10 Tips for Moving Into a Building With No Elevator

Why every apartment building doesn’t have an elevator is beyond me, but if you move into a unit with only stairs, I have some tips that can help make your move a little less frustrating.

1. Ask For Help

If you can successfully move the entire contents of one apartment by yourself with no elevator, I applaud you. But I certainly couldn’t do it. Make the move much easier on yourself by reaching out for help. One friend can help you carry the heavy stuff, while another can help guide you up the stairs.

[How to Get Moving Help from Your Friends]

As much as your friends might not be psyched about helping you move, they’re your friends and that’s what they’re there for. Feel free to bribe them with anything from a few beers to dinner or a night out on you.

If your friends are “busy” the weekend you’re moving, another option would be to hire professional movers. After all, they certainly know what you’re doing and will help you get the job done in no time.

2. Find a Hand Cart or a Dolly

A hand cart will be your best friend when it comes to moving into your new apartment. You can use this device to carry heavy furniture up the stairs—just remember to tie the furniture down with bungee cords so it doesn’t move. You’ll need someone to help you carry the cart up the stairs and it’d also be good to have someone guide you on the stairs.

3. Wear the Right Clothes

You’re not making a fashion statement while moving, so choose clothes based on comfort and safety (you’ll be happy you did).  You should wear closed-toed shoes that have good tread to make it easy to go up and down stairs while you’re handling heavy objects. You probably don’t want to wear your tightest pair of skinny jeans either.

4. Bring Gloves

Even if it’s 90 degrees outside, bring gloves. Carrying wooden tables, chairs and other objects up to your apartment can leave you with slivers and splinters.

5. Wrap Your Furniture

When carrying sharp tables, chairs, dressers and other objects up the stairs, you’re bound to hit a wall or two. Keep your furniture (and the building’s walls) safe from harm by wrapping the pieces in blankets,  bubble wrap, or another soft fabric.

6. Think Before You Move

Carrying bulky objects up a skinny staircase and through a doorway takes a little bit of strategic thinking. For example, if you’re moving a sofa that bends to the left, you want the open part of the furniture to face the angle of the stairs. You may have to remove any railings if necessary. You may have to remove the legs and cushions of the couch and experiment with various angles.

7. Move the Heavy Stuff First

As much as you may be dreading carrying your metal bed frame up those five flights of stairs, it’s best to tackle that first. By the end of your move, you’re going to be exhausted, which will make moving the heavy stuff even more difficult than it has to be. After you’ve gotten it up to your new place, you’ll be so happy you got it over with.

[Moving Into Your First Apartment]

Side Note: Make sure that all of the large pieces that you’re about to move actually fit into your apartment. It wasn’t until my two friends carried my gargantuan sofa up seven flights of stairs that I realized it wouldn’t even fit through the door. Oops. Lesson learned. Always measure.

8. Know Where to Put the Strongest People

The person lifting the lower end of the furniture up the stairs will have the toughest job, so make sure that this is the person  with the most muscle power. So if grandma’s helping you move, maybe give her a lamp instead of the bottom of the couch.

9. Disassemble Everything You Can

If you have a dresser or a couch that can be broken up into different pieces, do that. This is going to make it so much easier to move up the stairs. Once you have everything in your apartment, then you can go to work on putting the pieces back together. Or you can relax and…

10. Give Yourself a Pat on the Back (Or Maybe a Beer)


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