Moving Furniture: How to Do-It-Yourself Without Hurting Yourself!

Moving Furniture: Tips From the Odd Job Team

Tips for Moving Furniture

 

“No job is too small” is a company motto at Odd Job. On Monday, a member of our team might find themselves renovating an entire floor of a major office. building. On Tuesday, they might travel a few miles in the other direction to install a pet door for your grandma.

Some of our specialties, such as hanging pictures and artwork or assembling furniture, aren’t tasks that everyone would call a contractor for. Many would regard such things as “chores” that belong on one’s “to-do” list. But who says your personal to-do list has to be your personal responsibility?

That’s where Odd Job comes in! When you make a call to (416) 520-1161 or book our team online, we take your to-do list off your hands!

There are some seemingly simple tasks that require homeowners to surrender more sweat than they’re willing to. One is moving furniture – one of a few things that isn’t among Odd Job’s areas of work. We refer clients interested in our moving services to Rent-a-Son, the city’s best moving company.

Much like Odd Job, Rent-a-Son has made a name for itself based on unmatched quality and efficiency as well as fair and competitive rates. In fact, they are leading their industry with an incredibly generous price match guarantee: “If you have received an estimate from a competing Toronto moving company, provide us with that estimate and we will match the price.” 

For those who value money more than time and effort, the team at Odd Job has some great tips that will help you move your furniture without risking its safety or your own!

Dragging and Sliding

So how does one go about moving furniture? By carrying it, of course! Well, that concludes our article.. just kidding!

There are methods that make the task far easier while minimizing the risks involved as well – and not all of them actually require you to ‘carry’ anything at all. Regina Yunghans, an architect and longtime contributor to the hugely popular interior design blog Apartment Therapy, discovered this first-hand when the mid-century credenza that she and her husband had ordered finally arrived at their door.

They were confused and dismayed when they were not met by two strongmen but by a woman in her sixties.. with a bad shoulder. What they soon learned was that she had been a professional mover for many years, and while she couldn’t lend them her arms, she could lend them her secrets.

In her article What I Learned from a Pro about Moving Heavy FurnitureYunghans passed on the invaluable knowledge that had been imparted to her:

Use those blankets! The quilted blue blankets that wrap furniture for protection from scratches and dents are multi-purpose. Once we had the credenza off the truck, the blankets were our primary tool in getting the piece from point A to B. We laid the still-wrapped credenza on a blanket spread out on the ground and simply dragged the furniture to the house (on grass, mind you… it probably would not have moved well over concrete). That saved us from doing any lifting whatsoever and completely eliminated any chance of dropping and damaging the furniture.

Once we reached the front steps, we laid a cushion of several more quilted blankets out over the steps. We then unwrapped the credenza and slid it (on its top) up the “ramp” of blankets laid over the stoop. And voila! It was inside. By retaining one blanket under the credenza once indoors, we simply slid it into place in the dining room on a blanket across the hardwood floors. Once it was aligned with where we wanted it, we just had to flip it off of the blanket and onto its feet.

Furniture Sliders in ActionYunghans learned that in many cases, carrying furniture was more dangerous, more physically demanding and less practical than simply dragging or sliding it. You can pick up furniture sliders at every major home improvement retailer, and even improvise your own with things around the house.

Use hard plastic items like frisbees or the covers of plastic containers when sliding furniture over carpeting and soft, padded ones like bedspreads, towels or moving blankets like the ones utilized by Yunghans and her husband.

Even if you aren’t planning to drag or slide your furniture to the space you want it, use the moving blankets to protect it in case it is dropped or bumped into another hard surface.

Provide it with further protection by wrapping it in stretch film, which can be purchased at any major home retailer. The plastic and fabric layers will protect the delicate edges of the furniture, as well as the finish.

Lifting

If you’re interested in moving furniture the old-fashioned way, then there are methods to this as well. How you lift heavy furniture will not only determine the likelihood of a bad accident, but also the effects the work will have on your back.

Before we explore a couple of the techniques employed by professional movers, such as the one illustrated above, we must first cover the absolute basics. It is fundamentally important to use proper form when lifting boxes, furniture, or any other heavy item. While it may seem more natural to simply bend over from your hips and grab it, this forces you to put enormous strain on your back.

brodoyouevenliftSquat with your legs at a ninety-degree angle before lifting so that the weight is transferred to your legs – more specifically, your knees. As with everything else discussed in this article, being careful to lift heavy items properly will save you time and effort. It will also save you from back problems down the road.

Furniture – especially tall items such as a dresser or a a large shelf – should be carried high and low by two people, as the two blue men are demonstrating for us with the couch in the image above. This centers the weight, giving you and your accomplice more control of the item. This makes it much easier to carry furniture through narrow spaces and stairways – especially the latter, as the carrying angle will be roughly parallel to the stairs.

hookchairsaroundcorners

Some furniture is rather awkwardly-shaped for carrying purposes. I’m speaking specifically of chairs.

First-time movers may think it virtually impossible to move a large easy chair through a narrow corridor, but the solution is actually rather simple. Turn it on its side and move the resulting ‘L’ back-first through the  doorway, hooking it around the corner. 

Using this same method also solves the similarly common problem that many amateur movers face when attempting to move a large couch through a narrow hallway and around a corner. If you find that the couch is too tall, maneuver it so that it is at an angle and the top is several inches below the top of the door.

Tools

ForearmForkliftLiftingStrapsThe most physically demanding are made so much easier when the proper tools are used. Moving furniture is no different, and while two sets of strong arms have served us well since the beginning of human civilization, advances have been made.

Popular with amateur and professional movers alike are lifting straps, available at almost any home retailer. These are attached to your forearms so as to allow the human body to serve as a forklift, and then wrapped around the bottom of the item. They can be adjusted depending on the size of both the movers and the object.

ShoulderDollyAnother great tool is the shoulder dolly, which is attached to the furniture and the body of its movers much like the lifting straps. The shoulder dolly, however, uses the largest muscle groups to support the weight of the object and therefore leaves your hands free to stabilize it.

Shoulder dollies aren’t available everywhere, but can be purchased online. One drawback to using the shoulder dolly is that when carrying items downhill, the entirety of the weight is transferred to one mover.

Merry Moving!

Odd Job will assemble your furniture, but moving it isn’t among our specialties. We charge a high rate for those who insist on our involvement in such projects, and prefer to refer our clients to Rent-a-Son instead. For those who prefer their own hands to hired ones, we hope this information helps make a difficult task much more manageable.