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Lifting boxes safely while moving

Safety should be your number one priority when planning a move. Practice these moving tips to prevent injury while hauling heavy items. 

How to Properly Lift Heavy Boxes

As you work through the items on your moving checklist, some tasks will only be as physically demanding as picking up the telephone to change your utility service, or grasping a pen to fill out some forms. However, a number of relocating responsibilities require a bit more hands-on effort. While you're lifting, hauling and otherwise putting stress on your body, be sure to practice some precautionary measures so as not to injure yourself or anyone around you. Here are a few suggestions for ensuring that you are lifting boxes safely and that your move is safe and sound.

Alternatives to lifting

If you've hired a moving company, you'll likely have a team of professionals taking care of hauling furniture and other oversized items. However, you might try to tackle smaller tasks on your own, such as lifting boxes of heavy household goods, including books or dishware. Picking up too much weight can strain your body, so you may want to consider alternatives that reduce your chances of getting hurt. For instance, try to balance the weight of boxes by pairing heavier goods with lighter ones. If you're packing up your home library, try placing only a few books in each container, and filling the rest of the space with related, light-weight goods. Alternately, look for wheeled containers for transporting heavier items. Not only does this simplify the moving process, but it also saves your body from having to bear the extra weight.

Raising boxes safely

Consider your lifting technique

If you opt to lift boxes without additional assistance, be sure to practice the proper technique to prevent injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, a few seconds of foresight can make all the difference in terms of minimizing physical risk when carrying heavy objects. The source recommends taking a moment to consider your technique and strategy before picking up a weighty box. If you have to travel up or down stairs with the container, have a path in mind. Attempting to rearrange other items to create room is the last thing you'll want to do when your arms are full with a heavy load.

Use proper form for heavy lifts

When it comes time to pick the box up from the floor, you want to use your leg muscles, not those in your back, to lift. For this reason, experts explain, you should never pick up a package from a standing position. Begin by standing directly next to the box, then lower your body so that you're kneeling next to it with one leg bent up and the corresponding foot resting flat on the floor. To minimize stress on your back, you'll want to keep the package as close as possible during each step. Keep your back straight by tightening your abdominal muscles - but don't hold your breath - and raise the box just enough to rest it on the knee that is parallel to the ground. From there, continue bringing the container upward while keeping it close to your body and maintaining your posture. Remember that your leg muscles should be doing the work to raise your torso and the box.

Try the squat technique to lift properly 

An alternative to the kneeling method is to attempt a squat technique. Stand with your feet flat on the ground and legs slightly apart on either side of the package. With a straight back, squat over the box and grasp it firmly with both hands before rising to an upright position. As with the first style of lifting, posture and leg muscles are of the utmost importance for avoiding injury. If you feel pain as your begin to life the box, slowly lower it back to the ground and seek additional assistance.

Remember that no matter what the moving task, your safety comes first. If you feel pain or stress while attempting to lift a box, it's best to seek additional assistance and not risk hurting yourself. 

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