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How to Move Safely: 20 Tips

Do you know how to move safely? It seems like it should be simple, but it can be difficult to answer. Moving is long, hard work and there are a million little things that can go wrong. You have to consider avoiding injury, keeping your stuff protected from potential thieves and how easy it is to overlook something when dealing with such a stressful task.

Here are tips to help keep you from getting injured when moving.

1. Do your stretches first

Even if it feels ridiculous, spend a good amount of time stretching before you get started moving things. Stretch out your arms and legs to avoid cramps later on, and take occasional breaks throughout the day to stay stretched out.

2. Have a good plan

The best way to counteract the effect of stress is to know what you're doing beforehand. Have a rough plan of what things you're moving when, how you start setting up things in the new apartment and any complications you might foresee. You don't have to follow it perfectly, but having a plan to fall back on when you get stressed and have trouble making a decision is an important part of staying on track.

3. Pack boxes light

Don't find the biggest box you can and pack it full of books so you can get it all done at once - that's not going to end well. Heavy boxes make it really likely that you're going to pull a muscle or drop it on your foot or otherwise cause injury. It's okay for it to be heavy but try to avoid anything that you actively struggle to lift.

4. Wrap sharp items carefully

Picture dropping a bunch of knives, point down, falling towards your feet. Don't let that happen - wrap up sharp items well enough that something like that won't happen.

5. Keep pathways clear

It's hard enough walking while carrying a heavy table. Don't make it harder on yourself by leaving small items you have to step over on the floor.

6. Get sleep the night before

Is this too obvious? Maybe, but it's important. If you don't sleep, you'll be sluggish and not thinking clearly, a danger you don't want when moving lots of heavy objects.

7. Use good tools

A handcart and tools for assembling furniture are the minimum you should have. If you have the time and money, make sure you have higher quality ones. The better they are, the better they'll work and therefore the less likely something is to go wrong in the process.

8. Mind your back

Lift with your knees, not your back. Repeat that. Practice it. Lift with your knees. Lifting heavy boxes with your back will cause problems, so use your back as little as possible when moving.

9. Wear comfortable but not loose clothing

You want to be comfortable enough to move around freely. Clothing that's too loose, however, can easily get caught on something, leading to a whole different problem. Wear something in the sweet spot of comfortable but not loose.

10. Wear solid shoes

Your shoes can be the only barrier between a dropped object and your feet. While they can't protect you from everything, that can be the difference between mild pain and a broken toe.

11. Keep a first aid kit nearby

If someone does get injured, have something you can use to treat it. Your basic household first aid kit should be good for this, so make sure you have it and hope you don't have to use it.

12. Eat and drink throughout the day

It's easy to get caught up in the work and adrenaline rush, but eventually that runs out. You don't want to be running on fumes when that happens, so make sure to eat and drink so your body has some real fuel to run on.

13. Keep kids and pets away

This can be dangerous to everyone. Kids and pets can be injured by what you're moving or get in the way while you're moving. Keeping kids and pets away while you're moving will help keep those issues from coming up.

14. Reduce distractions

It's tempting to want to have something to entertain you while you're working. But not always the best idea if you want to get the job done safely and efficiently. Put away your smart phone and avoid setting up a TV with the big game on. If you need some extra stimulation, try music instead.

15. It's not a race

You don't have to rush through moving. If you've already taken everything out of your old place, then you can take your time getting things settled in. Sure, you need to return the moving truck, but that's the only deadline. Rushing can lead to dumb things that get you hurt, so take advantage of the time you have rather than rushing too much.

16. Hire professionals for the difficult things

Moving yourself is cheaper, yes, but there are some things that are really hard to move that could use professional help. If you have anything particularly difficult to move, there's no shame in getting professional help, even if it's just for that one thing.

If you're concerned with the safety of your stuff, you'll want to keep these in mind.

17. Don't leave valuables unattended

Even if you're setting something down for just a minute, try to keep it visible from where you are. Someone sneaking around and running off with something isn't always likely to happen, but you don't want to leave the opportunity out there. Keep an eye on your valuables at all times.

18. Have someone watch the truck when you're unloading

This is an obvious but helpful one. The truck (or other vehicle) should have someone with it at all times. If that's not possible, at least make sure it's closed and locked to make it harder to get inside to your valuable stuff.

19. Don't make it appear you're alone in the new place

If you're alone at the end of the day in a new place, you're going to look vulnerable. Have the people helping you stick around or keep a bunch of lights on to make it look like there are more people around with a lot of activity going on, making it a less attractive target to thieves.

20. Try to obscure that you're moving

This can be difficult, but the more obvious that it is that you're moving, the more likely someone is going to attempt to take something. You might not be able to avoid, say, parking a moving truck nearby and carrying things in and out, but try to minimize that time. Using or leaving moving equipment around is also a sign that you're moving, so try to minimize those while you're moving.

Moving is hard and possibly dangerous, but it's not too difficult to move safely. Taking a few basic precautions will give you a good starting point to keep your stuff and yourself safe.

Read more: Moving Checklist

Categories: Renters

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About the Author
Steffi Cook

Steffi Cook is the head of content for Rentals.com. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her on the tennis court, hiking in the mountains or trying a new restaurant.