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Proper Lifting and Safety Tips for Your Move from Your Denver Physical Therapy Team

December 26, 2018

While the end result is exciting, most Americans dread the moving process. The move itself can be so taxing it is easy to forget how to ensure a safe move. Often times some of the smallest of mistakes can lead to injuries that can last a lifetime. Don’t let that happen! As you gear up for your next home, review these tips from your local Denver physical therapy team. 

Gather Essential Tools 

When it comes to moving, boxes are usually the priority for items to obtain in the weeks leading up the big day. However, there is much more than boxes that are needed. Many movers only think about a few things, but it helps to be fully prepared as you transition into the moving process. Some of these essentials include: 
  • Dollies and other hand trucks:  Items with wheels enable you to easily move larger items, reducing the physical strain that comes with lifting and carrying boxes, furniture and more.
  • Packing materials and tape: Securing your valuables is not just essential for their safety, but yours too. Make sure to wrap items with newspaper, bubble wrap, or other packing material, then secure your boxes with packing tape. This will help your boxes from opening at the bottom, causing the items to fall and break—and avoiding a potential injury on your part in the process. 
  • Sliders: Did you know you can buy pads that can be placed on the bottom of your furniture? This will help you easily move furniture and other heavy items across the floor. This reduces physical stress on your body and protects your floors—a win-win! You can also buy covers to go on your furniture to protect from scuffing and provide a barrier between you and sharp edges. 
  • Scissors and knife: As you pack and unpack, you will be going through several things. Have scissors and a knife handy to cut open boxes or other items.  
  • Moving gloves: You can purchase gloves to wear while moving to help keep your hands safe from cuts, scrapes, and more. 

Packing 101

As you begin the process to move, it is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted or unused items. This can be done in a variety of ways such as having a yard sale, donating to local charities, or simply throwing certain items away. 

As you start to pack, work through items that you rarely use first. Choose a category system that works best for you, whether it is packing room by room, or by other methods. If space allows, contain all of your boxes to one place. 

When labeling your boxes, use a large permanent marker so you can clearly label what is in the box. It helps to label on more than one side, so you can easily identify once you are unpacking.  

As you pack the boxes, be smart. Do not overload large boxes with several heavy items. Find a good balance that is easy to carry and manage. For any clothing hanging in a closet, you can keep them on their hangers, then wrap them in a blanket or with garbage bags-just make sure you do not mistake them for actual trash! You may be able to leave certain items in dressers or cabinets as long as you can safely secure them. 

Create Your Plan

To ensure a successful move, you must have a plan. One of the initial questions you should ask yourself is, “Will I handle this move on my own, or would I like to enlist the help of a mover?” If you can afford it, movers can assist with every step in the moving process, taking some of the physical burdens off you. 

Once you have determined how the move will be handled, create a schedule and set deadlines. For instance, have all non-essential items packed by a certain date, or have all necessary packing items by a specific time. It also helps to have a schedule for moving day, too. While you cannot expect everything to go fully as planned, you can set times to start loading or have the movers arrive and reasonable goals for unpacking. Be sure to take advantage of Real Simple’s moving checklist, which will give you a complete two-month guide on everything you need to do leading up to the big day.  

Proper Lifting Techniques

Moving is a very labor-intensive process. It is exercise, after all! Many people who move often injure themselves due to improper lifting techniques. Your first rule of thumb to remember is to lift using your legs and not putting all of the weight on your back. When picking up boxes, bend and crouch down and hold the bottom and sides of a box. Moving gloves can help you have a better handle on the items. As you bend down, keep your feet at shoulder width. 

Once secure, lift using your legs and not your lower back. Keep the box or items close to your body, reducing strain on your arms. A great way to remember how to do this is to keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible. If you feel an item is too much to carry on your own, ask for help! 

Safety Tips

One can become injured in a multitude of ways during a move—not sure lifting improperly. A common mistake that happens is tripping or stepping on items out in the open. Before moving day, ensure hallways and open walk spaces are clear. This will help protect you and anyone helping you move stay safe. This also includes pets or children. They may be confused or bored, so make arrangements to have them outside the home or out of harm’s way. It is also important to properly dress for a move! Wear clothing that is comfortable and will not get caught on edges or items. Be sure to wear shoes that will support your feet all day. 

Are you wondering how you can make sure you are prepared to handle the physical activity of your moving day? Peak Physical Therapy & Wellness will help. We will show you proper lifting techniques and more or can help if you do sustain an injury after your move. Contact Peak PT & Wellness today to get started.