House removals: Moving awkward or heavy items
From sofas and white goods, to flat-screen TVs and pianos, moving those beloved belongings out of your old home and into your new one requires planning, care, and the right equipment.
Here’s the Master Removers’ special guide designed to help reduce the wiggling, save the skirting and generally make your move a less awkward and heavy experience…
Get the gear
Firstly, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment to help you move your items safely and efficiently.
Trolleys and dollies
If you’re looking to move large pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes and cupboards, a furniture dolly (a flat-based trolley on wheels) is a must. You may also need to use a utility trolley for other items. You will need a good supply of moving blankets, furniture pads and strong packing tape to cushion and protect your possessions, as well as a range of quality ropes and straps for moving and securing them. Oh, and don’t forget the tape measure!
An established removals company, such as a Master Remover, should be able to supply everything you need – and if it all seems a bit too daunting, remember your removals company can take care of everything on your behalf, saving you time, energy and hassle. It’s helpful to make them aware of any particularly awkward items ahead of time, so they can factor them into the move.
Wrap and disassemble
To make moving your items as easy, safe and trouble-free as possible, take off any removable parts, such as legs from furniture, and wrap them separately.
Disassemble beds and sofas as far as possible and put any pieces (such as handles or screws) in a labelled bag and secure this to the frame. Remove drawers from furniture where they are too heavy or unstable, and secure any drawers and doors which are staying put by either locking them or tying them shut.
Furniture should be protected with moving blankets and furniture pads – paying particular attention to the edges and corners. Using furniture slides or a piece of carpet attached to your furniture when moving it will also help to minimise any scratching. Glass doors or mirrored surfaces should be carefully wrapped and padded.
Don’t put your back into it
Secondly, it’s vital to plan ahead. If you want to make sure you, your house and your prized possessions remain in one piece, it’s important to follow some basic rules.
Plan a route
You should plan exactly where your items are going, and which route they will be taking. Doing this ahead of time will minimise the amount of physical manoeuvring, and will help you to identify any obstacles or hazards along the way, such as loose carpets, narrow doorways, tight angles or poorly lit spaces, and any ramps or steps.
Phone a friend
When moving tall, awkward or very heavy items, you should always bring in somebody else to help you. You will need to enlist extra assistance when moving items down stairs and up the ramp into the van, so arrange this with family or friends ahead of time. And don’t forget to put someone on furniture watch to make sure that your prized oak bookcase is going to make it around that bend!
Getting big sofas through small gaps
So you’re ready to go – but just how do you get your sofa through that doorway? The first rule of thumb is … don’t use your thumb – as with all large or awkward items, you should begin by carefully measuring the couch, and then measuring the space you need to get it through. It’s generally best to stand the couch on its end, with the bottom section facing the doorway, and then – enlist the help of friends or family for this bit – tilt the sofa so that the back and bottom form a ‘V’ shape. Now (and this is the fun part) slide the sofa through so that it ‘curls’ around the doorway.
If the couch really won’t fit through the gap, and you’ve tried removing the cushions, feet and any other removable parts, it may be necessary to either disassemble the sofa or remove the door and/or doorframe, or seek another way out of the building. If you’re unsure, it’s best to have a chat with your removals company, who will be experienced in this area.
Large appliances and white goods
Large appliances, such as fridge-freezers, ovens and washing machines, offer their own particular challenges, not least of which is their sheer weight and bulk. The first thing to do is to unplug them ahead of time, and give them a good clean. In the case of fridge-freezers, make sure they have plenty of time to defrost and dry out. If you have a gas oven to disconnect, it’s best to call in a professional.
Once everything has been cleaned and dried, pack away any loose parts (such as racking), tape any doors closed, and tape the power cords securely to the back of the machine. We do not recommend placing items in the drum except the hoses from the machine.
Remember, when lifting any heavy or bulky items, you should always bend your knees. Tilt the item at an angle, with one person holding the top and the other supporting the bottom. You may want to use moving straps, which will help to support the weight of the item while manoeuvering it onto a dolly or sack barrow.
Moving flat-screen TVs
Large electrical items such as flat-screen TVs are fragile as well as awkward. Ideally, you should keep hold of the original packaging where possible. However, if you don’t have it, you can improvise by wrapping your TV in a combination of cardboard, blankets or moving pads and then covering this with strong packing tape – and don’t forget the ‘fragile’ label!
Carefully manoeuvre the TV onto a trolley, and make sure it is properly secured. Remember to keep it upright, and to position it next to other large items in the van, and away from any sharp objects.
Piano moving really is a specialist activity and you’re much better calling in an expert. But the first rule when moving a piano is to take it ‘softly, softly’. You will need moving straps and a furniture dolly, padding and blankets, as well as some trusted helpers.
Close the lid and either lock it or secure it by wrapping it shut. Wrap the piano itself in padding and secure this with tape (never use tape directly on the piano itself). You should aim to keep the piano upright at all times. Do not lift your piano by its legs – place a moving strap on each corner to lift the piano onto the dolly, and secure it in place.
Pianos are heavy on the bass side which is on the left side. So look to pivot on the corner when transferring to a dolly or piano wheels.
Ultimately, moving awkward and very heavy items can be a difficult and potentially hazardous experience, and at the end of the day it’s often best to talk to your removals company, who should have in place a finely-tuned process.
As experienced Master Removers, our teams are used to moving items of all shapes and sizes. We will help to ensure that all your possessions – no matter how big or challenging – arrive safely at your new home, with a minimum of fuss. So with your sofa and flat-screen TV safely in situ, you can relax and enjoy your new home!