Heavy lifting guide: moving furniture and heavy items safely

Whether you’ve just got the keys to your new house or you’re downsizing with the help of a storage unit, moving heavy furniture is often a sticking point on moving day. Manoeuvring bulky beds, wardrobes and white goods is often easier said than done: it’s important to go about heavy lifting carefully, to avoid any injuries or damage to your furniture. Our team’s tips are designed to help your belongings reach their new home safe and sound.

To avoid any extra hassle when you’re moving house, you could consider a flexible storage unit to hold your furniture while you get settled in. Let our team do the heavy lifting while you move.

Furniture moving

Why is careful heavy lifting so important?

If you don’t lift and load the right way, then all sorts of problems can occur from placing extra stress on your back. According to BUPA, 2/3s of Brits will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. While our backs are robust, they need to be treated with care when moving heavy items.

With careful planning, you can ensure that your furniture arrives safely at its final destination, without causing yourself any injury in the process.

Moving furniture tips

Make the most of trolleys and forklifts

The best way to make sure you don’t strain your muscles when moving furniture is to avoid doing so in the first place. If you have access to trolleys, forklifts and portable ramps, use them for those heavy, awkward items that may be too much to lift alone.

Hiring professional movers to help you lift and load your furniture is a great solution, too. As well as taking the hassle of transporting your stuff to your new home, professionals will have access to handy moving equipment that they can use to help with the bulk of your furniture items. Check if you’re eligible for our free removals service.

Get the right packing boxes for your belongings

It isn’t just heavy lifting that’s important when moving house: packing up your furniture correctly is key to ensuring it stays bump-free during the journey, too.

Make sure you have protective covers for wardrobes, beds and white goods to help keep them in pristine condition while handling and moving them. If your heavy items have sharp corners, it’s worth stocking up on foam corner protectors, to stop your walls (and you) getting scratched while you’re moving furniture around.

For fragile items that need extra protection, reinforced cardboard boxes, tape, tissue paper and bubble wrap to help keep them safe when moving.

Dismantle whatever you can

Before attempting to lift anything heavy, check to see if it can be dismantled or moved in smaller parts. This will help make the moving process that bit easier, and means you can reassemble your bits and bobs once you’ve decided where they’re going to fit in your new home.

Most bulky modern furniture, like sofas, dining tables and wardrobes can be dismantled easily, which can be handy if you’ll be travelling up and down stairs or you’re packing up your storage unit.

Avoid putting pressure on your back

When it comes to moving day, the last thing you want is a trip to the hospital, so be careful to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your back. Bend your knees when lifting items such as sofas, tables and chest of drawers, and if you can, balance the weight between two people.

Once you’ve picked the piece of furniture up, make sure it’s held as close to your waist as possible to maintain your balance, using your arms rather than your knees to support. Keep your shoulders facing forward and level and avoid stooping, as this could cause your back to twist or bend. Looking forward will also help you to keep an eye out for any potential obstacles in your route.

When you’re ready to settle the item into its new home, bend your knees and slowly lower to the floor. Unless your furniture has wheels or padded feet, never slide it along the floor, as this could place more strain on your back.

Wear the right clothing

Wearing the right clothing while manual handling is crucial, not just so you’re comfortable on moving day, but to help you to avoid getting injured in the process.

Opt for loose and comfortable clothing, along with some sturdy shoes that have a good grip. Your hands also need to be protected during the process, so make sure to wear safety gloves that will help you maintain your grip when lifting and moving furniture.

Heavy lifting do’s and don’ts


  • Do make sure there’s nothing in your way, so you can lift heavy furniture without the risk of tripping
  • Do remove any doors where you can, so you can move through door frames without getting stuck
  • Do secure any loose features (like sofa feet or wardrobe doors) before you move
  • Do avoid lifting items that are too heavy and always ask for help before attempting to lift


  • Don’t lift items on to your shoulder: not only do you risk injuring your back, but if held incorrectly, you could risk hurting others if the item was to fall
  • Don’t run with furniture and boxes as this could lead to falling and injuring yourself. Make sure you take your time when moving items
  • Don’t lift more than one box at a time. Lifting multiple boxes increases the risk of injury, as well as damage to your belongings
  • Don’t lift using your back or twisting as this will cause back pain

Heavy lifting is an unavoidable part of moving furniture, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can find more detailed instructions on moving specific furniture with our guide on how to transport a mattress.