“The greatest wealth is health.”
Truer words were never spoken because money is useless if we’re too sick to enjoy it.
But this wise quote also pertains to contemporary moving, which is stressful even when things go smoothly.
In short, a safe move is a good move.
Let’s look at how to keep yourself, your helpers, and your family members safe when moving to a new home.
Before we highlight the top moving day safety tips, here are some articles that might help you with your move:
- Hire Professional Movers: Don’t risk injury by moving heavy items yourself. Professional movers know what they’re doing and can save you the chance of hurting yourself and a loved one.
- How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide a free moving quote and calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your move dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
- Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
Brains before Muscle
When it comes to moving, common sense beats brute force every time.
If you and your helpers aren’t up to the task of moving washers, dryers, triple dressers, and heavy boxes safely – don’t.
These days we’re all pinching pennies where we can, but debilitating personal injuries just aren’t worth the money you’ll save doing your move yourself.
Hire a professional moving company
Full-service moves aren’t cheap, but the pros of hiring professionals almost always outweigh the cons.
Depending on your needs and budget, they’ll provide the following services –
- Packing and unpacking
- Appliance disconnects/reconnects (usually done by a third-party company)
- Crating and uncrating
- Furniture disassembly and reassembly
In addition, when hiring movers, you won’t have to worry about driving an awkward moving truck in mountains, cities, rain, or snow.
But here’s the thing…
Finding a reputable mover isn’t easy.
In fact, it’s like the old needle in the haystack analogy.
You could ask friends, coworkers, and family members for referrals and spend hours combing rating websites for companies with verified customer reviews.
Or, you could benefit from the work we’ve already done by hiring one of The Best Interstate Movers of 2021
The most important safety tips when moving
Add personal injuries and property damage to the mix, and the moving process can become an absolute nightmare.
From skinned knees and bloody fingers to crushed toes and broken backs, moving heavy furniture, appliances and boxes can be dangerous.
Even professionals with the right equipment and decades of experience hurt themselves with surprising regularity.
Thankfully most moving injuries are minor.
On the flip side, however, more serious ones can result in –
- Persistent pain
- Lifelong complications
- Huge doctor and hospital bills
Like everyone else with a move on the horizon, you want to know how to avoid common moving injuries?
It’s surprisingly simple.
Moving safely general boils down to –
- Good preparation
- Using common-sense
- Knowing your limitations
- Use proper moving equipment
- Pacing yourself
Moving injuries are much more likely to occur late in the moving day when everyone is tired, hungry, and cranky.
In addition –
- Have a pre-move safety meeting
- Make sure kids and pets are out of the way
- Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast
- Stretch and warm-up before getting to work
- Have plenty of snacks and drinks and take regular breaks
- Have a First Aid kit on hand
- Use the right tools, dollies, and furniture sliders
- Use sturdy moving boxes and/or plastic bins and totes
For safety’s sake, it’s often best to split big moves into two days.
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Safe driving tips
When it comes to DIY move safety, there’s a lot to think about.
Carrying heavy items into and out of apartments, homes, trucks, and storage units can be dangerous.
That said, don’t overlook the dangers involved with driving a clunky moving truck from your old home to your new one.
Even if you’ve survived the loading process unscathed, this can be especially perilous
in unfamiliar areas and bad weather.
When weighing the pros and cons of a DIY vs. a full-service move, consider the rigors of driving a moving truck cross-country.
What safety equipment do you need on a DIY move?
Apart from lots of energy, sufficient know-how, and adequate help, you’ll need the following safety equipment on your next DIY move –
- First Aid kit
- Back braces
- Safety glasses
- Close-toed shoes with grippy soles
- Long pants and long sleeve shirts (you should avoid baggy clothing)
- Furniture, appliance, and box dollies (hand trucks)
- Furniture sliders and moving pads
Did You Know?
In developing countries, movers and construction workers often wear flip-flops, but they should be reserved for the pool and beach on DIY moves.
What are the most common injuries that happen when moving?
