Furniture Tips: Moving is Hard

When a man reaches a certain age, there are at least three sounds that can fill his heart with dread: the roar of cougar during a pleasant walk through the woods, the snap of a rubber glove before a prostate exam and his wife saying, “Honey, let’s move the furniture.”

There’s a saying in the furniture business…three moves is the same as a fire. Unfortunately, moving furniture is inevitable. You’ll find few surprises here, but you may see a few tips that may make it easier on the furniture…and on you.

First, decide if you need to move the furniture at all. will let you create floor plans to see virtual rooms with a variety of home furnishings. has something similar at a small subscription fee. There’s a variety of software packages you can install on your home computer, some as low as $10. Remember Colorforms, those sticky but moveable pieces of vinyl? It’s a bit pricey but several companies make them for home design. One example is the EZ-Design from at $225 or there’s a product called The Board at about the same price.

As a low cost option, I’ve cut out a piece of cardboard or butcher paper the size of the chair or sofa and laid it on the floor where I was considering moving it. How is to walk around? What else does it need? Is it scaled right for the rest of the room?

But, ultimately, the time must come to cinch one’s belt and do the move. First, lighten the load. Remove drawers from dressers. Take the books off the shelves. Even taking the cushions off a sofa will help. Going through a doorway? Measure first to be sure it fits. Clear your path so you’re not tripping over something on the way to your destination. You can protect the edges of case goods like dressers with a wrap of a moving pad or an old blanket. Tape it on with some masking tape to help hold it in place.

Second, never pick up what you don’t have to. Slide it if you can, don’t lift it. If the legs are fairly short, like a sofa, you may be able to slide it where you want it. Never slide a piece with long legs, like a dining table, because the force can easily snap a leg or loosen the bolts that attach it. Sometimes you can “walk” the piece, lifting one end and alternating each leg at the far end off the floor, going inches at a time.

To make sliding easier, you can buy nylon sliders that go under the legs. Low cost alternatives include stick-on felt pads, pieces of upside-down carpeting, or even socks or old plastic milk jugs. Use a cart whenever you can. A carpeted dolly is an inexpensive investment (about $15) if it’ll save your back.

But after you’ve prolonged the inevitable; be sure to prepare yourself first. The back braces that look like the top half of a pair of lederhosen are another inexpensive investment or wear a weight lifting belt to help give you support.

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to lift with your legs not your back. Squat directly in front of the furniture, pull it in tight towards you and use your legs, not your back. If you must turn while carrying furniture, then turn your whole body with your legs, don’t swivel yourself at the waist.

Good luck…and the phone book has lots of listings for chiropractors and massage therapists.

If you have questions about any of these articles, or suggestions for future columns, you can always drop me a line at