Even if you’re only moving from a studio apartment instead of a two-story home, you’ll probably have to do some heavy lifting. And even when you work with a moving team, it’s important to remember some safety tips when disassembling, organizing, or packing heavy belongings. In particular, your back is in danger of severe injury if you don’t move heavier items with safety in mind.
In this blog, we go over five safety tips to help you prepare your heavy belongings for a move without injury.
1. Lift From the Legs, Not the Back
When you need to move your own items to organize the space or clear a path, don’t bend over a box and lift using only your arm and back muscles. Instead, bend your knees, crouch down in front of the item, and lift using your legs to return to a standing position. You should also get close to the item you’re lifting to reduce the strain on your arms and back.
Never lift something heavy over your head. If you need to retrieve an item from a high shelf, grab a stepstool so you’re level with the item. Trying to lift the item up too high increases the chances of objects falling and hitting your head.
2. Plan Ahead
Large and unwieldy objects, such as a couch, should be left to the professionals. At the same time, you can make moving large items easier for movers by preparing the items in advance. Break down furniture that can be transported in pieces, like bookshelves, and unload dresser drawers so the dresser is lighter.
Try to pack only boxes that are a small size or that have holes for handholds to make carrying the containers easier for you and for your movers.
3. Clear a Path
In all the chaos of moving and packing, you might feel like your house has turned into a disaster area. Even though you’re busy making plans and talking to the movers, it’s important to organize boxes in a way that keeps the path to the moving van clear. You don’t want to leave items in the path that could trip up you or your moving team while they move heavy items.
If you have young kids or pets in your household, try to arrange things so they can visit a friend’s house or play in one room of the house while you or the movers are transporting heavy items. This will reduce the risk of injury to you, your kids, your pets, and your movers.
4. Pack Boxes Wisely
Be smart when you’re packing boxes. Don’t make any one box too heavy. Write “heavy” on containers that weigh more so you and your movers know which boxes need to be handled more carefully. This labeling will also help the movers know which items to pack at the bottom of the truck and which can go on top. Pack boxes so the weight is distributed evenly so the container is easier to lift.
When packing items such as books or dishes, only fill the boxes partway with these heavy objects. Fill the rest of the box up with lighter items, such as clothing, to keep the weight of the box manageable and to protect fragile items.
5. Treat It Like Exercise
Remember, a move is a lot of exercise. In addition to all the walking you’re doing around your house, you’re doing some weight training as well. Treat the move as any normal workout and warm up beforehand so your muscles aren’t stiff. Stay hydrated, and don’t push yourself too hard. If you’re starting to feel tired or shaky, take a break until you’re feeling better.
Leave any item that you do not feel confident lifting where it is and have the movers take care of it.
For more moving tips, including packing tips for specific common household items, visit our essential moving tips page.