Tips for Moving Your Couch Safely

Moving couches and other large pieces of furniture is a real challenge. It’s difficult, exhausting, and potentially dangerous (to you and your furniture). So no surprise that it’s one of the main reasons people hire the College Muscle Movers to take care of the hassles of moving.

If you’re taking on the job yourself, we’ve got some tips that should help you out and give you a better chance of getting that giant sofa where it needs to go.

Lifting Couches Safely

We’ve got a handy little article on safe lifting and it’s worth checking out before you try to pick up a couch or any other furniture: we briefly cover tools you can use, safe lifting techniques, and appropriate postures for dealing with heavy loads.

In addition to those tips, remember that you’re always going to want at least one partner to help you with long awkward shapes like couches.

Getting Through a Narrow Space

Hallways, doors and other narrow spaces are especially difficult—sometimes impossible.

It’s always best if you can plan ahead and measure the space you have compared to the dimensions of your couch before you move, or even before you choose your new home. Measure the height, width, and length of your sofa and the areas you’ll need to navigate through. Keep in mind that a soft couch should have a couple of inches of ‘give’ in it to squeeze through.

Pretty to look at, but not much fun to move through a hallway. Image Credit: Flickr
Pretty to look at, but not much fun to move through a hallway.
Image Credit: Flickr

If those numbers don’t quite match, there are a few options you have. It’s always a good idea to move furniture after removing everything possible, such as legs and detachable upholstery, so take care of that if you haven’t already and see if that gives you some extra space.

If you’ve still got a tight squeeze, use one or more partners to carefully maneuver the couch into different positions—turning it upside down, sideways, standing it on its end, anything that might give you the angle you need.

If that doesn’t work, you’re looking at more extreme methods. If you think it will help, you can try removing the door from its hinges to make more space. If you really love that couch, you can also consider options for having it disassembled and reassembled by an expert, or look into using a crane or other tools to hoist the couch in through a window or balcony.

Protecting Your Couch During Moves

Here are some tips to keep in mind for any couch move:

1. Wrapping your furniture in moving pads and blankets protects both the furniture and the walls from scrapes and rips.

2. Dollies and furniture sliders are a great help when moving furniture around open spaces.

3. Remove as much as you can from any furniture and store it separately for the move; this includes legs, covers, and cushions.

 

And as always, if you’re in the Minneapolis area, give College Muscle Movers a call at 1-800-818-8449 and we’ll take care of that difficult sofa for you.

Which Boxes are Best for Moving: Cardboard or Plastic?

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and moving boxes.

It happens every time you have to move, whether it’s as simple as shifting your textbooks from one dorm to another or going cross-country in a rented truck: you’ve got to scramble to find, assemble and fill as many cardboard boxes as you can get your hands on, and then you’ve got to figure out what to do with the pile of mangled cardboard you’re left with when you’re finished unpacking.

But in the past decade or so, a new option has become increasingly available and popular: reusable plastic moving containers. Here at College Muscle Movers, we offer both traditional cardboard boxes for sale as well as plastic containers for rent, and you’ll find many of our competitors both here in Minneapolis and across the country are doing the same.

Why? The answer is pretty simple: Plastic is a better choice for many reasons. We’ll tell you five reasons why, and we’ll also suggest a few occasions where good old cardboard is still a smart choice.

 

Five Reasons Why Plastic Boxes Beat Cardboard

MuscleBox

1. Simple

No need to assemble these babies: plastic boxes come pre-constructed, ready for you to fill. No tape or folding required. This can save you hours of work for a large move.

2. Stackable

Reusable plastic boxes are designed to fit snugly together, making it easier to move large numbers of them and save space in your moving vehicles. This also aids in their structural integrity when stacked, which brings us to reason three…

3. Durable

Plastic moving boxes are much tougher than cardboard. That means they’ll have a safer trip through the streets to your new home or office, and even better, they won’t collapse while you carry them by hand.

