For many people, rallying friends and family is the go-to reality when it comes to moving house. Many people think that they possess the skills and access to the manpower that makes moving easy without first assessing the potential for moving awkward, heavy items – only to find themselves nursing a sore lower back for the next week.
However, of course it can be done. As professional movers, we’re not oblivious to the DIYers out there who dedicate themselves to doing the grunt work. So in the interest of helping those of you who choose to move yourselves, we’ve compiled some of the top safety gear and products we sometimes employ to help us during a move.
At the end of the day, the true spirit of moving is one of kinship – we aim to create this type of relationship with all of our clients, and know full-well that the friends and family who show up ready to exert themselves on your moving day are prime examples of just that.
As the old saying goes: knowledge is power. Knowing how to move and lift heavy items is your best weapon against a sore back, pulled muscles, or over-exerting yourself first thing in the morning.
Movers are well versed in how to lift, but many of your friends and family may not be, and if you lack the equipment to help you, brute strength is going to be your go-to.
First, plan your lift and know where you’re going. This could mean clearing a path down the stairs and out the door, and into the truck. If you neglect that tip, you’ll find yourself stopping and starting more than necessary, and more lifting opens the door for potential injury.
Lift close to your body so you benefit from all of your strength. Lifting close will also give you the benefit of added stability and balance. Make sure you get a good grip as well with your hands at least shoulder width apart.
Place your feet shoulder width apart as well to give yourself a solid base from which to lift. Keep your back straight to avoid a lower back strain, and bend your knees instead. The majority of your lifting strength is going to come from your core and legs, so use them!
Finally, – the step we all hear – lift with your legs, not your back muscles. Your legs are infinitely stronger than your back, after all, they carry you around all day with ease. Work smarter, not harder.
There are many different iterations of moving dollies that are great for moving and lifting huge, heavy objects with relative ease. Dollies are a movers best friend for their utility, user-friendliness, and their back-saving power. They’re the go-to tool for moving fridges, stoves, washers & dryers, even the odd dresser.
You’ll use an appliance dolly by first squaring up the tongue of the dolly underneath the piece that’s being moved. Then, use a moving strap or ratchet strap to secure the piece to the upright handle of the dolly. Once the load is secure, place your foot on the axle of the dolly and use your body weight to pull the piece back; having someone balance the load from the front is a good way to stabilize the lift.
When tilted back, heavy objects suddenly become light and maneuverable – all thanks to the simple mechanics of a moving fulcrum. Dollies can be rented from a local moving company, or purchased at any local hardware store.
Wearing steel-toe boots on moving day is a great idea for a few reasons; namely saving your toes from being crushed by a heavy and awkward piece of furniture that could come crashing down on you at a split-second’s notice.
Steel toe boots are required equipment for professional movers because they massively reduce the severity of injuries to your feet. According to a study from the National Safety Council, only 25% of workers wear protective footwear, even though the foot is arguably the most important part of the body you’ll need for a move!
Steel-toes can be purchased as a traditional steel insert, or a modern composite that’s much lighter by comparison. The bonus being, you won’t feel as though you’re wearing weighted boots all day long. Safety footwear will come in handy outside of moving as well, and are useful for camping, hiking, and all sorts of physically demanding activities.
Belts & Gloves
Investing in, or borrowing extra wearable safety equipment can minimize the chances of injury exponentially. Many people think that wearing safety gloves takes away from their ability to feel what they’re doing, and that gloves can be slippery, uncomfortable and get in the way of a good grip, but statistics show that up to 60% of workplace injuries are reduced when people wear protective gloves. Work gloves are inexpensive and most feature grip-improving palms that help you move and lift difficult objects.
Belts for moving help to stabilize your midsection and core when lifting heavy objects and help to reduce injury to your lower back by stabilizing your spine. They also help to improve your lifting posture, helping to teach practices of good lifting. You may even recognize a similar product at your local gym, where power lifters employ belts to help them make gains to their lifting prowess.
When undertaking a move with your family and friends, ask that they all bring with them a pair of safety boots, work gloves. Go out of your way to rent or borrow a dolly and be sure to practice and read up on how to properly lift before getting down to work. Taking the time to prepare and learn about the best practices of professional movers can help you to reduce injury, and maximize the ease of moving.
Better yet – give your local moving company a call to ask for a few helpful tips. As we said, no one likes to see someone get hurt and moving is all about building kinship. A good moving company should be happy to help out however they can.