No one questions that moving is financially, psychologically, and emotionally stressful. Keep in mind that it is also a physically demanding activity and that there are any number of ways for you to get hurt. If you have friends and family helping you on moving day, you need to take their safety into consideration as well as your own.
Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure a safe move for all involved.
Caution should be the watchword of your entire moving process. This starts with packing. As you are filling boxes, consider how much they weigh before you tape them up. Aim for a 40-50 pound weight limit per box, or whatever is the heaviest weight you can lift without putting stress on your muscles. Just because you can lift one heavy box doesn’t mean you can lift thirty of them in a row, carrying them up and down stairs, down narrow walkways, and lift them into a truck. Pack heavy items, like books or tools, in smaller boxes to limit the weight. Likewise plan to dismantle larger furniture whenever possible.
A week before your move, plan the route from your home to the moving truck. If you live in an apartment, you may need to navigate stairs, hallways, and winding pathways across the grounds to get that sofa and fridge to the truck. Even if you can park the truck in your driveway, you may have stairs in your home or narrow doorways to navigate. Identify areas where sight lines are disrupted, uneven pavement or flooring could lead to tripping, or places that could be affected by wet weather, creating hazards. Remember to do this at your new home, not just the place you’re leaving.
Invest in Accessories
Truck companies will try to up sell you stuff besides the truck rental. Consider taking advantage of these offers. At the very least a dolly, straps, and furniture sliders could be a good investment. Being able to secure heavy items on dolly or slide them across the floor means less lifting and carrying for you and your team. That decreases the chance of back or muscle injuries. If professional movers, usually big guys who have been moving stuff for years, think something is a good idea to use in a move, maybe you should follow their example.
Here are a few other things that will make moving safer:
- gloves to improve your grip and protect your hands
- sturdy shoes (no open toes!) with good traction
- hat or bandanna and sunglasses if you’re moving in the summer
- sunblock – sunburn happens in the winter as well as summer
- towels and mops if the weather forecasts rain or snow
- flags or other markers to indicate uneven or trouble spots on the path to/from the truck
- first aid kit
Take Care on Moving Day
Loading and unloading a moving truck is a physical activity, and one your body is not used to doing. You need to prepare yourself physically, not just mentally. Start the day by getting a good sleep the night before and eating a nutritious breakfast. Do some stretching and limbering exercises before you pick up the first box. Make sure all your helpers do the same.
Staying hydrated during all this activity is a priority. Make sure you have an adequate supply of water or energy drinks available for the moving party. If it’s an all-day event, plan several breaks, including time for snacks and lunch so that everyone has time to rest and replenish spent calories.
Inform everyone at the start of the move of hazardous areas, which items/boxes are the heaviest, and where to find refreshments as well as the location of the first aid kit. It’s also a good idea to set some rules about communicating during the move. For instance, when two people are moving a large piece of furniture the person walking backwards sets the pace and a third person walks ahead to guide around corners, through doorways, and warn of steps and uneven patches.
A few last tips for making your move safe.
- Movers should wear comfortable clothing, but nothing flowing or loose that could get caught or twisted.
- Isolate pets from the activity either in carriers, an empty room, or secured in the backyard.
- Keep small children away from the move sites by sending them to a park or a friend’s to play.
- Designate “jobs” according to physical ability, i.e., let the strongest people lift and carry the heaviest items while others pack last minute items, clean, or direct placement of items in the truck.
Awareness of potential hazards before and during the move is the key to minimizing the chances of injury. That little bit of awareness and care will ensure a safe move for everyone.