This feature is especially important for large moves, especially of offices and businesses.

4. Rentable & Returnable

College Muscle Movers (and most other movers who offer plastic boxes) can deliver your order straight to your door and pick up the empty boxes afterwards. So there’s no need to hunt around town for somebody throwing old boxes away, and no need to flatten and store the cardboard after you use it. No need to fill your new home with old boxes.

5. Reusable

It may not mean much to your move, but the planet appreciates that these boxes can be used over and over again without being thrown away. That’s why they’re often called ‘eco-boxes.’

When to Use Cardboard Anyway

Now, if you’re skeptical, we’ll be honest, there are a couple of situations where cardboard might be the better solution:

1. Small Moves

If you’re just moving a bedroom or a few shelves from your dorm, then hunting down and assembling cardboard boxes will be a much smaller problem. Go ahead, Mother Earth can handle it if you end up recycling just a couple of boxes when you’re done.

2. No Budget

You might be surprised to find that renting plastic boxes is very similar in price to buying cardboard boxes—go ahead, do the math yourself! But it is true that you can scrounge up free cardboard boxes if you’re patient and if you ask nicely in the right stores. Just keep in mind that time is money, so don’t waste too much of it if you can afford a stronger and simpler solution.

 

Pretty simple, right? If you’re moving enough stuff, plastic is the way to go every time for security, convenience, and price.

When is the Best Time to Move in Minnesota?

If you’re able to plan ahead and choose the day and month of your move, there are a few things worth knowing that will help you pick the best time possible for less hassle and lower rates.

Choosing the Best Day to Move

There are some rules that almost always hold true year-round: Weekends are always busier for movers, and so is the first of the month when leases end and renters are looking to make a quick move.

If you’re able to choose the day you move out, you may find that avoiding those days will give you a better chance of getting all the reservations you need on short notice.

Choosing the Best Month to Move

If you’re able to plan ahead, it’s true that many services and supplies can be cheaper during some times of the year, and more expensive during the busy seasons.

For most moving companies, the months of May to September are often the busiest.

The most activity of the year usually occurs during late May and early June, when a long Memorial Day weekend combines with the graduation season during a period of pleasant weather. If you can avoid it, you’ll want to choose another time to move.

Of course in Minnesota, weather is also a serious consideration. You may not have much competition for a moving truck in deep winter, but you probably don’t want to risk a sudden snowstorm.

Planning for Long-Term Storage

If your move involves delivering some of your possessions to long-term storage, that may be an important factor in your decision.

The months of May to September are also the busiest seasons for storage unit rentals, and rates tend to increase accordingly.

However, many storage units allow renters to lock in rates for the long term. This means that if you are able to begin your storage during a quieter month such as November, rather than a more expensive month like January, you can make quite a savings in rental fees.

You can read much more on the subject at SelfStorage.com’s very detailed write-up on how moving seasons affect the price of rental units in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

We’re Here to Help

We hope this guide helps you choose the best day to move, but if you do need to call College Muscle Movers even on the busiest days of the year, we’ll do our best to get you and your stuff where you need to go.

At least it won't be as busy as Moving Day in 19th century New York City.
At least it won’t be as busy as Moving Day in 19th century New York City.

How to Pack and Move Your Computer

A desktop computer may be one of the most important items you move, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong—expensive components can be damaged and important data can be lost. So let us tell you how to play it as safe as possible.

At least computers are a lot more portable than they used to be. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
At least computers are a lot more portable than they used to be.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Plan Ahead

The basics are obvious—you’ll want to power down, unplug and wrap up all cords and accessories, and double check to make sure you haven’t left any discs in the computer.

But before you think about protecting your computer, you should give some thought to protecting all the important information inside it. If you don’t already have one, a backup drive is a very smart investment, even if you’re not moving. You can get a terabyte drive for around $60 if you shop around, and it should be fine at backing up your entire hard drive for years to come.

