Moving boxes and furniture down flights of stairs is both dangerous and exhausting

Moving out of a flat comes with its own unique problems, add to the fact that you have no lift, and moving day is going to be exhausting, and probably stressful.

What could be even worse is having a lift, and relying on the convenience of that to facilitate an easy move, only to find it is out of order on moving day.

Or you could be moving out of a 3-storey townhouse with multiple flights of stairs.

Thankfully, there are a few tricks and tips to make moving out of a flat with no lift or out of a multi-level home easier.

Even if you have a lift it would be wise to plan your packing on the assumption that the lift will not be working.

If it is working on moving day, great, if not, then you have packed your things in the most convenient way to get them down the stairs.

Read on to discover packing and moving tips for moving out of a flat without a lift.

The Benefits of Hiring a Removal Company for a Flat Move

Removing doors and window frames, or having to use hoists is not uncommon when moving out of a flat with no lift.

Although many people may not have a large amount of stuff to move out of their flat, or they think they can rely on family and friends to help them move, nothing will make your move easier, quicker, and safer than hiring a professional removal team.

  • They will have the right equipment for moving furniture and appliances up and down stairs
  • They will be physically fit enough to carry out what will be an extremely tiring move
  • They will know exactly how to get your furniture through the narrow stairwells
  • Professional packers will know how to give your possessions the maximum protection
  • They will pack your moving boxes utilizing every inch of space
  • They will provide insurance against damage to not only your possessions but your old and new home.

It costs you nothing to get a quote for your move to see just how cost-effective it is to hire a professional removal company and takes just a couple of minutes.

When you consider how much time and stress you will save yourself then hiring a good removal team is worth every penny.

You may also like to read: The Pros and Cons of Every Home Moving Option. In this guide, we look at the multiple ways in which you can move home and the pros and cons of each moving option. It will help you decide the most efficient and cost-effective way to move your things to your new home.

Of course, some people will be fit and strong enough or have enough help on moving day to move their own possessions to their new home, if that is the case, read on to discover some hacks to make your move even easier.

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11 Packing Tips for Moving With No Elevator

You can hire tote boxes which will make packing so much quicker

The success of moving your things down multiple flights of stairs depends upon not only what you are moving, but how you have packed the moving boxes.

These tips will make it easier, safer, and cheaper to move home:

#1 Declutter

The fewer items you have to move to your new home the cheaper your moving costs will be and the quicker you will move home.

Start the decluttering process as soon as you know you are moving home. It is never too soon to start this process.

That includes not only all your possessions but your food stocks too.

Plan on running down your freezer, fridge, and pantry before moving day. Tins and jars soon add up in weight and it will probably be more expensive to pack and move them than restock when you get to your new home.

You may also like to read: How to Declutter Your Home for Moving. An essential step-by-step guide to getting rid of all the things that you no longer want or need before moving home. We also look at how to detach yourself emotionally from your possessions which is often the hardest part of decluttering.

If possible, move as few items of furniture as possible.

MDF-type furniture is notorious for being damaged during a move, and heavy and large pieces of furniture often cost more to dismantle, pack, and move than they do to replace them.

Use a floor plan to ensure that any furniture you are thinking of taking can fit through the doorways or down stairwells. It may have taken professional movers to get the items into the flat in the first place, or they may have been assembled in the flat.

You may also like to read: How to Make a Floor Plan. A guide to making a simple floor plan and how to measure furniture so that you do not waste time and money moving things that you cannot get down the stairs or will not fit in your new home.

The more ruthless you are decluttering your home the easier moving day will be.

#2 Pack Using Small and Medium Sized Boxes

Avoid packing anything into large moving boxes. They can be heavy to lift and very awkward to get down flights of stairs.

Pack as much as you can into uniform small and medium-sized boxes, which are easier to handle. If you are using a stair dolly then they also stack better if they are not too cumbersome.

If the boxes you use for packing are all the same size and shape you will also be able to make the best use of the space in the van.

Twin-walled boxes and good-quality packing tape are essential.

Seal each box along the edges of the flaps and double-tape across the width of the box for extra strength. The last thing you need is for your moving boxes to split open as you carry them downstairs.

If you can find archive boxes these come with lids that require no tape and are very strong.

Another alternative is plastic tote boxes which are strong, durable, and will save you time and money when packing them.

Not only do you have to waste time constructing boxes but you will not have to buy any packing tape.

These can easily be hired on a weekly basis, and are delivered straight to your door and collected again when you have finished unpacking.

You may also like to read: Small Home Moves: Moving With no Furniture in which we look at how to move home without any furniture and discover the most cost-effective moving solutions if you are moving only a few boxes.

