The Ultimate Guide to Moving Heavy Furniture

The Ultimate Guide to Moving Heavy Furniture

Man lifting a heavy couch on his own

If you’re moving, odds are that you have heavy furniture. If you’re a DIY mover, odds are that you may be looking for some tips on how to move the heavy furniture you have yourself. Planning a DIY move can be stressful. There’s planning, packing, and, finally, moving. We all love our couches for giving us a comfy place to lay when we’re binging our favorite TV shows, but we might not love them as much as we try and lift them out the door. Don’t sweat… at least not yet, that is. We’ve got the know-how you need in order to move your heavy furniture like a pro. However, we don’t have the muscles so you’ll have to bring them with you on moving day.

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The basics for moving heavy furniture

There are three basic rules for moving heavy furniture. Actually, these rules apply to moving just about any item. They should be taken into consideration before doing anything else with your heavy furniture.

Measure

Measure, measure, measure! This is the first and (in my opinion) the most important step. As we said before, you may love your couch, but you may not love it when you’ve pushed it all the way to your front door to realize that it is not going to fit. In order to prevent disasters like this from happening always measure first.

Person measuring a table.

Pro tip: Measure everything

Measuring items is truly an important step. However, it’s also important to measure other things in your house, besides just the furniture itself. Measure doorframes, hallways, and paths you have cleared for your move. If you plan on moving your heavy furniture through it, make sure that it is measured to ensure that your furniture will fit. This will save you time (and stress!) on the day of your move.

Plan your route

After you’ve measured your item(s) and all of the obstacles you will have to maneuver them through, you’re ready for the next step. First, decide the easiest way to move your furniture to your desired location. Usually, this is near a moving truck, or empty storage space, such as the garage. Next, plan the route you will take, and make sure that everyone helping move the furniture is on the same page. Then, you’ll be ready for step three.

Clear a path

After you’ve planned your route, it’s important to clear a path. This means that all of the items that can get caught under your feet, such as boxes, left out tape, bulky furniture that has yet to be moved, etc. should be moved to the sides of the room.

Heavy furniture disassembling tips

If you hire movers, they often will disassemble any items that you ask them to. When you’re planning a DIY move, you may have to do this step yourself. Finding the original disassembly guide for your heavy furniture will be helpful. However, if you no longer have that guide (like most of us) we’ve got some tips for you.

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Keep track of nuts and bolts

Disassembling heavy furniture means that you may be dealing with lots of little nuts, bolts, and screws. It’s important to keep these things together in order to properly reassemble your furniture once you’ve moved into your new home. Attaching the nuts, bolts, etc. back into the furniture pieces as soon as they are disassembled into parts is a great way of making sure that no pieces go missing. Additionally, you can place the small pieces of your disassembled furniture into individual plastic bags that are labeled to match which furniture they belong to. Make sure that the bags are labeled, and keep them together in their own box.

Remove drawers

Removing drawers from nightstands and dressers will make your heavy furniture lighter. Also, it will make them easier to carry. Then, after removing the drawers, pack them separately.

Person removing drawers from heavy dresser.

Only disassemble what you have to

Disassembling heavy furniture can seem like a difficult task. It’s important to remember that you only need to disassemble your furniture to the point that you can fit it through whatever exit point you are using. Often, that means that only the legs of furniture need to be removed. Measuring your items carefully will help you know how much of your heavy furniture to disassemble.

Pro tip: Leave wobbly, damaged, or unwanted furniture

We all have items in our house that may be a bit worse for wear. Save yourself time and energy by donating these items, or by simply throwing them away if they are too unstable. Additionally, this will give you more room in your moving truck. Oftentimes, furniture kits that we have assembled at home by ourselves are not very stable. This is because take-home assembly kits are designed to make a piece of furniture that will stay sedentary for its lifespan. Be sure that all of the furniture you pack will be a good fit for your new home.

The basics for wrapping heavy furniture

Wrapping heavy furniture is essential to making sure it stays clean, protected, and scratch-free during the moving process. You should begin to wrap your furniture after you have done all of your measurements. Additionally, you may want to measure your heavy furniture once more after it is wrapped if there are any close calls in your moving plan, as the furniture will be a bit wider when covered.

What is a moving blanket?

A moving blanket is essentially a large, thick piece of fabric designed to cover furniture in order to protect it from scratches and nicks. This makes them ideal for moves. To learn more about them, check out our blog for more in-depth details.

A folded blue moving blanket.

How do I wrap my furniture?

Wrapping heavy furniture is relatively easy. First, lay your moving blanket over whatever furniture item you are wanting to wrap. Next, make sure the moving blanket covers all areas of your item in order to make sure it is fully protected. Larger items, such as dining room tables, headboards, large bookshelves, etc. may need two or three moving blankets in order to be fully covered. Then, tape the blankets around your furniture to secure it, or try wrapping them in plastic wrap. Plastic wrap can be particularly helpful if you have bad weather in your area, or if there may be rain on the day of your move, as it will help keep moisture off of the moving blankets and away from your furniture.

Chairs wrapped with moving blankets and secured with tape.

How many moving blankets do I need?

The number of moving blankets you need depends on the number of items you want to have protected by them. A good rule of thumb is to have one moving blanket for every item that you plan to cover. Remember, larger items may need more than one moving blanket as a standard moving blanket is about 72 x 54 inches. Make sure that these dimensions are enough to cover your heavy furniture items.

Pro tip: Do a walkthrough

Walking through your house and tallying up how many items you want to cover with moving blankets is a good way to measure out how many you need. At the end of your walkthrough, count up how many tally marks you put down and you will have a good estimate. Also, writing down the names of the items you wish to wrap in moving blankets will help you remember which items you decided to wrap come moving day.

