Tips For Moving Furniture Up Stairs

The Basics of Moving Heavy Items Easily

Moving items without hurting yourself, breaking the item, or causing a mess is never easy. Here are some tips that you can follow to save your back and your items:

  • Get help. The aid of professional movers is of course an effective way to lighten the load of moving. However, if this is not an option for you, friends are a wonderful asset when you are planning a move. Call a few pals to lend a hand. You can prevent moving day injuries or accidents by enlisting the assistance of others when moving heavy items.

  • Plan the route. Make sure the path you will be moving the item is clear and free of obstacles. It is also helpful to measure the item as well as any doorways, hallways, or tight spaces it will have to pass through to ensure that it will fit.
  • Lift carefully. When lifting heavy items, test the weight of the object to be moved by carefully lifting one corner off of the ground. Do not try to move something too heavy by yourself — get help from a friend or two. When lifting an item or placing it down, bend at the knees, not the waist; keep your back straight and upright. Keep the item close to your body while carrying it.

  • Push, don’t pull. When possible, it is easier to push a large item rather than pull it. This way, you are more aware of the path you are moving the item and have more control. To push a large item, lean forward, and use the strength in your legs to start moving.

4. Secure the Refrigerator

Wrap the appliance dolly straps around the refrigerator and tighten them until the refrigerator is securely attached to the dolly, instructs Home Depot. If possible, place the straps under the refrigerator’s handles to avoid bending or damaging the doors and handles. Don’t over-tighten the straps; it could bend or warp the door and frame.


Using a Dolly and Straps

A dolly, or hand truck, is an indispensable tool for moving heavy items, especially if you need to bring them upstairs. After you have place the item to move on your hand truck, secure it with flat hook strap tie-downs.

Roll the hand truck backward to the stairs, stand on the first step, lean the dolly toward you, and pull it up. As you back up, you’ll move the hand truck up one stair at a time. Have someone on the other side, moving up the steps, to spot you. Keep your back straight and lift with your legs. This can work for items from small to large that are especially heavy, though if the item is too big, carrying it with a partner may be the less awkward option.

Author: Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler has been covering moving, real estate, home improvement and home decor for more than 15 years. She enjoys writing articles about moving to specific cities, like Denver or Nashville, and what to expect when you get there. She also likes to write about home improvement and getting your home ready for a move. As a real estate investor, she wrote extensively for Personal Real Estate Investor. She has also written for Su Casa, US News & World Report and local publications about home improvement topics. Bitler currently lives in Phoenix, and although she’s moved too many times to count, she plans on staying put—at least for a while.View all posts by Teresa Bitler

Moving heavyappliances easily

  • Prepare the appliance. Make sure all shelves, racks, and contents are removed from the appliance. Unplug refrigerators and freezers 24 hours in advance to defrost. Turn off any gas connections and disconnect/drain the water lines from washing machines. Tape the electrical cord to the back of the unit to keep it out of the way.

TIP: Always read the owner’s manual for any special instructions on moving the appliance.

  • Use a dolly: Refrigerators cannot be laid down or tipped on their side because the oil from the compressor can flood the cooling lines. To prevent a ruined fridge, a dolly can assist you in keeping the heavy appliance upright during a move. You simply slide the dolly beneath one side of the appliance and secure it using moving straps. Lastly, set your foot on the dolly and tilt it back.
    • It is helpful to have friends aid you in wheeling the appliance away. When moving it downstairs, it is best to go bottom first, slowly moving the dolly downwards one step at a time. Have a helper at the other end of the dolly to help support the weight.

Moving furniture on stairs in a vertical or a horizontal position

Depending on the type of furniture and its size, it will have to be positioned either horizontally (parallel to the stairs) or vertically in order to move up or down the stairs.


If you need to move a long or tall piece of furniture, like a wardrobe, sofa or marble worktop, you will need to position it “horizontally”, i.e. parallel to the stairs. This avoids it becoming “stuck” against the ceiling of the staircase.

The Skipper stair climber is perfect for moving long furniture because the angle can be regulated and the item can be moved horizontally, parallel to the stairs. It is a tracked stair climber, which means that the operator never has to carry the weight physically, or keep the furniture balanced while it is being moved.

Skipper is the ideal tracked stair climber for moving furniture more than two metres high.


If the item of furniture is not particularly tall, it is better to move it in a “vertical” position, tilting it slightly to ensure greater stability and to make sure it does not fall while being moved.

