Don’t be a superhero, get help. Preferably from the professionals

What is the easiest way to move large and heavy furniture? Get someone else to do it.

Well, you did want to know the easiest way to move heavy furniture, didn’t you?

And right now you are thinking, yes, of course, that is the easy option, but reputable removal companies cost money.

Correct, yes they do, but how much money will you lose by being off work with an injured back, or how much will it cost to repair the gouges down the stairs?

So why not get a free home moving cost estimate by clicking here? You may be pleasantly surprised by just how cost-effective a reliable removal company can be.

However, if you searched “how to move large and heavy furniture by yourself?”, and I am not sure why you would, considering the sheer physical effort required and the stress that moving large and bulky furniture can cause, then we are here to help (with advice, not with the physical move obviously, been there, done that, not going to do it again!)

Assuming you do not have any pre-existing medical conditions that immediately exclude the option of moving cumbersome furniture yourself, there are several ways to safely move heavy pieces of furniture when moving home.

Just follow our easy reference guide on how to move really heavy furniture below.

You may also like to read: Moving Home Yourself vs Hiring a Removal Company. Every home moving option has its pros and cons. Here we look at whether moving home yourself or hiring a removal company is the best solution for your particular home moving scenario.

How to Lift and Move Heavy Furniture

Moving boxes up and down stairs is one thing. Moving heavy furniture is quite another
  1. Plan your route.
  2. Measure the furniture and ensure it will go through the available space on your route.
  3. Dismantle as much of the furniture as you can.
  4. Remove drawers and shelves.
  5. Work smart, not hard – Slide rather than carry or drag heavy furniture.
  6. Use load-carrying equipment rather than brute strength.
  7. Move tall furniture using the high and low method.
  8. Hook chairs around corners to get them through doorways.
  9. Stand couches upright and use the hook method through doorways.
  10. Many hands make light work – press gang your friends to help.

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Safety First – How to Use Proper Lifting Techniques

Wrist straps are a useful lifting aid to help prevent moving day injuries

This is the advice given by the NHS and HSE on how to lift heavy furniture.

  • Plan your route. Clear any obstructions so that your route is safe to walk and maneuver the piece of furniture through.
  • Adopt a stable position. The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance. To maintain stability, be prepared to move your feet during the lift. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.
  • Get a secure and comfortable hold. Where possible, the load should be held as close as possible to the body.
  • Begin with a good posture. At the start of the lift, slightly bending the back, hips, and knees is better than stooping or squatting.
  • Don’t flex the back any further while lifting. This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before you start to raise the load.
  • Keep the load close to the waist. Keep the load close to your body for as long as possible whilst lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to your body.
  • Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially when the back is bent. Shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as the hips. Turn by moving your feet rather than twisting and lifting at the same time.
  • Keep your head. Look ahead, not down at the load.
  • Move smoothly. The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase the risk of injury.
  • Don’t lift or handle more than you can easily manage. Please do not try to prove how strong you are, if in any doubt about moving a piece of furniture, then seek help.

You may also like to read: How to Move Home Safely: 14 Things You Must Know. Safety is a priority on moving day, so here we look at 14 things that pose hazards and how you can safely manage those risks.

How to Measure Furniture

A tape measure is an essential piece of kit when planning how to move heavy pieces of furniture

There is no point in trying to move your heavy furniture if it will not fit through the doorways or down the hallway. So here is a quick tutorial on how to measure doorways and furniture.

  • To get the dimensions of your doorways, measure from top to bottom (the height of the doorway).
  • Measure from left to right to get the width. Remember to take your measurements from the inside of the doorframe.
  • The same method can be used to measure hallways.
  • Remember to take into consideration the turning angle needed to get into the doorway if from a narrow hallway.

You may also like to read: How to Create a Simple Floor Plan. A good floor plan will help you determine if your furniture will fit in the available space in your new home and even if it will be able to be moved into it. It is a very common problem that people can get furniture out of their old home but not into their new home. Don’t be another victim of this moving day mistake.

How to Measure a Sofa

  • Measure the length of the sofa.
  • Measure the diagonal width at the highest point (the lowest point of the frame at the rear of the settee and the highest point of the armrest at the front).