Backup drives are easy to use and will make sure that whatever happens to your computer, your irreplaceable files will stay safe. You may even wish to move and store your backup drive separately after every backup so that no disaster can strike both copies at the same time.

Packing Carefully

A computer is full of fragile parts that certainly aren’t meant to be jostled. If you still have any of the original packaging and the form-fitting Styrofoam that comes with it, that’s your best bet. But odds are you don’t, right?

Not a big problem. You’ll want to find a box just slightly larger than your CPU tower—you definitely don’t want to give it enough space to knock around in there. Then you want to pack it fairly tightly with padding. Crumpled newspaper and bubble wrap should do the trick. If you’re moving a printer, you’ll want to follow the same process, although it’s a good idea to remove any ink cartridges first and seal them in plastic bags.

That takes care of the tower. You don’t have to worry too much about damage to keyboards or mice, and you can pack your monitor much like you would a flat screen TV. You can check out our guide for details.

Any cords and additional accessories should be easier to pack, although you may want to make sure you pack them and label them separately  from your other electronics to avoid tangles and confusion.

Making the Move

Okay, you’re prepped and packed. Now it’s time to get your precious cargo where it needs to go.

If you plan to use a moving company, you’ll want to make sure that the box your computer is in is clearly labeled, and you’ll want to check that it’s properly insured for the move. This requires estimating the retail value of your computer and specifically requesting the appropriate insurance as standard moving insurance typically will not provide sufficient coverage for such expensive items.

However, if you’re taking a car to your new home, a computer is one of the few items you may want to move yourself even if you’re using a moving company to handle most of your other possessions. This eliminates most of the risk involved, especially if you are moving during extreme cold weather. The back of a moving truck is rarely heated, and cold can cause damage to some parts of a computer, as can the resulting condensation.

If you must expose your computer to cold during a move–and that’s definitely a possibility in Minneapolis!–be sure to give it ample time to reach room temperature before attempting to turn it on.

How to Safely Pack Glass for Moving

If you thought moving flat screen TVs was tricky, you’re in for a bigger hassle when it’s time to pack up all your glassware for a move.

At least flat screens are always flat! Glassware can come in all kinds of shapes, and they’re all fragile and some of the easiest items to break on a move. So yes, it’s going to take a little extra time and care to properly pack your glass items, but it can still be done fairly easily and inexpensively. Here are some key tips to remember:

Never Let Glass Touch Glass

This is a big one. You’re going to be packing most of your glass items into the same boxes, but you need to make sure they don’t touch each other because that’s one of the easiest ways to cause breakage. Luckily, it’s not hard to do this, and it’s also very cheap: All you need is cardboard and newspaper.

The Materials You’ll Need

Your first line of defense are the usual cardboard boxes you’ve been putting all your other stuff in for the big move, but that’s just the beginning.

You can buy specially made ‘dish paper’ at packing stores, but the stacks of newspaper you already have will do just fine. For dishes, put a couple layers of paper between each plate, and for cups and vases, put crumpled-up wads of paper between each object.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

For objects you know are going to be more fragile, you can cut up any extra cardboard you have to create dividing walls inside each box. That will make sure you don’t get any glass-on-glass contact. You can usually get sturdy cardboard boxes with dividers already inside them for free if you ask politely at places like liquor stores that receive their stock in such containers and would otherwise just throw them out for recycling. Or, if you want, you can order specially made glass divider boxes.

The Flat and the Skinny

Large flat panes of glass, like the kind you might find on top of a coffee table, and narrow glass that can easily snap, like the stems of wine glasses or delicate figurines, are special items that deserve special attention.

This is the time to beef up your protection from scavenged paper and cardboard to real bubble wrap. Go ahead and buy a roll, it’s insurance worth having.

For flat glass, a couple of layers of bubble wrap is a good idea, followed by very careful placement in your moving vehicle—sandwiched between two mattresses is a nice option.

