11 Handy Tips and Helpful Products for Moving Heavy Objects

Whether you’re moving a couch or a boulder, a heavy planter or a delicate glass mirror, these heavy-lifting tips will make the job easier.

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Adjustable Moving Straps

Moving and lifting straps (“hump straps”) make lifting heavy furniture and other objects easier on your back by relying on stronger muscle groups like your legs and shoulders. They also leave your hands free to maneuver awkward items like mattresses. However, they can be tricky to use on stairs because the weight shifts completely to the downhill mover. Here are some other hacks for moving heavy furniture.

Look for moving straps that can be adjusted for different length objects as well as for different-sized movers. Be careful not to trip on any slack from the straps.

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Remove the Back from Recliners

To move furniture, you have to know how to take it apart. To lug around big recliners with ease, find the back brackets on the outside or inside of the back frame. Lift the locking levers on both sides (you may need to use long-nose pliers) and slide the back straight up to remove it from the recliner. Always lift a recliner from the sides, not by the back or footrest. Tie the footrest in place so it doesn’t spring open.

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Carpet level view of a modern bedroom chair.
Nickbeer/Getty Images

Take Apart Anything You Can

When you’re lugging a sofa through a doorway, remember: You can always make it a few inches smaller by removing the feet. The same principle applies to any piece of furniture you need to make sleeker or lighter: Take off any and all knobs, drawers, shelves, racks and legs.

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removing a cast iron bath tub with a sledge hammer
Family Handyman

Break Heavy Things into Smaller Pieces

If you need to remove a cast iron tub or get rid of old radiators, it’s next to impossible to just pick up and carry it out. That stuff is too heavy for you and whoever is helping you move. Instead, just bust it up. Use your trusty sledgehammer to smash them into pieces, and carry those smaller pieces out of the house.

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Hallway entrance into a home with a couch in a living room through an open doorway
John Keeble/Getty Images

Remove Door Stop Molding

Sometimes, an extra 1/2 in. is all it takes to get through a doorway. If removing the door doesn’t open up enough space, pry off the molding. That will give you another 3/4 in.

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Use a Ramp

Ramps are useful for just about anything you’re trying to move. They can help you get stuff up and down the stairs, in and out of your truck, over humps and bumps and more. You can fashion a ramp with lumber, scaffold planks and blocks to help maneuver items. Or, if you’re constantly loading things, it might be worth investing in a set to get loaded and unloaded.

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Suction Cup For Glass

Carry Mirrors and Glass with Suction Cups

Available in single and double versions, these FastCap Handle on Demand suction cups can be attached to any nonporous surface. They’re not for unfinished wood surfaces. A single pad can support 100 lbs. and the double pad twice that.

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plastic wrap
Swapan Photography/Shutterstock

Use Stretch Wrap Instead of Tape

Secure appliance doors, cords, tubing and other items with stretch wrap or moving bands rather than bungee cords or tape, which can leave a residue or damage the finish.

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Furniture Slides

Use Furniture Sliders

Furniture sliders help reduce friction, helping you slide heavy stuff along the floor instead of lugging it. You can buy furniture sliders in many shapes and sizes at home centers and online retailers. Use hard plastic sliders for carpeting, and soft, carpeted sliders for hard flooring. Don’t forget to check out our guide to buying furniture.

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Using PVC to move heavy objects

Roll Heavy Objects with PVC Pipe

You’d be amazed how easy it is to move heavy, awkward objects, like rocks and stones, with three pieces of PVC pipe. Move playhouses, yard sheds, empty hot tubs and rocks weighing well over a ton with this trick. Use 4-in.-diameter ‘Schedule 40’ PVC, which is available from home centers. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lift the front edge of the stone with a pry bar and slip two pipes underneath. Place one near the front and one about midway so the stone rests on the pipes.
  • Position the third pipe a foot or two in front of the stone.
  • Roll the stone forward onto the third pipe until the rear pipe comes free. Then move the rear pipe to the front and repeat.

This technique works best on relatively flat ground.

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Family Handyman

Make a Sling to Carry a Mattress

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. Slip a 5-in. piece of 1-in. PVC pipe over the rope ends and then loop and tie each end to create a comfortable sling grip. Flip the mattress over so the sling is on the bottom and you’re on your way.