How to Move Heavy Furniture

Move furniture items like a boss with these pro tips

Moving Heavy Furniture…

It isn’t easy, and in some cases it can be downright dangerous.

That said, with:

  • Planning
  • Finesse
  • And the right equipment

You should be able to take care of MOST of it DIY.

But be warned, there are some things best left to the pros.

You can hire movers to just move one item.

See the best professional movers for you.

Here we’re talking about 800-pound safes, 12-person hot tubs, and grand pianos in tiny 3rd-floor lofts.

But as the saying goes, for nearly everything else…

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Think. Plan. Sketch

You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, and you shouldn’t move without one either.

Before so much as lifting a nightstand, measure your largest pieces of furniture and the rooms in your new home.

With this vital information, you’ll be able to decide where everything goes before move day.


  • Sketch a floor plan for each room

On the big day, spend a few minutes familiarizing the crew with your system.

And don’t forget to tape your drawings on the wall just outside each room – it’ll help ensure the furniture ends up exactly where you want it.

Insider’s Tip: Weather permitting, stack boxes on the driveway (or in the garage) until most of the big furniture is inside your new home or apartment. A box-free residence is much easier (and safer) to navigate for movers.

Some Disassembly Required

Conventional wisdom says that – TIME IS MONEY

Hence, disassembling furniture should be avoided at all cost by penny-pinching families on the move, right?

Wrong, because in the end if you dissassemble you will:

  • Lessen the likelihood of damaging your home and furniture
  • Reduce the chance of injury
  • Minimize overall move time

Everyone knows that beds, tables, dresser mirrors, entertainment centers, and home gyms need to be broken down.

But also consider removing sofa legs and refrigerator doors, as well as handles and knobs from cabinets, chests of drawers, and wardrobes.

Protect Furniture With Blankets, Plastic Wrap, or Both

Wrapping items with moving blankets and shrink wrap before carrying them onto the truck is a great way to reduce damage to your furniture and home.

On the downside, pads can make it difficult to get a good grip.

By applying a layer of shrink wrap over them however, you’ll get a snug fit and a tacky surface to hold onto.

Upholstered furniture like sofas, loveseats and overstuffed chairs should always be shrink wrapped to prevent tears, but keep in mind that –

Applying shrink wrap (and tape) directly onto a wood surface may permanently damage the finish.

Slide Instead of Dragging or Carrying

Furniture sliders have become all the rage in recent years.

They’re available nearly everywhere, and come in tons of shapes and sizes to fit most applications.

They’re most often used for changing furniture placement within a home, but they’re helpful when moving too.

Did You Know?

You can save a few bucks by making your own sliders from old carpet remnants, plastic container lids, cardboard and rags.

Carry Tall and Bulky Items Up High and Down Low

What do refrigerators, wardrobes, and 4-drawer filing cabinets have in common?

First, they’re tall and heavy objects.

Second, they should always be moved by two people.

To tackle them safely:

  • Position someone on either side
  • Carefully tip the top over about 45 degrees
  • One person grips and lifts from the upper end
  • The other from the bottom

It seems counterintuitive, but this actually centers the weight of the furniture and makes it more stable while being carried.

This is especially true when going up and down stairs, because the item’s incline will closely match the stairway’s slope.

Just remember to:

  • Secure refrigerator doors with bands or cloth straps (if you haven’t removed them)
  • Make sure filing cabinet drawers are empty and facing up

‘Hook’ L-Shape Items Through Doors and Around Corners

Easy chairs and recliners (see below) are among the most difficult items to move without dinging walls, tearing upholstery and smashing fingers.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

In fact, there’s a simple way to use their awkward shape to your advantage.

3 Easy Steps:

  1. Carry easy chairs and recliners on their sides, with one person at either end
  2. The person carrying the back should go through the door or around the corner first
  3. Once through, he (or she) turns or ‘hooks’ to one side, after which the larger bottom portion will follow naturally with plenty of room to spare

It’s so easy, you might ask yourself… “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Insider’s Tip: When moving recliners with spring-loaded footrests, it may be best to remove the top. It’s often as easy as finding the mounting brackets on the frame and removing a few screws. Then, the top will usually slide right out. Remember to secure the footrest with mover’s bands or twine before moving it.

Get Up Stand Up

Though Bob Marley’s classic, Get Up Stand Up was inspired by pressing social issues, it’s title applies to moving sofas as well.

Sofas and couches fit down most hallways and stairways relatively easily, but getting them through doorways and around corners can be frustrating to say the least.

But yet again there’s an easy solution… Standing them on their ends.

  1. Fold a moving pad into a large square and place it on the floor in front of the door or corner you’re trying to navigate.
  2. With a partner, stand the offending couch on its end so it’s resting on the pad.
  3. Next, position one person on either side.
  4. Last, one person pulls the pad while the other pushes gently from the other side, twisting the back slightly through the opening like with the aforementioned easy chair example.

If the sofa is taller than the door frame, try inclining it slightly. You may gain just enough clearance to get it through.

  • Use the Right Equipment
  • Shoulder (hump) straps
  • Shoulder straps are long durable slings (usually made from nylon) that professional movers use to carry everything from boxes and dressers to refrigerators and washing machines.

They’re especially handy when two people are using the high-low carrying method because they free up the hands and spread the load over the chest, forearms, and shoulders.

They come in handy when moving floppy mattresses and bulky box springs too.

Instead of using the handles (which aren’t designed for carrying), set the strap on the floor underneath each piece when it’s resting vertically, grab the end, and lift with your legs.

With a partner, it’s a piece of cake.

Appliance Dollies

Though they’re similar to box dollies, appliance or furniture dollies are stronger, have smaller wheels, and include ratchet straps that secure appliances when they’re being moved.

They’re also great for filing cabinets, wardrobes, and triple dressers, just pad them carefully beforehand to avoid scratches and gouges.

4-Wheel Dollies

4-wheel dollies are best used for things like hot tubs and safes, as well as other heavy items too big for appliance dollies.

They’re commonly used for moving pianos too, but unless you’re a professional mover with gobs of experience, this can be dangerous.

They need relatively hard and flat surfaces to roll properly, so for outdoor use you’ll have to use thick sheets of plywood if the ground is soft or wet.