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How to Use a Dolly for Moving

Whether you are moving a single appliance, grandma’s solid oak china cabinet, or a whole household of furniture, having the right tools and equipment on hand when transporting large and bulky items will make the job faster, easier, and safer.

A dolly also called a hand truck, is one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment used by delivery professionals and movers. Dollys allow you to move heavy items quickly, with reduced strain on your body. Moreover, using a dolly provides more security than just your hands, as you are less likely to drop or break the item. Hand trucks allow you to easily move items up and down ramps, and even down staircases. Professional movers estimate that using a hand truck or dolly can cut loading/unload time for a large move by 50 percent.

Depending on the weight and construction of your dolly, it may be used to move items that are several hundred pounds. Some furniture dollies can even be used to move items that are heavier than 1,000 pounds. Their rubber tires don’t leave marks on the floor, and the ergonomic handles or hand bars make it easy to push the load.

Using a dolly isn’t difficult. So grab a dolly, helper and follow the steps below to tackle your next moving project.

How to Use a Dolly

  1. Choose the Right Dolly: A basic dolly is a platform with wheels. By lifting your furniture or bulky item onto the platform, you are able to easily steer it where you need it to go. Despite this simple definition, there are several types of dollies, and choosing the right dolly as your moving helper is important to ensuring the safety of your cargo and ease of your project. See our blog post here to learn about different dolly types.
  2. Clear Your Path: Remove any obstacles between your starting and ending point. This will make your journey easier, and prevent and crashing or tipping of the dolly.
  3. Load Your Dolly: Bring your dolly to the item you wish to move. Tilt the dolly forward to slide it under the item. If necessary, get a helper to tilt the item back so that it lifts half an inch off the floor, allowing the dolly to slip easily under the item. If you are loading multiple boxes, put the heaviest box at the base of the hand truck.
  4. Don’t Over Stack: Don’t stack boxes above the vertical part of the dolly, or they will topple off when you tilt the dolly. For large items, like an appliance or piece of furniture, you will likely transport one item at a time on your dolly. It’s better to take multiple trips than overload your dolly, which may lead to tipping.
  5. Secure Your Cargo: Secure your items to ensure they don’t slip off the dolly. An appliance dolly will have a strap that allows you to secure the appliance in place. If you are using a basic hand truck, bungee cords or ratchet straps may serve this purpose.
  6. Move Your Items: Tilt the loaded dolly toward you, balancing the weight of the load over the wheels. Use one hand to hold and steady the top of your cargo, use the other to push the dolly forward. Walk slowly toward your destination. Roll over small bumps and even stairs. If rolling down the stairs, go one step at a time. Keep your load steady, if the hand truck tilts too far backward, you may lose control of the dolly and drop or spill your load. If necessary, have a helper steady heavy loads when easing down staircases.

Additional Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do use the right equipment and don’t try to move a large item or appliance with the wrong hand truck. Check the load capacity before moving a heavy item. Appliances should always be moved using a specialized appliance dolly to ensure it is properly secured.
  • Do lift with your legs, don’t lift with your back. When loading and unloading, keep your back straight and bend at the knee. Slowly lift the item up. Lifting with your back may lead to strain or injuries.
  • Do secure your items and don’t begin moving until your load is secured with bungees or ratcheting straps.
  • Do have a moving helper, don’t try to move bulky items by yourself. Heavy items can fall or you might injure yourself trying to lift it alone. Don’t have a buddy to help? GoShare can send a delivery pro in under an hour to assist with your project.

Using a dolly to move heavy and bulky items, or large stacks of boxes can make the project easier and faster. Don’t own a dolly? Check out our recommended hand trucks here on the GoShare Equipment page.

If you’ve got a big job, or are moving extremely heavy items like furniture and appliances, you may want to consider professional assistance. GoShare’s Delivery Pros are just a tap away. Hire a delivery pro using GoShare’s site or app and they can arrive in less than an hour. They’ll even bring their own dolly!