Delicate, narrow areas need the most attention. Wrap paper and bubble wrap around the entire object until it is fairly even on all sides; that means packing a lot of extra material in the narrow section. You should end up with something that looks a bit like an egg made of crumpled paper and bubble wrap. You can then pack your ‘eggs’ into a box somewhat tightly, making sure there is not enough room for them to bounce into each other—you may even want to tape the ‘eggs’ together into one unit. You can just tape the packing material, no need to get sticky tape on your glassware. The most delicate pieces may need as much as three inches of extra material around each item.

 

It’s a lot of extra detail compared to loading up books or Tupperware, but it’s better than opening a box full of broken glass at your new home. Take a look at our selection of glass and dish packing supplies, and if you have any questions, give us a call at 1-800-818-8449 and the College Muscle Movers of Minneapolis will do our best to help you out.

Moving Furniture from IKEA? Be Careful of These 5 Things

Who doesn’t love IKEA furniture? Even if you’d prefer solid oak antiques yourself, you’ve got to appreciate how easy IKEA is on the budget for young students (like our College Muscle Movers) and families and how simple it is to get everything you need in one shopping visit to an IKEA superstore—we’ve got one right here in Minneapolis, you know!

ikea

 

1. Buy Before You Move? Sure, Why Not

If you live close to an IKEA location but expect to be moving farther away, there’s no harm in loading up in the nice, flat-packed furniture you want right before you move. If you’ve got space in your moving truck, you’ll save on shipping costs and the original packaging will keep your furniture very safe.

And when you do put the furniture together, don’t drill those screws in too tightly. After all, you might need to take them apart for your next move.

2. Disassembly is a Smart Idea

Breaking down that IKEA furniture is easy, it will make the furniture take up less space as you move, and most important it will reduce the chance of the furniture being damaged by the pressures of a bumpy road. Just remember to pack the pieces with blankets to avoid scratches, and be sure to…

3. Label Those Pieces

Put labels on the items as you break them down, especially for furniture with many similar pieces, like bookshelves. A simple sticker marked with “bottom shelf” or something similar should do the job.

Most importantly, be sure to also keep the various screws and fasteners for each item in a separate labeled bag.

But what are you going to do when you’ve got all these labeled pieces in your new home? Odds are good you didn’t bother to save assembly instructions, right?

4. You Can Get Free Assembly Instructions Online

No problem! You can get those instructions online directly from IKEA. If you didn’t save the handy little tools either, that’s okay: common screwdrivers and Allen wrenches should cover almost everything you need to do.

5. Beware the Particle Board—and the Particle Board Waiver

Yes, it’s true, part of what makes some IKEA furniture cheap is that it’s made of particle board which is inexpensive but also somewhat fragile. Properly packed into its original packaging, there’s almost no risk of damage, but if you’re disassembling one of your old pieces or moving a fully assembled item, there’s a reasonable chance that accidents will happen.

Make sure you’re prepared for that possibility, and more importantly, take a look at what your professional movers are expecting to accomplish. You’re paying them for their experience and care, so you should expect a better rate of success than moving on your own—but not every mover feels that way, especially for cross-country moves where the risk of breakage is increased.

Take a look at everything you sign in regards to liability for your move. It’s not unheard of for some moving companies to include waivers that absolve them of responsibility for especially fragile items, especially items they’re used to dealing with on a regular basis, like IKEA furniture. If you think you’re getting a good deal on the move, it may be fair to take the responsibility yourself, but make sure you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign these waivers—and be suspicious of any company that simply slips the waiver in with the rest of the paperwork without informing you.

How to Safely Pack and Move Your LCD TV

One of the most challenging items on your packing list is going to be that big flat screen TV. At College Muscle Movers, we take extra care with these delicate and expensive items. If you’re planning on doing your own packing, we can help you out by giving you a little advice and looking at the truth behind one of the biggest questions in moving LCD TV screens.

