Responsible packing is only the first step toward safe moving. If you've got all your breakables neatly padded, your boxes full - but not too heavy - and your cargo arranged carefully for smooth loading and unloading, you need to make sure that you handle your belongings safely, too.
Nobody wants a last-minute run to the emergency room on moving day. At best, it's an inconvenience. At worst, it can have serious implications for your quality of life.
The National Safety Council reported that there were 38.3 million medically consulted injuries in individuals' homes and communities last year.
Don't add to that tally during your move. Here are five moving safety tips to keep you, and your possessions, safe.
1) Prep your path
First of all, you need to make sure you're prepared. That starts with having a first aid kit handy throughout the moving period, not buried in the bottom of one of five boxes labeled "miscellaneous." You should be able to treat any minor scrapes and cuts immediately.
Next, you'll have to secure the physical pathway from your home to your waiting vehicle. Make sure all trip hazards are cleared away. If you're moving out of a crowded multiunit building, alert your neighbors so they can be conscientious of the route, and use the service stairs or elevator if your building has them. The less chance you have to bump into other people or objects, the better.
2) Lift with your legs
Once you're ready to start moving, make sure to stretch well.
When it comes to lifting and hoisting, be careful about how you pick up boxes and heavy objects. If you have to pick something up off the floor, keep your back straight, not hunched, and bend your knees, as if you're crouching. Then lift straight up, powered by your legs. This will keep you from straining your back as you lift, and keep you balanced.
3) Carry carefully, and smartly
As you carry objects across a clear path, don't overexert yourself. Carry only what you can comfortably manage and make more trips if you need to. Walk slowly and maintain clear lines of sight whenever you can, holding boxes close to your body.
Also, make use of tools to help you out as much as possible. Hand trucks, dollies, glides and straps were invented just for this purpose. Take advantage of them whenever you can.
4) Share the load.
Hopefully, you're not moving by yourself. At the bare minimum, large, disassembled furniture pieces often require two people to carry them. Give your moving assistants gentle encouragement and advice to take care of themselves. If they're exhausted, they might take shortcuts that will put you both at risk.
Communicate clearly when you're carrying something together. Talk about how you expect to maneuver the piece, and take breaks if either of you gets physically, or emotionally, tired.
When you pass an object to another person, do not let go until you're certain they can accept the weight. Seek verbal confirmation to make sure it doesn't get dropped.
5) Take extra precautions when driving.
If you've rented a moving truck and you're driving it yourself, chances are you aren't used to the size of such a vehicle. Know the height of your truck, plot out your route in advance, and make sure that there are no low bridges or overhangs on the way. Pay special attention to any tight corners and alleys you'll have to navigate. If it's possible, choose a low-traffic time to arrive at your new home in case there are any last-mile issues.
If you need further assistance with your move, contact your local Atlas agent today to learn more about their services.