How to Move Heavy Items Safely
Whether moving into a new home or downsizing, heavy lifting is an unavoidable part of the process. However, doing so improperly can cause severe injury and damage to your belongings.
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Taking time to lift heavy items properly can help prevent injuries and make moving easier. Here are five tips to keep in mind when moving heavy objects:
Know the Weight: Whether moving a bulky piece of furniture from a client’s storage unit to their home or shipping a heavy set of encyclopedias, you must know how to move these items safely. Otherwise, they could become damaged during transit or cause you to injure yourself or others during the process.
The first step is to determine the weight of your item or items. You can do this by weighing them on a scale or measuring their dimensions with tape. This way, you can calculate their weight and plan accordingly for the journey.
To further prepare yourself, choose suitable clothing and shoes. Avoid flip-flops or high heels; opt for closed-toed shoes that won’t restrict your movements. Clear a pathway by pushing any blankets, boxes, dog toys, or other objects out. This will make it much easier for you to move the heavy item. It will also prevent tripping and falling during the transportation process. This is especially important when transporting an item up or down stairs. If the incline is too steep, consider using a ramp to help you lift it.
Disassemble the Item: When a piece of furniture has too many components that make it too heavy or bulky to fit through doorways and hallways at the place you’re living, or when it’s too large to be moved as one unit, it can be disassembled for easier and safer transport. Before you start taking apart bulky pieces, however, it’s essential to take some measurements. Measure doors, hallways and corners to ensure you can maneuver the item on a moving day.
Gathering the right equipment for dismantling furniture items is also a good idea. This includes sealable plastic storage bags or small containers for keeping screws and other small parts together so they don’t get lost, a screwdriver and any manuals that came with the furniture.
It’s also a good idea to clean the furniture you’re working on, especially if it’s dusty or has dirt and other grime. This will help prevent slippage and potential injuries during the dismantling process. Using a vacuum cleaner on larger furniture pieces can also help remove dirt and dust that may be stuck in the crevices or grooves of the furniture.
Wrap It Up: Whether you’re moving your belongings or a client’s, it can be challenging to maneuver heavy items without damaging them. Protecting your furniture and other items before the move is always a good idea with protective blankets, bubble wrap, and other wrapping materials. It’s also a good idea to remove drawers and other components from large pieces of furniture before packing them up. This can reduce their weight and make it easier to move them. Trapping an “X” over any glass surfaces and mirrors before packing them up would be best. This will help keep shattered glass in place in case of an accident.
Clear the Path: Whether moving furniture from the curb to the truck, shipping items from a storage unit or moving something out of a client’s home, creating an unobstructed path will make things easier. This means clearing any obstacles, such as a torn carpet or a puddle, that could cause you to decrease your balance and drop the item. It also means making sure the area around the thing is clear of anything that may get in your way, such as boxes, kids’ toys or pets.
Removing parts on large, bulky items, such as protruding handles or drawers from furniture, will make it lighter during transport and may help you navigate obstacles like doorways and stairwells. This can also decrease the risk of damage, as a lessened weight will make it harder to scrape against walls or floors.
Before you lift a heavy item, walk the planned route to ensure it is clear of slip, trip or fall hazards, such as open filing cabinets, spills and extension cords. You should also notify co-workers or family members of your plan so they don’t unexpectedly step into the path of your moving item.
Push Instead of Pull: We all need to push and pull things occasionally – moving boxes into a truck, picking up a piece of furniture for a client or vacuuming the floor. Using the proper technique can make it easier to maneuver large items without damaging them or hurting yourself.
For example, don’t lift heavy items by gripping them. This places a lot of strain on your back and arms. Instead, crouch down to get the object close to your body and then use your legs to push it forward. It’s also best not to lift something over your head if you can avoid it. If you need to reach something high, grab a step stool.
Other tips for pushing and pulling include avoiding twists, which can stretch muscles, and wearing work gloves to prevent injuries from sharp or jagged edges. Use ramps to lower the height of a load and reduce the amount of lifting required. Putting items on rollers makes moving them much more accessible and reduces friction between them and floors or other surfaces.
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