You may also like to read: What is the Best Way to Move a Sofa? This is an in-depth guide to packing and safely moving your sofa to your new home.

How to Measure a Cabinet or Wardrobe

  • Measure the diagonal width of the unit from the top corner to the opposing bottom corner.
  • Measure the depth of the unit from front to back.

The furniture width and diagonal depth must be less than the corresponding doorway dimensions to fit through.

Don’t forget to take into consideration light fittings, stair banisters, ceiling fans, and any other obstacles on your route to the removal van.

By removing the actual doors of your home you may increase the available width by a few centimeters, which may be all you need to get your furniture out.

You may also like to read: My Furniture Won’t Fit Through the Door – Now What? In this guide, we look at how to prevent this common moving day problem and how to get out of the situation if it happens to you.

Tricks for Moving Heavy Furniture

If possible, dismantle as much of the furniture as possible to make it lighter and therefore easier to move

Dismantle your Furniture

Remove as much of the structure from your furniture as you can including shelves, legs, and drawers. This will save weight and make the item of furniture easier to handle.

How to move heavy furniture on a carpet

Slide rather than drag, which is less of a strain on your back.

On carpet, try slipping a length of cardboard under the legs of the furniture being moved.

The smooth cardboard will help the furniture glide over the carpet. Plastic lids also work well for sliding on carpets.

How to move heavy furniture on hardwood or tiles

To move heavy furniture easily on wood or tiled floors, and to prevent any scratches or scrapes, use old towels or blankets to slide the furniture on.

Rock the piece of furniture backward or forward to insert the piece of material or cardboard under the feet of the furniture.

Alternatively, you can buy manufactured furniture sliders that come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they perform exactly the same as the suggestions above.

You may also like to read: What is the Most Important Thing to Do When Moving Home? Read this cautionary tale to ensure that the people and possessions you hold dear are kept safe on moving day.

The High and Low Furniture Moving Method

The high and low lifting method is particularly useful for moving large and heavy pieces of furniture.

You will need a helper to use this method.

With one person in front and one behind the object, tilt the piece of furniture backward. The person behind takes the upper part, whilst the other person at the front lifts the furniture from the bottom.

Keep this angle whilst you move the object, but communicate with each other whenever you need to rest.

Equipment to Help You Move Heavy Pieces of Furniture

A Flatbed Dolly makes moving heavy pieces of furniture so much easier

Sack Barrow – There are many variations of the traditional sack barrow including ones that can be used to take items up and down stairs. Also known as a dolly or hand truck. It is even possible to hire a powered hand truck for taking items upstairs.

Flatbed Dolly – A flat platform trolley on four wheels. For safety, ensure a helper is with you to keep the load steady whilst it is being moved.

Moving Straps – Adjustable straps or belts that can be hooked around or under furniture to take the strain away from your back.

Sliders – These fit under the legs of your furniture to assist in gliding the furniture over various floor surfaces. Using sliders to move heavy furniture is one of the most efficient moving methods and also can be left in situ after the move for when you want to clean beneath, or behind, heavy furniture in the future.

Each of these items may be available for hire from local removal companies or tool hire shops.

Enlist some Helpers

Moving large, heavy, or awkward pieces of furniture is not for the faint-hearted and you should always try to have help whenever moving heavy furniture.  

It is also useful to have somebody to guide you whilst moving heavy furniture to prevent any tripping accidents, or damage to property, or fixtures, that you cannot see from your carrying position.

You may also like to read: Essential Tools for Moving Day. Here is our comprehensive list of tools to have handy on moving day. You will especially need these tools if you have chosen to dismantle and reassemble your furniture yourself.

How to Move Heavy Furniture Down Stairs

Shoulder Straps take the strain off of your back and make moving heavy and large pieces of furniture so much easier

You will need a sack barrow (hand truck), straps, and a friend to move large and heavy furniture down the stairs.

Ensure the route down the stairs is clear and that are no hazards that may trip you up.

Make the item of furniture as light as possible by removing shelves, doors, and drawers.

Lift the object onto the sack barrow and secure it in place with straps or rope. Have a friend to help if possible.