#3 Pack Boxes Within Boxes

Labeling your moving boxes is essential for easy unpacking

If you are single, or a couple, then you may find that you don’t have enough things to fill a box with just one type of thing.

For example, you may have a few pieces of cutlery, or a few odd cups and plates rather than full dinner services or complete sets of cutlery.

Pack those few items into small boxes that can then be put inside a medium-sized box. This ensures maximum protection for the contents and also means fewer boxes to move.

It will be tiring walking up and down stairs all day on moving day, so you need as few boxes as possible to move, whilst ensuring that they are not too big and heavy.

Ensure you clearly mark each box as to what it contains and which room it should be placed in within your new home.

You may also like to read: How to Label Moving Boxes – an Easy and Foolproof Way. It is essential that you label your moving boxes properly. This helps you identify what the contents of each box are, and where they should be placed in your new home, and instantly identifies any boxes that get misplaced or lost during the move.

#4 Pack Using the Russian Doll Method

Without making the moving boxes too heavy, pack things inside other things to save space and the number of boxes.

For example, stack saucepans inside each other, or fill pots with spices or dried foods.

Use whatever space is available to pack your things.

By making the most efficient use of the space within each box you will save money on packing supplies, your move will be quicker and less tiring, and you may be able to hire a smaller van or may need fewer trips in your car.

You may also like to read: 12 Space Saving Packing Tips for a Cheaper Home Move in which we show you how to pack your things in the most efficient way to not only save packing costs but save you time and energy during the home move.

#5 Heavy-Duty Bags

Rubble bags from DIY stores are great for moving things like quilts, cushions, and clothing.

They may be more expensive than normal rubbish sacks but they will not split and can take a lot of abuse on moving day.

You can easily throw these bags down the flights of stairs saving time and energy.

And of course, you will be able to use them again once you have emptied them in your new home.

#6 Dismantle as Much as Possible

If you are taking furniture with you, then dismantle them as much as possible. It will take longer to move the furniture when in parts but will be far easier and safer to handle.

Take plenty of photos so you know how to reassemble the furniture, and use masking tape to label which parts go where.

#7 Leave Stuff in Drawers

If the contents of a drawer are light and cannot move around in transit then there is no point in unpacking them into boxes

There is no point in wasting time and effort packing things that are already in drawers.

Just remove the drawer, cling-film it with industrial-strength shrink wrap, then reinsert the drawers once the piece of furniture is loaded on the van.

Caution: Moving MDF furniture without the drawers in is very dangerous as the drawers form part of the structural integrity of the furniture. Moving MDF furniture without drawers is likely to result in catastrophic damage to your furniture.

Be sure that the bottom of the drawer is not damaged in any way. Cheap MDF-type drawers tend to fall apart easily, so just ensure that the bottom of the drawer is well secured to the drawer frame.

Ensure that the contents of the drawer cannot move around whilst in transit and that anything breakable is well protected.

#8 Leave Clothes on Hangers

Leave your clothes on hangers, slip your clothes into big bin liners, and tie the top of the bag through the hangers. Bundle about 5-10 hangers together so that they are not too heavy to carry.

You may also like to read: Alternative Packing Materials for Moving Home in which we look at how you can utilise items around your home for packing as well as offer suggestions for alternative packing materials that may make moving home easier and cheaper.

#9 Wear Sensible Shoes on Moving Day

You will be doing a lot of walking on moving day up and down those stairs so ensure that you wear flat, strong, and comfortable shoes.

Avoid tight-fitting clothes as they will restrict your movement and raise your body temperature.

Equally, avoid clothing that is too loose as it may catch on door handles for example.

#10 Take Your Time

You will be excited and eager to get to your new home but take your time moving. When you start rushing about, especially going up and down stairs, it is easy for an accident to occur.

So take regular breaks and ensure that you drink plenty of fluids.

#11 Move Over Multiple Days

If you can move over multiple days it will make things so much easier for you.

Not only will moving day be less frantic, but it will give you the opportunity to thoroughly clean your old and new home.

You could use storage facilities, a garage, or a friend’s place to store your things as you move over several days.

It really is the least stressful and easiest way to move home.

You may also like to read:

What Furniture Moving Equipment Do I Need?

Shoulder straps make moving heavy items so much safer and easier.

Most tool-hire shops will be able to supply you with all the home moving tools you need.

There are specific sack barrows that you can get that are designed to move up and down stairs with ease, you can even get electric ones.

Moving heavy and large pieces of furniture, or large appliances, up and down stairs is no easy task, but a stair-climbing hand truck will make it easier.