Why is it better to move an item of furniture in a vertical position if it is less than 2 metres high or less than 2 metres wide? So it can be turned in the stairwell. Only when furniture is moved in a vertical position is it possible to make a complete turn on a narrow landing.

Thanks to its two independent tracks the Domino stair climbing robot can rotate 360 degrees on a stair landing.

If the item of furniture is moved using a wheeled stair climber, its position on the stairs is tilted 45 degrees. In this case the furniture must be carried at an angle of 45 degrees in order to keep it balanced and avoid it falling.

How to Protect your Floor Whilst Moving your Refrigerator

Refrigerators are of course tall and very heavy appliances, and they can easily damage the floor during the moving process. A common mistake people make while moving furniture is to push it to the desired location without providing proper floor protection. To avoid this, consider using the following appliances to protect your floors.

Use a dolly

As mentuined, using an appliance dolly will keep your floor safe, as well as make it possible for one person to move, as a dolly has rubber wheels that run on the floor. You can rent an appliance dolly or buy one yourself from a home appliance store.

Furniture sliders

Furniture sliders are very useful when moving furniture.

All you have to do is tilt the fridge to one side and place the sliders under the castors. Now pull the refrigerator slowly to avoid scratching the floor during the moving process.

Moving furniture manually up stairs? Not a good idea

Even when an item of furniture seems relatively light and weighs less than 100 Kg, it is unlikely that the staircase will be sufficiently wide to allow four people to move it.

Often pieces of furniture are only moved by two people, one of whom goes up the stairs backwards.

International standards on handling manual loads on stairs state that people should not carry loads weighing more than 25 Kg.

Carrying furniture manually up or down stairs is not only awkward and tiring, it is also very dangerous. For the back, the joints and even… the furniture itself! If you need to move a wardrobe, bed, sofa or washing machine, you should seriously consider using an electric stair climber.

Unless the furniture in question is very light and not very bulky, it is always advisable to call on professionals who have specialist equipment such as electric stair climbers. Using a motorised stair climbing hand truck is important because it avoids damaging the furniture when it is being carried on stairs, but above all because it avoids causing health problems such as sprains and back injuries.

To recap, there are lots of things to take into account when moving furniture on stairs. The most important of these are:

  • The type of furniture
  • The weight of the furniture
  • Its size
  • The shape, width and length of the stairs

6. Pull the Refrigerator Up the Stairs

Back the dolly up the stairs, one step at a time. On the count of three, pull up on the dolly while your helper on the lower step lifts the bottom edge of the refrigerator. Stop, balance the refrigerator and repeat the process at each step. Rest at any landings before continuing up the stairs.

Don’t drop or bounce the refrigerator any more than necessary in moving it. You risk damaging the coils or compressor, usually resulting in expensive repairs.

Get the right equipment

The right equipment makes moving up and down stairs much easier. If you rent a moving truck, a hand truck or other equipment may come with it free of charge. If not, you’ll want to consider renting one or more of these options before you start moving.

  • Hand truck/utility dolly: Although often referred to simply as a dolly, these L-shaped, two-wheeled carts have a flat platform that can be wedged under items and tilted back for easy transport. (A furniture dolly isn’t upright; it is flat and has four wheels.) Be sure you are renting a hand truck—even if it is called a dolly—because you won’t be able to maneuver or control an actual dolly (also called furniture dolly) on stairs.
  • Stair climbing dolly: These hand trucks are specifically designed for stairs and can be manual or battery-operated. Most have three wheels and are arranged in a triangular fashion. Two wheels rest on the step while the third rotates up to the next step. While these devices make it easy for one person to transport a heavy item up and down stairs, they are pricey. You’ll pay $1,000 to $4,000 to purchase a heavy-duty one and between $100 to $200 to rent one for the day.
  • Moving straps: These harnesses allow you to lift heavier items than you normally would be able to. They work by attaching to a strap that loops under the item you are moving. You’ll need another person with moving straps on the other end of the item to lift the item and position it. When using moving straps, the stronger person should be on the bottom since gravity shifts the weight down on stairs.

Use a Mattress Sling

Mattresses are just plain awkward. They’re heavy, bulky, oddly shaped for moving, and tend to bend one way and the other as you carry them. Add to that the fact that the holders on the sides aren’t meant for carrying the mattress. Rather, those are there to help you move it into place once it’s on top of your box spring.

Enter the mattress sling. This handy tool works well with your shoulder dolly, allowing you to stand upright, hold onto the top portion of a mattress to keep it from tipping, while the sling cradles the bottom section as you walk. This can make moving it to your bedroom much easier.

Now, have a happy, and safe, move!


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