Moving Yourself: How to Move the Big Stuff

tips for moving yourselfWhether you’re moving yourself or hiring a professional moving company, things can arrived damaged. I speak from experience: When we bought our house my husband and I searched endlessly for the perfect dining room set and finally found it, only to have one of the chairs arrive broken.

The moving company gave us an undamaged chair as a replacement, but if you’re moving yourself you have no such recourse. So it’s critical to know how to pack, load, transport and unload everything in your home before plunging into a do-it-yourself move.

If you’re moving yourself to your next home, here are some tips from the pros on how to avoid damaging your large household items.

1. Pick the right dolly

Yes, there are specific dollies made just for larger items and they’re much larger and sturdier than the typical dolly you would use to move boxes. U-Haul has three types of dollies for do-it-yourself movers: a utility dolly with a capacity of 500 pounds, used mainly for boxes that aren’t too heavy; the appliance dolly, with a 700-pound capacity; and the furniture dolly, with a 1,000 pound capacity. Each is ideally crafted for its specific duty. And for each type of dolly there are specific straps to wrap around each type of furniture or appliance that will keep it in place when carting it out of the truck and into place in the new home. Yainier Lopez, a manager with U-Haul says, “We always recommend these three dollies to our customers; they will make moving these items much easier.”

2. Protect your items

Moving yourself is big business, so there are many products available to protect your entire range of furniture and large items. There’s no reason why large items should not arrive at your next destination in the same condition they were before they were moved. Cover the refrigerator in a fridge pouch made of 1/4-inch, foil-laminated foam. Cushioned paper pads, measuring 48 by 72 inches, fit perfectly over end tables and coffee tables to prevent nicks and scratches. The 68-by-85-inch furniture pad fits perfectly over refrigerators too, as well as washer, dryers and dishwashers. Made of recycled denim, the item is washable and comes with a reusable storage bag, and is easily secured with stretch plastic wrap. The material looks rough from a distance, but get up close and actually feel it, and it’s incredibly soft to the touch.

3. Lifting the heavy items

Now that your items are securely wrapped and ready to transport, you face the burdensome task of lifting them yourself. Heavy-duty straps are made specifically for heaving these items and putting them in place (on a dolly, for instance) and make for a panic-free experience. The Forearm Forklift lifting-strap system, with 3-inch wide by 9.5-inch long straps made of super-strength webbing, is adjustable and can support up to 700 pounds, so these are ideal for use with the appliance dolly. For taller items like armoires or tall, narrow bookcases, there’s an extension strap available which makes the Forearm Forklift strap 3.5 feet longer.

4. Trailer and car hitches

Here’s where the move-it-yourself system may need to be set aside. Lopez at U-Haul says “We always recommend to our customers that we help them connect and disconnect the trailer hitches. We have had customers who have done it themselves and the hitches have come undone.” To help avoid this they always provide plenty of written instructions to customers, as well as providing how-to-videos with step-by-step instructions. Budget Truck Rental has a couple of vehicle towing selections for people who are moving themselves, including the car carrier and the car dolly. The carrier is recommended for four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles, while the dolly is best for front-wheel-drive cars. They’ve got a handy vehicle towing guide right on their website, with diagrams and extensive recommendations on which dolly to use, according to vehicle year.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to moving yourself without the help of professional movers. Budget and U-Haul’s websites are great for researching the necessary and proper equipment for loading the tough items like major appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator), armoires, pianos, plasma televisions and wall units. There are also plenty of how-to-videos on YouTube with step-by-step guides.

Moving yourself can definitely save you money, but if you’re not cautious during the packing and unpacking of your pricier, larger items, replacing the items will definitely become an unforeseen moving cost. So when it comes to moving large items, doing your due diligence will definitely pay off in the end — and future generations get to use grandma’s rocker.

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