Lifting things and putting them down again – a pretty reasonable way of describing the sometimes-tedious process of moving house. But while these are very normal actions, repetitive lifting and loading, especially when the items are heavy, needs to be done with care.
Why it matters
If we don’t lift and load the right way, then all sorts of problems can occur from the twisting and overstressing: mainly musculoskeletal disorders in the back, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and soft tissue.
According to research published in the journal Pain, between 60% and 80% of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives, costing a huge amount of money in terms of NHS expenditure, work days lost and negative affects to quality of life. Our backs, while robust, need to be treated with respect, and one of the best ways to do this is by lifting, loading and puttingdown items the right way.
How to lift and load
Whether you’re moving all your items and furnishings straight into your new home, or popping some on them in a storage unit while you get the house up to scratch, you need to know how to lift and load correctly.
The best way to avoid injuring yourself lifting and loading is to avoid doing so in the first place, so if a trolley or lift is available to take the strain, then use it. All good self-storage facilities have free trolleys, and some even have fork lifts for really heavy items, so be sure to take advantage of them. If you don’t have a trolley to hand, buy one – they’re not particularly expensive, and spending a little is worth protecting your back.
The same goes for getting someone else to do the lifting for you. Removals professionals know all about lifting and loading large and heavy objects, so it’s a good idea to entrust them with the trickier objects, like beds, mattresses, sofas and pianos!
Wear the right clothing
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing when moving boxes and items, and invest in sturdy, shoes with lots of grip.
Your hands also need to be able to grip when lifting, so invest in a pair of gloves that have rubber grips – work gloves are a perfect choice.
Have extra packing tape and boxes at the ready
Sometimes boxes split, so always have tape and new boxes on hand so you don’t have to waste time heading to a hardware shop.
How to lift items
Whether you’ve got a chair, box or bookcase to lift, here’s how to move it correctly:
- Make sure the path to the item’s destination is clear of tripping hazards.
- Give yourself a stable base with your feet placed slightly apart.
- Bend from your knees rather than your waist, both on the way down and coming back up again.
- Keep the item as near to your waist as you can manage, and if the load is uneven, pull the heavier side closest to your body.
- Make sure you’ve got a secure hold, and once the item is safely and smoothly lifted, don’t twist, straighten or bend your back any further.
- Keep a good stance while you slowly walk with the load, shoulders facing forward and level. Keep looking ahead for obstacles.
- When you come to unload, don’t worry too much about the item’s final resting place. Bending your knees, put it down safely and slide it into place.
- If you can’t manage to pick up or carry a load safely then don’t take it on – ask for help instead.
- Remember that even if two people are picking up an item together, they need to bend with their legs and hoist the item at the same time to prevent injury.
Here are some things you should avoid when lifting and moving.
- Lifting on your shoulders can hurt your back and risk hurting others from falling loads.
- Running with boxes and items – a silly idea for obvious reasons! Take your time instead.
- Lifting multiple boxes increases both your risk of hurting yourself, and the risk of dropping and breaking your valuables.
- Lifting with your back or twisting around will hurt. Yes, we keep harping on about it, but doing either is a really bad idea!
Lifting is a big part of moving, and you should now be totally in the know when it comes to hoisting and heaving. If you’re thinking of utilising a handy storage space when you move home, click here to get a quote from Space Station.