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Moving Article

Ten Most Dangerous Things to Move

Are you preparing for a move? Here are 10 items you should reconsider moving yourself.

By Terence Loose    

A do-it-yourself move can be a lot of things: stressful, long, tiring... and that's if you're lucky. If you also have heavy, bulky, or fragile items, it can also get downright dangerous.

Yes, certain things, like brain surgery, bomb defusing, and piano moving, should really be left to the professionals.

With that in mind, here are 10 items that experts consider dangerous for do-it-yourself moving and may warrant a call to the pros.

#1 Item to Never Move Yourself - Piano

Big. Check. Delicate. Check. Heavy. Triple check. That piano that provides so much entertainment during parties is public enemy No. 1 for you on moving day.

In fact, a piano is probably the most dangerous item to move because of its weight and fragile nature, according to John Bisney, a spokesman for the American Moving & Storage Association. He suggests hiring pros for all piano transportation.

Upright pianos, which are more compact than grand pianos due to a vertical frame and strings, can be moved by you and a few strong friends, says Bisney. But it won't be easy. "Do not move the piano through the house or onto the truck on its wheels. Instead, put it on a four-wheel dolly and be sure to well-pad the keys and the foot pedals," he recommends.

As for grand pianos, Bisney says that because of their massive size and fragile legs, they usually require riggers, who specialize in moving pianos.

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#2 Item to Never Move Yourself - Pool Table

Your pool table is another source of wonderful entertainment that is anything but fun on moving day.

They are dangerous to move because of their slate - the large, flat surface that is usually made of actual slate rock, according to Bisney. Slate is heavy, and if lifted wrong, it could spell major back trouble.

It's also very fragile, with corners that need thick padding to protect. Plus, it should be shipped vertically, not horizontally. "Crating the slate is by far the best way to ship it," says Bisney.

Because of a pool table's weight, Bisney says that most people hire pros for the moving process. "Also, have a professional company reassemble and re-level the table in the new residence," he advises.

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#3 Item to Never Move Yourself - Fish Tank

How does it sound to walk backward downstairs holding a big glass box? Pretty dangerous, right? Yes, it's a little ironic that something as soothing as a fish tank can be more dangerous than using box cutters blindfolded come moving day.

That's because fish tanks are extremely fragile once the water is removed, says Bisney. In particular, the glass panel edges are considered weak points. Break those, and you will have sheets of glass flying loose. For that reason, he suggests hiring pros for the job.

But if you must brave it alone, Bisney does offer the following advice.

"If you have pillows, put them inside the tank to stabilize it, being careful not to put stress on the seams, then fully pad-wrap the tank," says Bisney. Finally, try to assemble it in the new residence so your fish can get back in their home as soon as possible. This lowers the possibility of your fish dying.

#4 Item to Never Move Yourself - Fine Art

Believe it or not, fine art can cause a range of dangers. Lifting sculptures or statues improperly can end in a visit to the chiropractor, while dropping paintings can end in a visit to the art restorer. Neither ends up being cheap.

In addition, Bisney says, the smallest ding can devalue or even ruin a work of art. For that reason, he suggests considering pros. Just make sure that they have experience moving fine and precious art.

"Valuable art should be custom-crated before moving it from its display area for maximum protection," he adds.

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#5 Item to Never Move Yourself - Exercise Equipment

Want a real workout? Try lifting that treadmill instead of running on it.

"Treadmills, stationary bikes, weight sets... Don't try to move these yourself unless you've reached your weight-lifting goals," says Bisney. "Even then, such home gyms present a special challenge, since they're designed to be stable during operation and typically use an especially heavy frame and base."

If you decide to hire professionals, one thing to remind them of is to be especially careful going in and out of doors. "[Exercise equipment] often damages the woodwork around your doors," he says. This, of course, results in another kind of workout: sanding and painting.

#6 Item to Never Move Yourself - Big Screen TV

Attempting to move your 60-inch plasma might be the best entertainment your household sees all year. "These are heavy, with sharp corners and often large sheets of glass. So they're dangerous not only to you but, like fine art, also dangerously expensive if you drop them," says Bisney.

He suggests either hiring pros or purchasing special boxes. Two- or four-part mirror containers work fairly well. Or you can ask your local retailer for extra TV boxes.

"The main thing is to avoid letting anything come in contact with the screen itself and to move it upright," says Bisney.

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#7 Item to Never Move Yourself - Washer and Dryer

Here's another set of heavy, bulky items that pose a real danger to your back and property.

They're also expensive to replace, so your bank account is in as much jeopardy as your back.

And if you've got the front-loading type, look out. A two-wheeled dolly can easily damage the internal workings of the machine. For this reason, you should use a four-wheeled dolly or hire pros, says Bisney.

Even though top-loaders are constructed differently and offer a little more protection to their inner-workings, they are still dangerous to move, Bisney adds. But if you're going to try, one good tactic that he suggests is to wrap the machine in plastic wrap. Therefore, the door can't swing open and the paint is protected from scratches.

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#8 Item to Never Move Yourself - Plants

Unless you're into cacti, your plants are probably not too dangerous. At least to you, anyway.

To your couch, clothes, and anything else that's susceptible to dirt or water stains, plants are more frightening than a frat party. For this reason, you might want to consider hiring pros for moving your plants.

Plus, says Bisney, "It can be tricky to make sure plants themselves survive a move." Temperature is the enemy, according to Bisney. To reduce time spent in a hot truck, plants should be the last thing loaded and the first thing unloaded.

If you decide to move your plants yourself, Bisney says to, "use plastic trash bags under the planter, dampen some newspaper, and cover the exposed soil."

"This will keep the soil moist, but not allow dripping and water damage. Pull the trash bag up to the plant and secure it to the plant to keep the soil and damp newspaper inside," says Bisney.

#9 Item to Never Move Yourself - Wine Collection

There are two options here. One, have a really raging pre-move party and drink all your wine. Two, be very careful how you move dozens or even hundreds of your glass wine bottles. After all, there's a reason that bottles are the first thing that people grab in a bar fight: they can be really dangerous to humans.

To reduce the chance of breakage, Bisney suggests using professional movers. If the wine collection is considerably valuable, moving specialists should be hired.

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Just remember, says Bisney, try to limit extreme temperature and movement. Most professional movers are adept at dealing with wine collections, but if you move it yourself, use your car, he recommends. Cars have better shocks and are (usually) climate controlled.

#10 Item to Never Move Yourself - Jungle Gym

Here's something that will take all the fun out of that jungle gym. Yes, there's nothing quite like getting wrapped in chains and then bonked on the head with a steel pole. Or your new truck might take a blow to its rear window while transporting the jungle gym.

Bisney says that jungle gyms pose a great danger to do-it-yourself movers because of their bulk. They also require tools to take apart the pieces. And a jungle gym's size makes it difficult to load in a truck.

Bisney suggests contacting professional movers. But if you do move it yourself, be sure to completely disassemble all moving parts. Also, plastic wrap poles and chains together when possible. Finally, load the pieces on the bottom of the truck and secure them with line.

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