Even our best advice can’t guarantee you’ll have a safe move, especially if you hit a lot of bumps in the road, but this little guide will should improve the chances of getting that TV where it needs to be safe and sound.

Let’s start with the big question:

Can I Move My TV Flat, Or Do I Have To Keep It Upright?

You’ve probably heard that you can’t lay modern TVs flat without damaging them. That’s actually only partly true. There’s nothing wrong with laying a screen flat, and it won’t break just from being horizontal instead of vertical.

The real problem is that a screen laying on its face or on its back is much more easily damaged by all kinds of other factors. Those screens are engineered to be shipped and be used standing up; a horizontal TV will have more pressure on that delicate screen, and any additional pressure—like from a bouncing moving truck—can cause real damage.

So, if your TV is perfectly packed, there’s not really anything wrong with laying it down, but on the other hand there’s no reason to take the risk.

How Should I Pack My LCD TV?

Okay, let’s get to the real issue: how to pack your TV.

First, your best option is always going to be repacking the TV in the box it came in. Of course most people don’t bother to save those boxes, but if you’re one of the people who do, you’ve got a solution all ready to go. If you’re really serious about the best possible security for your big flat screen, you can buy special boxes designed to offer similar protection from retailers like EcoBox.

But that’s probably overkill. If you’re looking for something simpler, your best option may be wrapping a soft blanket around the entire TV and sealing the blanket with tape. This protects the entire TV, and in particular it keeps the screen protected from scratches.

So delicate. So precious. Image Credit: Flick
So delicate. So precious.
Image Credit: Flickr

If you have bubble wrap on hand, it’s a good idea to add a layer  or two over the blanket—and if you don’t have bubble wrap on hand, it’s probably worth picking some up! It’s a lot cheaper than a new TV, and you’ll have plenty of other fragile items to wrap too.

Finally, when it’s time to load the TV into your moving truck, make sure you have a partner to help you carry it—this is one item you definitely don’t want to drop.

Make sure you put your TV in a secure location in the truck. It definitely shouldn’t be under anything that’s likely to fall on top of it, and if it’s on top of other items, make sure it’s not going to slide off and hit the floor. If you have two mattresses, you’re in luck: putting the upright TV between the two mattresses is a great way to keep it safe and secure.

And as always, if you’re in the Minneapolis area and need a hand, College Muscle Movers is here to help.

Moving to Minneapolis – Part 4 : Unloading and Unpacking Boxes

Okay, you’re in the home stretch! You’ve successfully packed all your stuff, you’ve managed to get all those boxes and furniture out the door, and you’ve loaded up a rental truck and hauled your life to a new home.

But the last step can actually take the most time and cause the most frustration. Unloading shouldn’t take too long—it’s just loading in reverse, so check out our post on proper box handling and lifting techniques.

The real challenge is unpacking. Even if you’ve properly labeled all your boxes so you know which goes with which room (we sure hope you did!), you’re going to be a little exhausted and you’ve still got plenty of other new-home chores to take care of. For many people, the unpacking process can stretch into days or weeks.

That’s okay, you earned a break. Take your time. And when you’re ready, take a look at these unpacking tips that will help the process go faster and smoother whenever you decide to tackle it.

The horror... the horror! Image Credit: Flickr
The horror… the horror! Image Credit: Flickr

Plan Ahead

Hopefully you’re reading this before you’ve arrived at your new home, because there’s a lot you can do ahead of time to make unpacking easier.

First, you’ll want to make sure that the last box you load into your truck—and the first box you unload—is your ‘essentials’ box, full of everything you’ll need for the first few nights. That means toiletries, food and dishes for a few simple meals, garbage bags, any documents you’ll need, and some common tools you’ll use to assemble your other items.