Where can I buy moving blankets?

Luckily, there are a lot of places for us to buy moving blankets. Some of the stores are:

Can I rent moving blankets?

Yes! There are some companies that offer moving blanket rentals, although they are few in number. Keep in mind that moving blankets that have been used as rentals may have tears and frays due to their high usage and that they may not be able to protect your heavy furniture as well as intact ones. Moving blankets can be rented from:

  • Uhaul: Prices start at $5 for 6 furniture pads of standard size
  • Budget: 3 x 5 ft. blankets in packs of 12
  • Penske: 4 x 6 ft. in packs of 12

How do I move heavy furniture through doorways?

After your furniture is wrapped and your moving plans have been made, it’s time to get your heavy furniture out the door. We have some tips to help make that happen as easy as possible.

Angling

It’s all about the angles! If your heavy furniture is struggling to make it through the doorway, try changing the angle. Let’s use a couch for example. Tilting the couch at a 45-degree angle, with the front edge of the seat cushion lifted slightly up, and the back of the couch tilted slightly back, will actually place the couch in the narrowest position. Trying different angles and forward and backward combinations will help you move your heavy furniture through the doorway, and one step closer to your moving truck.

Two men angling a heavy piece of furniture through a doorway.

Curling

Curling is a technique that requires the furniture to be moved in a circular-like manner in order to help it pass through a doorway. Let’s return to the couch example. In order to curl your couch through a doorway, there are some steps you should follow. First, lay a blanket on the floor beneath where you are going to be placing the couch. Next, move the top back edge of the couch through the doorway slightly, and then curl the couch around the doorway towards the seat cushions. This should allow you to slip the rest of the couch through the door.

Two men curling a heavy chair though a door.

Detaching

If you just need a few extra inches in order to get your heavy furniture through a doorway, detaching is a great option. To do this, simply remove the legs of the furniture item. Don’t forget to store the legs, along with any hardware you took off of them in the detaching process, in labeled plastic bags.

How do I move heavy furniture up and down stairs?

If you live in a house or apartment that has stairs, this can make your DIY move a bit more challenging. This is where you may need to bring in some of that extra muscle we talked bout.

You will need at least one other person to help you move your heavy furniture up and down a flight of stairs. After you have two people, your heavy furniture item, and have measured the stairwell to ensure that it is wide enough, you’re ready to follow the simple steps.

Two men carrying a heavy couch upstairs.

Plan the route

First, plan the route you are going to take down the stairs and make sure it is clear of any items that may get in your way. Then, make sure you have an end destination established for the couch, such as the garage or near the moving truck.

Pick up the heavy furniture

Have you and your moving buddy stand on opposite sides of the heavy furniture item. Whoever is stronger, or whichever side has more people lifting in case you have more than one helper, should be the one at the lower end of the couch. This person will be holding up more weight when moving the heavy furniture item. Lift the furniture item up at the same time, then carry it down (or up) the stairs.

Use blankets for sliding

When sliding your heavy piece of furniture around corners or across landings, make sure to put a blanket down first. This will ensure that your item and floors stay safe from scuffs and scrapes.

Pro tip: Take breaks

Carrying a heavy piece of furniture up or down stairs can take a lot of strength and energy. Be sure to take breaks whenever you need to during the moving process. First, communicate to your partner that you need a break and then set the item down on the stairs and rest. Tell your partner when you are ready to continue.

What tools are helpful for moving heavy furniture?

Lucky for all of us, there are some tools that can help us move our heavy furniture. These tools have wheels and will help relieve your arm and back muscles from more strain. We’ve laid out the three main types of dollies and hand trucks that you may want to think about adding to your moving checklist. To learn more about these items, check out our guide on how to use them.

4 wheeler

A 4 wheeler is a heavy-duty platform that has four wheels. It is ideal for moving heavy furniture items over long, flat distances. Make sure your item is placed firm and steady in the middle of the platform and then you can push your heavy furniture wherever it needs to go.

4 Wheeler dolly.

Hand truck

A hand truck has two wheels, and a long metal plate on the bottom to help you scoop up whatever heavy piece of furniture you are moving. It also has a tall supportive backing that allows you to rest whatever you are moving up against it for additional support as you wheel it around. They are great for nightstands, bookshelves, and moving heavy boxes.

Blue hand truck.

Appliance dolly

An appliance dolly is very similar to a hand truck. Essentially, it is a heavy-duty version that comes with a strap that allows you to better secure your heavy appliances to the back of the dolly. It’s perfect for moving refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.

Blue appliance dolly for moving furniture.

Can I rent these tools?

Yes! Many dollies and wheels can be rented to help you move and can be found at places such as:

  • HomeDepot (starting at $14 for 4 hours)
  • Uhaul (starting at $7 for in-town rental)
  • Lowes ($19 for 4 hours)

What if I decide to hire professional movers instead?

If you’ve been planning a DIY move in your head, but the thought of moving all of your heavy furniture by yourself seems daunting, don’t worry. Luckily, there are other options. Hiring professional movers may be a good investment for your move if you can’t (or simply don’t want to) dedicate the time and energy it takes to move all of your heavy furniture yourself. It can save you all kinds of stress, both physically and mentally, and will ensure that your furniture arrives ready for your new home.

Aubrey graduated from UCLA in 2019 with dual degrees in English and Psychology, as well as receiving a concentration in Fiction Creative Writing. Her writing can be found at Locale Magazine, UCLA's MindWell pod, HerCampus, Westwind, and Bloody Donuts. Aubrey currently lives in Los Angeles with her orange tabby cat, Bowie, and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on and soaking up the golden California sun. You can find her hiking the Laguna trails, making jewelry, or exploring the local library.