Tips on How to Move When You Have Stairs

Full article 16 min read
Tips on How to Move When You Have Stairs

When you’re moving, there are many things to think about. One of the most daunting tasks can be figuring out how to move all your belongings up and downstairs. If you have a lot of heavy furniture or lots of boxes, it can seem impossible. But with a little bit of planning and some careful maneuvering, you can get your move done without any broken bones or damaged belongings. Here are a few tips on how to move when you have stairs.

How to Prepare for the Move

The first step in moving is always to prepare yourself. Make sure you know what you’re getting into and that you have a plan. If you’re moving with a lot of stairs, be sure to measure the height and width of your stairwell so you can figure out what will fit. After that, evaluate the things that may cause challenges. Take their height, breadth, and depth measurements. You might wish to keep track of these values if you relocate them.

Then, make a plan for each item. You’ll want to figure out the best way to carry it. Is it necessary to hold it at a specific angle when going up or down the stairs? Will you need to shift position or angle to avoid colliding with the walls, railings, or ceiling? Also, consider whether any special tools or equipment will be necessary. You also need to make sure you have enough help. Moving is always a lot easier with friends and family, so be sure to ask for help ahead of time.


Gather Required Equipment

Before beginning the moving process, you need to gather all the required equipment. This includes, but is not limited to, boxes, tape, blankets, rope, and a dolly or cart. You might also need furniture pads if you’re moving any furniture. These items may all be supplied to you free of charge. If not, you should think about renting one or more of these choices before you begin moving.

Utility dolly

These L-shaped, two-wheeled carts with a flat platform that may be wedged beneath items and tipped back for easy transportation are often referred to as dollies. (A furniture dolly is not upright; it is flat and has four wheels.) Even if the hand truck you’re renting is called a dolly, make sure you’re clear on what is being provided.

Stair climbing dolly

Stairwell hand trucks are available in manual and battery-operated versions. The majority have three wheels and are arranged in a triangle formation. The second wheel rests on the step while the third revolves up to the next level. These devices make it easy for one person to transport a big thing up and downstairs, but they’re pricey. A heavy piece of furniture on a stairwell hand truck can cost more than $100 per day to rent.

Furniture pads

These are heavy-duty, quilted moving blankets designed to protect furniture during transport. They usually have a synthetic fiber filling and come in different sizes. You can buy them or rent them from your local moving company.


See Also: How to use Furniture Pads for Moving

Other things that are required:

  • Adjustable furniture straps
  • Furniture dollies and Furniture sliders
  • Work gloves and Sturdy shoes
  • Tape measure and Wood planks
  • Moving blankets and Bubble wrap
  • If you’re in a bind and don’t have time to rent or purchase specialized equipment, consider using the following substitutes:
  • A blanket may be used to carry an object down the stairs as long as it isn’t too hefty. Simply slip the blanket beneath the item and use the excess fabric to make “handles.” Lift the thing with a buddy on the other end, then carefully push it up or down the steps. Again, you’ll want someone in front of the item and someone behind it to avoid anything from falling.
  • You can use towels, napkins, or even newspapers for fragile items as long as the item is wrapped securely. Be sure to tape the wrap in place.
  • With a screwdriver, ratchet set, and other common tools, you can typically break things down into more manageable parts. You may remove the legs or back from chairs, mirrors from dressers, and doors from heavy machines with ease.

Tips For Moving Furniture Up Stairs

You know how difficult it is to move when you’ve had to relocate to a higher floor or have had to carry things up a flight of stairs. Heavy and big items are most challenging due to their combined weight and restricted mobility. Once you’ve gotten that bed, desk, or sofa down to the proper level, it’s like a breath of fresh air. But getting these pieces of furniture up the stairs is a daunting task.

The key to successfully moving furniture upstairs is to break the process down into smaller, more manageable parts. And remember, take your time. Haste makes waste when it comes to moving furniture. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Get Help

The first thing to remember is that you should not move heavy things like boxes and wardrobes alone, regardless of how strong or fit you are. To carry big and heavy things, you’ll need two people. Small stuff with a lot of weight, such as old television sets or huge but not tremendously so, such as bed frames, can be carried easily by one person if they use the right equipment and take their time.

If you’re moving furniture up a flight of stairs, get help from friends or family members. It’s much easier and safer to move items in small increments with multiple people than to try to carry the item all at once.

Moving High to Low

The majority of the things causing you problems will be hefty objects, such as dressers, sofas, desks, and mattresses. When going upstairs, try to carry these high and low. For example, if you’re moving a desk. The person who is higher up on the steps will take the desk from under the top. The second individual will carry from the bottom where the desk meets the floor. Take your time and move deliberately, especially since the individual ahead of you will have to walk up backward. This technique keeps the item more balanced, pivoting toward its center. It also maintains the desk, bookcase, or whatever in a straight position.


Using a Dolly and Straps

A hand truck, also known as a dolly, is an important item for moving hefty things, especially if you must transport them up several flights of stairs. Secure the object to be transported on your hand truck with flat hook strap tie-downs after you’ve set it down.

Roll the hand truck backward to the steps, stand on the first step, lean it toward you and pull it up. You’ll move the hand truck one stair at a time as you back up. Someone on the other side should be keeping an eye on you as you go up the stairs. Please straighten your back and lift with your legs rather than your back to avoid injury.

