A tall dresser, filing cabinet or shelving unit is awkward to handle. Make it a two-person job. Tip the item backward at an angle and have one person carry the top while the other carries the bottom. This centers the weight and keeps the item from swinging out of control. Transporting the item up or down stairs is easier too, since the carrying angle will roughly match the slope of the stairs.
“I had to move a heavy, bulky TV down the stairs by myself before the floor guys came to strip the floors. I cobbled together four 10-ft. 2x6 boards to make a ramp. I wiggled the TV onto some carpet scraps (carpet side down) at the top of the stairs. I then got a climbing rope and looped it around the TV, looped the other end around my truck axle outside and lowered the TV down the stairs that way until I reached the bottom. Beautiful!”
Brian Gray, Field Editor
Construct a simple ramp from pieces of lumber or scaffolding planks to help maneuver big stuff up and down stairs and into your pickup. If you're moving heavy items by yourself, consider securing the item with rope tied to some sort of immovable anchor, which will allow you to lower or raise a heavy item and avoid a runaway disaster.
If you ever have to maneuver a couch down a hallway and through a door, you may find it almost impossible to carry it horizontally and make the turn into the room. Before you enter the hallway, place the couch on its end and slide it to the doorway. You'll almost always be able to hook it (see the 2nd tip above) through the door. If it's a bit taller than the door opening, start the top away from the door and gain several inches of clearance.
Moving and lifting straps (aka “hump straps”) take the weight off your back by relying on leverage and large muscle groups. They also leave your hands free to maneuver awkward items. However, they can be tricky to use on stairs because the weight shifts completely to the downhill mover.
You can buy furniture slides in many shapes and sizes at home centers and online. It's also easy to make your own sliders from plastic container covers, Frisbees, bedspreads, moving blankets, towels and carpet remnants. Use hard plastic sliders for carpeting, and soft, padded sliders for hard flooring.
Moving blankets are invaluable for protecting the items you're moving as well as your house. Sure, renting them is cheap, but you can buy several for just a few dollars more at home centers or uhaul.com and always have them on hand. (You'll use them for all kinds of other things too.) To prevent damaging the finish and fragile edges of dressers, tables and other furniture, wrap the items completely with moving blankets and secure the blanket with stretch film. Find 20-in. wide rolls of stretch film at home centers and moving outfitters.
Trying to wrestle a heavy, floppy mattress anywhere is tough. Many mattresses have handles, but they're not intended for carrying. They're actually made to help you position the mattress, so they're not very strong. Here's an easier way to carry a mattress: Make a simple rope sling that will give you and your helper a lot more control. Thread the rope through the mattress handles and attach your grips as shown. Flip the mattress over so the sling is on the bottom and you're on your way.
Remove the fabric covering (the most tedious part of this whole process is removing the staples) and place the box spring face down. Pull back the mattress cover along each side and cut through the frame just to the left or right of the middle crosspiece (don't cut through the crosspiece itself). Do this on both sides and in the center.
Is your box spring too big to fit in your stairway or around a tight corner? You could buy a “split” box spring designed specifically for this (and pay several hundred bucks) or cut your existing box spring and fold it so it fits. Sound extreme? There's actually a simple, ingenious way to cut and fold your box spring without wrecking it.
If you're moving to a new house, decide beforehand which furniture will go where. Before you move, sketch a floor plan with the correct measurements of each room, measure your furniture and create your layout. Then, as you move things in, you (or your helpers, if you're not there) can place your furniture in the correct spot and not have to touch it again. To make it easy on the movers, tape a copy of the plan to the wall of each room so people can tell at a glance where things go.