17 Tips and Tricks for Hauling or Carrying Large Items
Save your back, and some time, with these genius tips for hauling heavy items.
Ladders aren’t easy to carry. They’re heavy, cumbersome, and you’re likely to pinch your finger if you’re not careful. To remedy this, I attach a drawer handle to the side of my step ladder. Now I can easily carry it around with just one hand.
Carrying a sheet of plywood by yourself is awkward and hard on your back. The best method I’ve found is to make a loop from an 18-ft. length of rope and wrap it around two corners. Now I can use the rope as a handle. – Ken Porter
Pickup Bed Rack
Here’s a great hold-it-in-place cargo rack for the bed of your pickup. Use either 1x3s or 2x4s, depending on how much weight you’ll need to restrain. Screw the four pieces together to fit just inside the wheel wells, as shown, with ears extending ahead of and behind the wells. Tools, sandbags and other items will stay where you want them. — Gary Coffman.
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Carry Tall Items High and Low
A tall dresser, filing cabinet or shelving unit is awkward to handle. Make it a two-person job. Tip the item backward at an angle and have one person carry the top while the other carries the bottom. This centers the weight and keeps the item from swinging out of control. Transporting the item up or down stairs is easier too, since the carrying angle will roughly match the slope of the stairs.
Make a Mattress Sling
Trying to wrestle a heavy, floppy mattress anywhere is tough. Many mattresses have handles, but they’re not intended for carrying. They’re actually made to help you position the mattress, so they’re not very strong. Here’s an easier way to carry a mattress: Make a simple rope sling that will give you and your helper a lot more control. Thread the rope through the mattress handles. Slip a 5-in. piece of 1-in. PVC pipe over the rope ends and then loop and tie each end to create a comfortable sling grip. Flip the mattress over so the sling is on the bottom and you’re on your way.
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Whenever possible, disassemble your furniture to make it easier to transport. Break the items down into the smallest possible components, and wrap delicate or precious furniture in moving blankets to protect against gouges and scratches. And don’t forget the furniture hardware! One of our best packing tips for moving is to put the screws, nuts and bolts into a small bag and tape it to the bottom of each piece. That way you’ll have everything you need to reassemble your furniture upon arrival.
Stop Wood From Bouncing Out
If you’re hauling a large load of long lumber, don’t rest it on a raised gate—it just can’t handle that kind of weight. Start by laying out two or more ratchet straps along the bottom of the bed and load the longest and heaviest lumber over the straps. Then stack shorter lengths on top. Secure the cab end, the middle and the trailing end with the straps.
Next, anchor the bundle to the truck bed with two ratchet straps. Crisscross the ratchet straps across the load, attaching one end to the cab end anchor rings and the other end to the farthest bundle strap.
Upgrade Your Wheelbarrow’s Storage
The slanted shape of a wheelbarrow makes it perfect for moving dirt and concrete, but square stuff like toolboxes—not so much. As a lead carpenter for a remodeling firm, I was constantly hauling tools back and forth from my truck to the jobsite, twice a day, everyday. On a whim, I built a box that sat on top of my wheelbarrow (which was onsite from start to finish), so I could haul more tools at once. I liked it so much that I brought it to the next job, and the one after that, and the one after that. It’s just a simple plywood box with cleats fastened to the bottom to keep it from slipping off the wheelbarrow. I’ve hauled mountains of stuff with it over the years. – Josh Risberg
You’d be amazed how easy it is to move heavy, awkward objects with three pieces of PVC pipe. Move playhouses, yard sheds, empty hot tubs and rocks weighing well over a ton with this trick. Use 4-in.-diameter ‘Schedule 40’ PVC, which is available from home centers. Here’s how to do it:
- Lift the front edge of the stone with a pry bar and slip two pipes underneath. Place one near the front and one about midway so the stone rests on the pipes.
- Position the third pipe a foot or two in front of the stone.
- Roll the stone forward onto the third pipe until the rear pipe comes free. Then move the rear pipe to the front and repeat.
This technique works best on relatively flat ground. On mild slopes, you’ll need a helper to shift pipes while you stabilize the load. Don’t use this method on steeper slopes.
With a big, cheap plastic tarp you can drag leaves, branches or mulch around your yard.
This simple and inexpensive hauler is perfect for transporting loads of lumber or heavy tools around the workshop. Add a bit of reinforcement to the pallet first; then install four swiveling casters, one at each corner. You’ll wonder why you didn’t make a pallet dolly sooner!
Here’s how to break down a pallet safely.
Corral Your Clippings
When trimming hedges, use a plastic kiddie pool to catch clippings, kicking it along as you clip. The clippings fall into the pool, making cleanup a snap. When you’re done trimming, dump the clippings into your mulch pile.
Handy Branch Hauler
Need a way to haul branches over to your fire pit? Carrying them in your arms is dirty work and trying to stuff them into a plastic bag is awkward. try using a sturdy plastic shopping bag with handles. Slit the sides, lay it flat, and fill it with branches and small logs. It loads easily and lets you carry wood without getting your clothes full of sap or mud.
More Anchor Points Are Always Better
Anchor points and tie-down rings are a must for every truck, but when I installed a truck bed toolbox, I lost access to the ones at the front of the bed. I solved this problem by bolting a few anchor rings to the toolbox itself. In addition to strapping down materials and gear, I also use them to chain and padlock my expensive tools. – Gary Wentz
Solo Plywood Transport
You can easily move 4 x 8-ft. sheets of plywood by your lonesome with this plywood carrier recommended by cabinetmaker Graham McCulloch. It’s a 30-in.-long x 12-in.-wide piece of 1/2-in. plywood with a carrying hook at the end. Make the hook by attaching a 2-in. and a 4-in. piece of 3/4-in. plywood with glue and screws. Cut a handle slot 2 in. down from the other end. This carrier is designed for people of average height. If you’re on the short side, nest your underarm over a sheet of plywood, mark your hand position on the sheet and lengthen the carrier accordingly.