Stand behind the hand truck and hold its handles. Wheel the item to the top of the stairs. If you have a helper, send him down a few steps ahead of you.

Tilt the hand truck backward so your body takes most of the weight of the furniture. Slowly roll the hand truck down the first step.

If you have a helper, ask him to brace the item from below and help guide it downward.

Roll the hand truck down the stairs one step at a time. Take it slowly, and have your helper keep the item centered on the hand truck.

Alternatively, pack the piece of furniture well with padding such as old blankets. Then wrap the entire thing in cardboard which will act as a slider to take it down the stairs.

Take extreme care and ensure that you have a helper to guide the furniture down the stairs with you.

How to Move Heavy Furniture Up Stairs

Moving furniture up or down the stairs is no easy task

Please use extreme caution when moving large and heavy furniture upstairs, this is particularly hazardous, and you will need assistance.

Ensure your path up the stairs is clear with no hazards that may cause you to trip over.

Building a ramp out of plywood, for example, will make the moving process easier. You can wrap the item as you did to get it down the stairs so that it slides easily up the ramp.

Gently lower the furniture onto the ramp with the longest part resting on the ramp.

Now, with a helper, push the item up the ramp from the bottom corners, not from the top of the item, or it will slide off the ramp.

It is also useful to have someone at the top of the stairs to guide you if possible.

You may even attach a strap or rope around the item, ensuring that it does not impede the slide of the item, and the person at the top of the stairs can assist by pulling the item upwards.

Communicate constantly with your helpers so that each push or stop is made in unison.

You can also use the sack barrow to move heavy furniture upstairs. Strap the item to the hand truck and slowly pull the item up the stairs. Have someone in front of the hand truck to push and support the furniture up each step.

How to Move a Heavy Mattress

Don’t use the handles on a mattress to move it, you will likely rip it as they are not intended for carrying purposes.

Cover the mattress before attempting to move it to prevent dirt from damaging it.

If you have a mattress that you can fold in half, then just use ratchet straps to secure it in half.

It can then be slid down the stairs or strapped on your hand trolley using the method that you used for taking heavy pieces of furniture down the stairs.

You can also use rope or straps to move the mattress by creating lifting handles.

At each end of the mattress, and in the centre if needed, slip a strap under the edge, and a person on each side of the mattress takes hold of the strap.

You can then lift it easily without having to strain your back. This method works with a minimum of four people, six if you have a large mattress.

You may also like to read: How to Move a Mattress by Yourself: A Step-By-Step Guide. In this guide, we look at the whole subject of moving a mattress by yourself in far more detail.

How to Move Heavy Furniture Without Lifting

Sometimes there is just no choice but to use a furniture hoist

Use rollers to move extremely heavy furniture. If you have some old fence stakes or solid pipes these are great.

Tilt the item of furniture backward and slide the fence posts under the bottom until the item rests on the rollers.

Move the item along the rollers, as the last roller is exposed beneath the object, move it to the front of the line of rollers. Just keep repeating this method.

Use straps to help move heavy furniture in the same way that you learned how to move a mattress.

Whilst you are still lifting, there is far less strain on your back and less bending involved than a normal lifting procedure.

Don’t forget to consider using the patio doors as the ingress to your home if the front door is too small to allow safe passage of your large and heavy furniture.

In extreme cases, you could also look at removing window frames.

Final Word of Warning

Some home moving tasks are best left to the professionals

All through this guide we have stressed how important safety is when moving large or heavy pieces of furniture.

I will stress this again, please do not try to be a hero, moving heavy and large furniture is not easy.

If in any doubt please seek help from friends, or better still leave it to the professionals.

Is it really worth the risk of injury to yourself, and damage to your furniture or property, just to save a few pounds?

There is a knack for moving awkward and heavy furniture, and a professional removal company will have the skills and equipment to move anything you may need moving, effortlessly and risk-free.

You may also like to read: How to Pick a Good Removal Company. Choosing the right removal company to help you move home is critical to a safe and stress-free moving day. In this guide, we show you how to pick the best removal company for your home moving needs.

And finally, of course, there is always the option of selling your heavy pieces of furniture to the people moving into your home, which will save the cost, stress, and inconvenience of moving it.

Good luck and stay safe.

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