If you’re able to scout out your new place ahead of time or even get a floor plan, you’ll also be able to plan what furniture will go where, and you can move it straight to the proper room instead of letting it clump up in the living room.

Details First

It may seem counterintuitive, but there are a number of chores that seem like low priorities that you should really take care of right away. It’s going to be easier to line your cupboards before you load them with pots and pans, and it’s a good idea to start bedroom unpacking by organizing your closet—you’ll have the space to lay out everything and put it where it needs to be so that everything is easy to access in the following days and weeks.

The First Room, the Last Room, and In Between

It’s best to get all those boxes marked ‘kitchen’ unpacked first, unless you plan to spend extra on eating out for every meal.

As you proceed from room to room, always move in the furniture first so that you can plan around it. You don’t need to reassemble everything right away, but it’s best to get these bulky items out of the way first and have them in place so you can estimate how much space they’ll eventually take up.

You can leave any garage and patio items for last. There shouldn’t be anything in there that can’t wait, and you’ll be much happier and more comfortable getting your interior in shape before worrying about these extras—plus you’ll have a better idea of what items should end up in the garage if you can’t find a suitable place for them indoors.

Take it Easy

There’s really nothing wrong with putting off all the little unpacking chores that come after you’ve got the essentials in your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom sorted out. Doing everything at once is stressful, and you and your family will have a much better time if you reward yourself by taking breaks to explore your new neighborhood.

Go ahead, relax. If you've unpacked your clean underwear and your coffee machine, what else do you need? Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Go ahead, relax. If you’ve unpacked your clean underwear and your coffee machine, what else do you need?
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

People like to joke about how long it takes them to unpack after a move, but they still do it anyway. The result will be a less stressful and exhausting experience and a final layout that reflects your real preferences instead of simply the first place you could think of to stick your stuff.

And we’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again: Make sure to follow the best practices for safely lifting and moving heavy and awkwardly shaped objects. Or better yet, let College Muscle Movers do it for you! Good luck!

Moving to Minneapolis – Part 3 : Choosing a Truck to Transport Your Stuff

Welcome back! We’ve showed you some best practices for how to pack for a move, and last week we covered how to safely handle your boxes out of your home and onto your moving truck. The next step is getting you and all your stuff from your old place to your new home, whether that means a few miles through town or a major cross-country venture.

As always, College Muscle Moves can do it all for you—our trucks will get you and your possessions where they need to be, no problem. But if you want to DIY, that’s an option too, and we’re going to help you get it done.

Choosing The Right Size

It’s possible you can get the job done without a truck. If you don’t have much furniture or other clutter and you don’t mind making a few trips, it may be that all you need is your car—or a friend’s car—and a lot of time to make repeat trips. It sounds like you might be a young college student just getting established in life. In fact, you might be one of our Muscle Movers. Hey guys, get back to work!

If you’re moving a decent-sized apartment or a multi-bedroom house, though, you’re definitely going to want a truck. If you’re moving a small apartment, or travelling a short distance that makes repeat trips painless, a 10-foot mini mover should do the job. You could go all the way up to a 26-foot straight box truck. Remember that it’s a good idea to go for a truck at least 10% larger than you think you’ll need.

A too-large truck is definitely better than a too-small truck. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A too-large truck is definitely better than a too-small truck.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Choosing a Rental Agency and Making a Reservation

You probably know the big names in truck rental. There’s Budget, Penske, U-Haul, Ryder, and usually a few local options that you’ve seen on the streets around town.

Each company has different strengths and different scales of payment. Paying by the hour, by the day, or by mileage is one common difference. Some offer essential equipment like moving dollies while others will charge a fee for them. Prices will also vary depending on whether you’re making a one-way move or willing to return the truck to its original location.

Your best bet is to make a clear plan for exactly what you want and when you want it, and then to call multiple agencies to compare prices and terms—checking four or five options is a good idea.

