Make your move safer and easier by using these techniques and encouraging your family, friends and whoever else is helping you move, to use them as well. A good rule of thumb: a healthy adult male should lift objects no more than 50 pounds, and smaller adults should lift no more than 35 pounds. After all, you don’t want a back injury to ruin your enjoyment of your new home.
Using a hand truck
- Load the hand truck
To load boxes onto a hand truck (or dolly), have a helper tilt the box while you slip the truck’s platform under it. Set the box down and push it snug against the hand truck.
- Strap the load
Secure the load to the hand truck with a strap and ratchet for tightening.
- Brace and lean back
Place your foot against the bottom of the back of the truck, and tip it back until you do not need to either push or pull to keep it steady.
- Moving up and down stairs
Work with a helper when going up or down stairs. Have the helper lift the bottom of the load while you pull on the cart handles.
Using a hump strap
A hump strap (essentially a 16-foot long nylon strap available at moving equipment stores) is great for one person to more easily lift tall boxes or several boxes at once. Here’s how to use it safely and effectively:
- Set the box on top
Try this technique to carry a tall box or several boxes at once. Lay the hump strap on the floor and place the box on top with the strap in the centre. The stack should be near shoulder height; a smaller stack will not work.
- Tie a knot
Wrap the strap around the box and tie a knot just below the top front edge of the box. The knot should be comfortable to hold.
- Lift and carry
Back into the box, bend your knees, and grab the knot behind your neck with one hand. Slowly straighten your legs. Start walking when you feel comfortable, with the load resting on your slightly bent back.
The forearm strap
A forearm strap is a real back saver if you’re doing a major move. It extends your grab beyond your reach, effectively giving you another pair of hands for steadying the load. Working with a helper, place the straps under the piece of furniture or an appliance and adjust the straps so they rest at a comfortable height for your forearms. Both you and your helper should lift together, using only your legs. As you climb a ramp, you can raise your lower your arms to keep the load upright. Straps can be bought online from moving equipment suppliers.
Lift with your legs
The adage “lift with your legs, not your back” is oft repeated for a reason. Bending over and picking up even moderately sized boxes can damage your lower back. You may not even feel it at the time, but you can wake up the next day with pain that will take a long time to go away. As much as possible, keep your back straight and use your legs to lower and raise your body. You may choose to wear a waist belt to prevent hernias.
This simple technique is especially helpful when moving an appliance through a doorway where there is little clearance on each side. Have a helper tilt the appliance back while you slip a blanket under all the legs. Set the appliance back down and pull on the blanket to move it. This technique also works well for moving items inside the truck.