execute them properly. The only thing worse than not being able to get a hulking appliance up a flight of stairs is getting a hulking appliance halfway up the stairs before your arms or accessories give out on you.