Moving injuries usually fall into one of the following five categories –
1. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
Cuts, scrapes, and bruises are part and parcel of the moving process.
Most don’t warrant much more than a Bandaid, but you can often avoid them altogether by wearing gloves, long pants, and shirts with long sleeves.
Be especially wary of fingers, knuckles, forearms, knees, and shins when carrying heavy items through halls and doorways and up and downstairs.
2. Smashed and broken fingers and toes
Many move-related injuries occur when carrying household items in tight quarters.
Whether you’re lugging a large box by yourself or a triple dresser with a helper, they will obstruct much of your view.
This is especially true in halls, doorways, and corners, where most fingers and toes get hurt.
But again, high-quality gloves and close-toed (or steel-toed) footwear are key.
The worst hand injuries occur when fingers are smashed between heavy items like dressers and hard surfaces like walls.
Likewise, the worst foot injuries are usually caused by heavy book boxes, armoires, and refrigerators being dropped.
3. Knee and ankle injuries
Most knee and ankle injuries are caused by missteps made when changing elevation, like going up and downstairs, walking boards into and out of homes, and moving trucks.
Even more so than your hands, the view of your feet and what’s in front of them can be restricted or obscured when carrying bulky items and heavy objects.
One misplaced step could cause serious damage, so make sure your path is clear and take it slow.
In addition, rain and ice can make the moving process even more dangerous.
Wear closed-toe sports shoes with good soles and watch yourself on aluminum walk boards which can become dangerously slick in wet conditions.
4. Back injuries
You’ve heard it a million times – lift with your legs, not your back. It’s true.
Strained backs and even crushed vertebrae can result from lifting heavy items incorrectly.
Proper lifting techniques include –
- Positioning your feet shoulder-width apart
- Keeping your back straight
- Lowering yourself into position with your legs
- Minimizing twisting whenever possible
Always avoid bending at the waist, and if you’re unsure if you can lift and carry something yourself, leave it and go find a helper.
In addition, when possible, wear a high-quality back brace and use moving dollies for cardboard boxes, furniture, and appliances.
Did You Know?
Packing and unpacking are often just as hard on backs as moving because they require lots of stooping, bending, and twisting.
5. Eye injuries
Though they’re not as common as some other moving mishaps, eye injuries are often more serious.
You’re carrying a heavy dish pack down a dark hallway.
It’s late, you’re exhausted, and someone in the kitchen asks if you’re ready for a rest and a bottle of Gatorade.
You look over your shoulder to say, “you bet,” and when you turn back around, you walk face-first into a coat rack.
It may seem like overkill, but safety glasses are at least as important as gloves and footwear.
Did You Know?
Many eyes get poked in cramped and overloaded basements, garages, and attics, as well as in outside areas where tree branches hang at eye level.
Frequently Asked Questions about Moving Safety
How to avoid common moving injuries?
Staying safe while moving is all about working smartly and efficiently, having the right help and equipment, and not biting off more than you can chew.
What is the best way to protect myself from injury when moving?
Hands down, the best way to protect yourself from moving injuries is to hire a professional moving company and to leave the packing, heavy lifting, and driving to them.
What is the importance of following safety tips?
The importance of following safety tips can’t be overstated. Working safely may take a bit longer, but preserving your health, wellness and safety should be a top priority.
Is it OK to carry two or three small boxes at the same time?
Yes, just make sure they don’t obstruct your view or weigh more than your body can manage. When in doubt, carry one box at a time and make multiple trips.
Is it better to pack with paper or bubble wrap?
Packing paper is less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and can protect your fragile items just as well as bubble wrap when used correctly.
An old Irish proverb says –
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
Stay safe during your DIY move, and you’ll have a good laugh and a nice long slumber after it’s all said and done…and you won’t even need a doctor.
There’s no substitute for hiring professional movers when it comes to safety, convenience, and overall value.
You’ll save a few bucks renting a truck, wrangling up helpers, and moving, but one injury can make it all seem like a really bad idea.