If you are going from a one-level house to a home with stairs, then this guide will show you how to safely move when you have an upper or lower level.If you are going from a one-level house to a home with stairs, then this guide will show you how to safely move when you have an upper or lower level.Moving Tips

How to Move Safely When You Have Stairs

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Moving to a new home is an exciting time. There are also a lot of other feelings that come into the mix, such as anxiety and stress that come from the overwhelming amount of logistics to work out. If you are going from a one-level house to a home with stairs, then you will also have to make a plan to move your furniture safely around this new layout.

Thankfully, moving into a new place with stairs is not as hard as it seems, especially when you are proactive about your furniture choices and how you prepare your moving supplies. What precautions should you take when you have stairs in your new home? What tools do you need to succeed? This guide will show you how to safely move when you have an upper or lower level to deal with.

How do you protect stairs when moving?

Moving furniture up and down stairwells can leave dents and stains on the adjacent walls. You can also accidentally scratch the steps and stain them with these minor mishaps. Your first step should be to protect your stairs with a protective covering. Here are some main strategies movers used to protect stairs during the moving process:

  • For wooden stairs:
    • Cover your stairs with a flexible carpet and secure it with painter's tape or install floor runners afterward. Make sure everything is stable before you go up and down the steps.
  • For carpeted stairs:
    • Use a carpet mask, which is a plastic film that is self-adhesive to maintain traction and save you time. Walk up and down the stairs without any furniture first to make sure that the stairs are safe to navigate.
  • For staircase rails:
    • Wrap furniture blankets or bubble wrap around the rails, then secure them with tape. This prevents furniture from knocking into them and potentially dislodging or scratching them.

Can you use a dolly on the stairs?

Yes, you can use a dolly on stairs, but you should use a rubber-wheel dolly. This ensures that the wheels don’t damage your steps as they carry heavy furniture up and down them. A moving dolly is specially designed to avoid personal injuries and prevent damage. Buy or rent a high-quality moving dolly and make sure there is another person to help you. It’s not safe to attempt this alone, so hire help if needed.

Are there other specialty moving tools available?

Yes, there are many other moving tools available to protect your home with stairs. Aside from dollies, you can also protect your belongings so that they don’t damage your walls and stairs as you navigate your new property.

  • Wrap furniture in thick protective blankets, so they don’t scratch the walls.
  • Place a doormat in front of the threshold. This is your first line of defense against dirt and mud. Also, have a second doormat inside the home.
  • Use shoe covers, which are great at keeping floors and stairs clean.

How do you move heavy furniture upstairs?

The first rule of moving heavy furniture anywhere is to never do anything beyond your ability. If you are unable to move heavy furniture on your own, you must hire help or get the help of friends. Moving large or heavy furniture upstairs requires teamwork because one person must be below supporting the bottom of the furniture while the other one carries it upstairs and takes point in the direction you go.

It's also important to get the right tools to lift certain items. For example, if you plan to bring in your appliances or haul large, bulky items, you should use a strap that wraps around them so that they can be picked up easily.

Modern furniture tends to come in ready-to-assemble parts, such as modular furniture from Wayfair. Use this to your advantage and lightly take furniture apart to break them into lighter, easier-to-carry pieces. For example, a typical modern bed frame can collapse into several parts that you can easily reassemble at your new house.

What’s the proper way to lift boxes?

Living heavy moving boxes can be a challenge, especially when you don’t lift them properly. So, your first step should be a proactive one. When you pack moving boxes, try to keep them at a weight that you are comfortable carrying for at least 15-30 seconds. Carrying boxes upstairs can make even moderately heavy contents seem heavier because you are fighting against gravity too, so it’s better to underestimate your strength. When you use cardboard boxes, double-tape the bottom for extra reinforcement.

When you go to pick up your boxes, do not simply bend over while your legs are straight, but instead squat down to the floor, grab the box securely with both hands, then slowly rise vertically like you're coming up from a squat. Keep your head and back straight as well with good posture so that you do not apply any disproportionate pressure to your upper or lower back. Keeping proper form makes sure that you are using your body efficiently to carry each box. If you do it incorrectly, you can put a disproportionate strain on your back and cause injury. For particularly heavy boxes, get another person to lift them with you.


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