If you’re using a furniture dolly, make sure that the brakes are on before you start moving the object up the stairs. This will ensure that the dolly doesn’t roll away from you while you’re carrying the load.

Slide It

If your new home has hardwood floors, furniture sliders will make moving furniture upstairs much easier. Buy or rent them as needed, and place them under the legs of the furniture you’re moving. Then, using your hands or a gentle push with your foot, slide the furniture in the direction you want it to go. You can also use a broom handle or mop to help guide the furniture.

Couch Through Doorways

It’s more convenient to get it through a doorway when you stand a couch up on end rather than keeping it upright. You may not have enough space to put your sofa through a door if you keep it horizontal, as most couches are long. When the couch is vertical, turning it when necessary is very simple, and the passage will be much narrower.

To move a couch up the stairs, you’ll need two people, one at the top and one at the bottom. The person at the bottom should kneel and put their shoulder underneath the sofa. The person at the top should grasp the back of the couch and lift upward with their legs. This way, you won’t hurt your back.

Turn Chairs Sideways

Large chairs like recliners or desk chairs might be surprisingly difficult to get through when it comes to tiny hallways. You may not believe one is too wide at first, but when you bring it inside your home and discover that it’s wider than you thought and won’t fit through the door, you’ll wish you were more specific.

Fortunately, there’s a simple remedy. Tilt the chair on its side. Push the top section into the room through the door, pivot it so that the top is in the new area and the bottom is facing the old one, and then pull in the base. You may thus connect your chair to your space this way.

Use a Shoulder Dolly

Or you can use a shoulder dolly. This apparatus straps onto your body and has two poles with a cradle on the end. You put the object you’re moving into the cradle and then use your hands and arms to lift it as you walk.

Because the lower mover will bear the majority of the weight, you and a partner should use a shoulder dolly to transport a heavy object up to several steps if you’re using one. This is an excellent idea if you’re moving something large and awkward, such as a piano. It’s also helpful if you have to move the object up a flight of stairs. It’s difficult on the stairs. Just be careful not to injure your back or any other body parts while using the shoulder dolly.


Use a Mattress Sling

If you have a heavy mattress, you can use a mattress sling to move it. A mattress sling is a long fabric or nylon that has loops on each end. You put the loops over your shoulders and then use your hands to lift the mattress and carry it. This is an excellent idea if you’re moving the mattress up a flight of stairs, as it will distribute the weight more evenly. Just be careful not to drop the mattress while you’re carrying it.

Also Read: Do I Need a Mattress Bag or Cover for My Move

Take Your Time

Moving furniture is a back-breaking job, especially if you’re doing it alone. So take your time and be careful. You don’t want to end up with an injury that will prevent you from completing the move. And remember, if something doesn’t seem safe, it probably isn’t. Don’t try to do something that you’re not comfortable with.

These are just a few tips to help make moving up the stairs easier. Be patient, take your time and use the right tools, and you’ll get the job done in no time.

How to Protect Your Stairs when Moving

If you don’t protect your hardwood or carpeted stairs during a relocation, they will get scuffed and soiled. The protection required depends on whether you have wooden or carpeted steps. Wooden stairs are vulnerable to damage since there is no padding between them. You’ll want something with padding that adheres to the carpet fibers so it doesn’t move. Tape or a low-tack adhesive are good options.

For carpeted stairs, you’ll need something to prevent the furniture legs from slipping and damaging the carpet. A piece of cloth or an old sheet will work well for this. Drape it over each stair, tucking it in at the bottom, so it doesn’t move. You can also use double-sided carpet tape to secure it in place.

To protect the wood stairs, you’ll need to place something on top of them. This can be a runner, an area rug, or a piece of plywood. If you’re using a runner, make sure it’s at least as wide as the width of your stairs and that it has a non-slip bottom.

It’s a good idea to protect your stairs any time you’re moving furniture, not just when you’re relocating. By taking a few minutes to do this, you can avoid costly damage later on.


Moving furniture can be a daunting task, but it can be much easier with the proper techniques. By using a shoulder dolly, mattress sling, or simply taking your time, you can move even the heaviest objects up the stairs without injuring yourself. Just be patient and use caution, and you’ll be able to get the job done in no time.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make moving stairs easier?

There are a few different ways to make moving furniture upstairs easier, such as,

  • Use a shoulder dolly: This apparatus straps onto your body and has two poles with a cradle on the end.
  • Use a mattress sling: A mattress sling is a long piece of fabric or nylon that has loops on each end.
  • Get help from your friends: Moving furniture can be a back-breaking job, especially if you’re doing it alone. So take your time and be careful.

What to put on stairs when moving?

Fitted with plastic film, floor runners are ideal for protecting hardwood steps during a relocation. The finest method to safeguard hardwood treads during a move is to cover them with old carpets or bedspreads to provide a soft surface for your belongings to slide on.

How do I get my couch downstairs? Stand at one of the couch’s lengthy ends, with a helper standing at the opposite end. Crouch down and lift the sofa from the bottom in tandem with your partner. With your legs and arms, support the weight but not your back. Slowly approach the entrance as you walk toward it.

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.