Make sure you make a complete plan and prepare a reservation well in advance! In particular, June through September is typically the busy season for moving, and you can expect higher prices and a need for earlier reservations. In less busy seasons, two weeks should be sufficient.

You can also expect additional fees to cover rental insurance, and when you’re done, be sure to fill up the gas tank—there’ll be an unpleasant additional fee if the agency has to take care of that detail for you.

Other Options

Renting a truck can be hassle—it’s one of the reason College Muscle Movers is such a successful business: We handle all that headache for you. You just pay a flat free and get exactly what you need.

But there’s another interesting option if you’d rather not rent a truck. Try checking out PODS—this service simply drops off a large crate at your home. You take as long as you need to fill it up, then let the service know you’re ready. They’ll bring their own truck to pick up your ‘pod’ and bring it wherever you need, even cross-country, or they’ll store it for you until you’ve got your new place ready.

It can be a little pricey, and they won’t help you load and unload, but if your biggest concern is transportation and you want to take your sweet time with packing and unpacking, it’s worth looking into this option.

Moving to Minneapolis – Part 2 : Handling Boxes

If you read Part 1 of our guide to moving in Minneapolis, you’ve turned a home full of your stuff into a home full of boxes, boxes, and more boxes… and a few pieces of furniture. The next step is getting all those boxes out of your house and onto your moving truck.

College Muscle Movers can help. But maybe you’ve just got a small move to take care of that you’re happy to handle on your own—or maybe you’re helping out a friend in return for a little pizza and a lot of good will. In that case, you’re going to want to know how to get the job done efficiently and safely by yourself. College Muscle Movers can still help. Moving boxes is what we do, and we’ve got some tips for you.

The most important thing is keeping you—and especially your back—safe. Here are some guidelines for good form in lifting and carrying:

1. Don’t rely on your body alone

There are a lot of tools you can use to make moving safer and easier, and most are very cheap to rent or own. Dollies are the most basic and powerful tool for moving a lot of boxes with a little effort, but you can also use moving blankets, load securing tools like bungees, and other equipment.

It’s also a great idea to have somebody else present—even if they aren’t helping you move, they’ll be available to help if something goes wrong.

2. Preparing to lift

Of course, even if you’re using a dolly, you’re going to have to put the boxes on it yourself. Here are the basics of correct lifting posture: Place your feet apart, bend your knees (not your back), and grip with your entire hand (not just your fingers). You want to grip the area of your box or item that is heaviest to keep the load close to your body.

A too-large truck is definitely better than a too-small truck. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A too-large truck is definitely better than a too-small truck.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3. Straightening up

Okay, you’ve got a good grip and you’re ready for action. Begin by lifting your head up to keep your back straight, then smoothly bend your knees up—no sudden movements, relying on your legs. If you’re feeling strain at any point, now is the time to put down the box and reassess the situation before it gets worse.

4. Moving with a heavy load

Keep the load close to your body, never at arm’s length. Avoid twisting your body and especially your back—if you have to move around an awkward space, try setting down the load and sliding it around until it is facing the right direction.

5. Big and heavy first

Now you’ve got a basic understanding of how to keep yourself safe while you move. To keep your possessions safe, you’ll want to be smart about loading your moving vehicle. Begin with the biggest and heaviest items: if you have major appliances, those should go in first, up against the far wall of the truck. Next are long, large, but not quite as heavy items like furniture—and do consider using moving blankets to pad these items and keep them safe from scratches. Move on to large heavy boxes, then put smaller and lighter boxes on top.

This box contains fragile materials, and should definitely not be placed at the bottom of a stack. Image credit: Flickr
This box contains fragile materials, and should definitely not be placed at the bottom of a stack.
Image credit: Flickr

Those are the basics of safe and efficient box handling. Sound simple? It is, but you’d be amazed how often people use unsafe practices, causing harm to themselves and their possessions. We hope this little guide keeps you out of that category, and we’ll be back next week with more moving tips.