There’s no doubt about it: hauling furniture and other large objects to and fro is one of the most onerous parts of move-in day, and after the exhaustion of packing up and unloading countless boxes kicks in, furnishing your new place can seem like a Herculean task. Lucky for us all, it only takes a bit of preemptive measuring on your part to cut out a lot of the grunt work and make the whole process move a lot more smoothly. Because let’s face it, when you’ve got a 250-pound couch to lug up to your new second-floor abode, you don’t want to have it on your hands (quite literally) for a single minute more than you absolutely have to.
Measuring Your New Building’s Elevator
Start by measuring all the furniture pieces you’ll be transporting to your new place. You’ll also want to determine whether or not your new unit is accessible via elevator (if you have a ground floor rental, you’re in luck). Some furniture just won’t fit in an elevator, so make sure you have adequate clearance before you attempt any heavy lifting by taking a measuring tape (a good quality, construction-grade one is recommended) and measuring out the perimeter of the elevator interior. You may also want to measure the elevator’s height and diagonal clearance.
Although you can usually eyeball the area and make a common-sense decision as to whether or not something is going to fit, it never hurts to double-check. If you’re really lucky, your building might even give tenants access to multiple elevators of different sizes.
Finally, you should always make sure to take note of an elevator’s maximum weight capacity (usually, this number is prominently displayed inside). Most furniture is not nearly heavy enough to cause a problem, but as they say, “better safe than sorry.”
No Elevator? Time to Measure the Stairwells
If it turns out some of your pieces are too big for the elevator, or the building just doesn’t have an elevator, you may have no other option but to lug them up the staircase. It definitely helps to have at least one other set of hands around in these cases, whether it be a roommate, friend, or relative.
If you’re unable to find the necessary volunteers, you may require some professional assistance. In that case, hiring a moving company may be a viable route. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll find that a quick measuring of the width and height of your new building’s stairwells saves you a lot of unnecessary work. Starting at the bottom, note the stair width and height all the way up, as well as the diagonal width of any turns that might occur along the way.
Entering the Apartment
Next, take measurements for your floor, marking both the width and height of the hallway outside your unit and those of any doorways you encounter. Once again, remember to take into account the diagonal width of the hallway and doorways. Now do the same for the actual entryway of your apartment, making sure you’ll be able to fit all your belongings through it. Measure any other doorways inside the apartment after that. That way, if you’ve already brought your bed frame up the stairs, you’ll know exactly how to maneuver it to get it through the bedroom door. No surprises, no stress!
Measuring the Rooms
On the subject of rooms, you should also take the time to measure the perimeter of each room, starting along the walls to check how high the ceiling goes in each of them (in most apartments, it will be a uniform height throughout). You’ll also want to measure each space’s dimensions, making note of any fixed elements like heaters or fans that could possibly affect furniture placement. After all, there might be a radiator or window on one wall that limits where you can move your bed or bookcase.
With regard to where some rooms in your apartment may be located, you should also determine the dimensions of any corridors in your apartment. Are any of the rooms at the end of a hallway? Be prepared for that inevitability by taking both width and diagonal measurements of the space around it. Many interior halls can be quite narrow, and you’ll almost always have to position some furniture diagonally to avoid mishaps.
Are you having difficulty bringing some pieces of furniture in through the apartment’s front door? See if you can get it through the back patio or balcony. Unfortunately, some apartments may lack more than one entrance (other than a fire escape). Certain furniture can be disassembled — that unwieldy Ikea desk can be unscrewed and brought in piece by piece — but in other cases, there’s just no recourse, and you’ll have to either sell the piece or put it into storage.
When you’ve finally succeeded in doing all the measuring, you may discover that even though your new place has approximately the same square footage as the old one, it’s much different in terms of its overall layout. Just embrace this as an opportunity to be inventive in how you structure your new space. Get creative and switch things up from the way they were before. The possibilities really are limitless, so remember to allow the feng shui to start flowing and use your imagination! Start visualizing where you want your furniture and sketch it out on some graph paper prior to moving in.
By taking all these important measurements, you’ll eliminate much of the guesswork that so commonly plagues the process of moving furniture into a new place. Happy decorating!