Sheets of plywood or thick cardboard can also be used to help slide furniture down stairs.

If you have wide stairs then you can use shoulder straps to move furniture and large kitchen appliances.

These straps slip around your body and under the item you are moving.

Two people are needed to use shoulder straps, and a wide staircase is safer because you can move side by side, but they take the strain off of your back and make lifting large items far easier.

Good quality gloves will ensure that you keep a firm grip on anything you carry and also help prevent grazes on your knuckles, which are inevitable as you try to move furniture.

Moving blankets are an essential piece of moving equipment.

Ensure any furniture you are moving is totally protected with moving blankets, this will prevent damage to not only the furniture but will stop any wall scuffs as you try to maneuver through doorways and stairwells.

If you are taking furniture to your new home then move those items first when you are fresh and have plenty of strength and energy.

After moving your furniture, the boxes will seem like a breeze.

But in all reality, if you are moving out of a flat with no lift and are planning on taking large and heavy pieces of furniture with you, then it will be better to hire professional furniture movers.

By the time you have hired the moving equipment, and gone through all the stress and hardship of moving furniture yourself, not to mention the risk of hurting yourself or damaging the furniture or your home, it would make more sense to hire someone to do it for you.

You may also like to read: How to Move Heavy and Large Pieces of Furniture. From how to measure your furniture to ensure you can get through the stairwell, and how to safely lift, to using different moving equipment, this is an essential guide to moving furniture yourself.

How to Move Furniture Down Stairs

Wrap your furniture in moving blankets before attempting to get them downstairs to prevent damage to your home or possessions

Moving furniture, large appliances, and mattresses down flights of stairs is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted if you are physically fit enough.

There is always a very real danger of injuring yourself or damaging your furniture and property.

If you are fit enough to move furniture downstairs then here are some tips that will help you:

  • Having a sack barrow (hand truck), shoulder straps, and a friend to move large and heavy furniture down the stairs will make it easier and safer.
  • Ensure the route to the removal van is clear and that there are no tripping hazards.
  • Remove shelves, doors, and drawers so that the item is lighter and easier to handle.
  • Place the item onto the sack barrow and secure it in place with rope or straps. It is easier and safer to have a friend to help you do this if possible.
  • Wheel the item to the top of the stairs. If you have a helper, send them down a few steps ahead of you.
  • Tilt the hand truck back toward you so that your body takes most of the weight of the furniture.
  • Slowly roll the hand truck down the first step. Your helper should brace the item from below and help guide it down each step.
  • Roll the hand truck down the stairs one step at a time, keeping it tilted back towards your body at all times. Take it slowly, and have your helper keep the item centered on the hand truck.

Another method to get furniture down steps is to wrap the piece of furniture really well with padding such as old blankets.

Then wrap the entire item in cardboard which will act as a slider to take it down the stairs.

This method is extremely dangerous so take extra care and ensure that you have a strong helper who is physically strong enough to hold the weight of the item being moved to guide the furniture down the stairs with you.

You may also like to read: How to Move Home Safely – 14 Things You Must Know. In this guide, we look at how to make moving home as safe as possible. From personal safety to insurance, this guide is invaluable reading.

How to Move a Mattress Down Stairs

Many hands make light work but too many can cause problems

You will need a mattress cover, ratchet straps or rope, and strong helpers to get a mattress down steps.

  • Never use the handles on a mattress to move it, they are not intended for carrying purposes.
  • Cover the mattress with shrink wrap, or a mattress cover to prevent dirt from damaging it.
  • Some mattresses can be folded in half. Just use ratchet straps to hold it in place once you have folded it. It can then be slid down the stairs.
  • If you have wide stairs you can also use rope or straps to move the mattress by creating lifting handles. Slip straps under each end of the mattress, and in the centre if needed, to create handles.
  • With helpers on each side of the mattress take hold of the straps.
  • The straps will help prevent muscle and back strain and make the mattress easier to lift.
  • This lifting method requires a minimum of four people so will only work if there is the available width on your stairs to safely move the mattress.

You may also like to read: How to Move a Mattress by Yourself. In this guide, we look at how to safely pack and move a mattress in more depth.

Moving by yourself out of a property with multiple stairs and no lift is not for the faint-hearted. It is probably one of the most difficult home-moving scenarios.

Carefully consider whether you have the help, physical ability, and time to move by yourself. It may appear to be the cheaper option, but the risks often outweigh the money you will save.

Our home moving blog is full of essential tips and useful advice that you will find invaluable when moving home and is worth spending some time reading to make your home move safer, easier, and cheaper.

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