I have to move this couch without bending space and time.
December 17, 2011 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me get this couch back *out* my apartment! Arrrrrrrrrrggggghhhh.

New York City Problems.

So I bought a couch from Room & Board about a year ago. I'm now moving and selling it to a friend.

The Room & Board delivery men got it in here easy as pie. But today we've gone through two different movers, who have both given up.

It seems that the hallway outside the front door is too tight to turn it.

This isn't an incredibly specific question, but what now? Frustration levels are running pretty high.

posted by functionequalsform to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are there feet on the couch which can be removed? Can any part of the couch be unscrewed?
posted by fake at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2011

Do you have a picture of the stuck couch?
posted by astapasta24 at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2011

Two different movers couldn't maneuver it around the hallway corner?

Photos of the sofa and your hallway? Does it have legs that had to be added after it was delivered? Can you call Room and Board and ask how they fit it through small openings?
posted by iconomy at 12:04 PM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: Feet are off. Posting to flickr now. Stand by. CAPSLOCK IS HOW I FEEL RICK.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:05 PM on December 17, 2011 [9 favorites]

I'm assuming all the positions have been tried, upside down, reversed, standing up, rolling along the floor etc. Often the least intuitive angle yields the best results.
posted by Kattullus at 12:07 PM on December 17, 2011

I just had a couch delivered from Room & Board today and to get it in my living room they had to open my bathroom door because the protruding door knob, when the door was closed, was blocking their way. Are there any door knobs in your way? Small object but it wouldn't budge till it was out of the way.
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 12:08 PM on December 17, 2011

Also: These moving guys have saved me before. If you wanted to try a third set of movers in NYC.
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2011

Best answer: If the other guys got it in, there must be a way to get it out (imagine playing a video of it backwards), BUT if you get truly, truly stuck, you can call the Couch Doctor. They will get it out of there, and get it in your new place, but they will do so by cutting up your couch and reassembling it in your new place. It's macabre. I recommend not watching. But when they are done you can't even tell it happened! (The big downside is it costs like $350).
posted by jeb at 12:11 PM on December 17, 2011

Having been in that hallway, it is a tight fit. When the couch came in, was it wrapped in plastic? Perhaps they took advantage of the flexibility/squishability of the couch to make it happen.

If it is getting fully out the door, it may just be getting out the door in the wrong orientation to turn it over the stairwell.

SO HARD to troubleshoot from here, sorry for any and all obvious answers.
posted by fake at 12:14 PM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: Here's the damn couch. Here's the damn hallway.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:15 PM on December 17, 2011

My guess based on the video and picture you've uploaded:

Take the couch as it is in the 1st picture and move it through the door so that what's usually the bottom is facing the doorframe. Get it over the baseboard by tilting it. The scratches that it made when it came in makes me think that the movers then turned the couch before it was completely in your door (or turn it before it's completely out in this case). So now the what's usually the bottom of the couch is now facing a wall. It seems it's skinny enough to fit through that hallway?

Getting a big guy to help won't hurt either. He'll maybe be able to pull/tug it more.
posted by astapasta24 at 12:20 PM on December 17, 2011

Have you tried removing the baseboard yet?
posted by TryTheTilapia at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had a couch like that once. Movers moved it in, and a friend bought it and moved it out, with my help. The friend who bought it was a weightlifter and a mathematician; I kept wondering whether we were just going to move the damn thing or whether we were going to try to prove it couldn't be moved. (But like jeb said, if it got in, it can get out.)
posted by madcaptenor at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yup, it removes easily. Or at least it did. The last set of movers stripped the screw.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:24 PM on December 17, 2011

Can you take the measurements of the door, hallway (at the narrowest point,) and the couch?

Like fake said, try putting in a giant plastic bag (a big garbage bag on each end would work.) My movers did that to move a couch through a door that mathematically should not have allowed it in.
posted by punchtothehead at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2011

I had a similar couch issue at one point. (Dear V., if you are reading this thank you again for solving it!) Eventually someone tried tipping the couch forward at about a 45 degree angle to get the first arm through the doorway. That exact method would not work with that narrow hallway, but maybe if it was tipped forward, and arm maneuvered through, and one end or another then lifted up?

That hallway looks like it narrows down to about 2 feet wide, did you see how they got it past that point when it was delivered? It's hard to imagine the couch getting past that unless the arms come off. If you are willing to cut the bottom fabric you may find some way to detach them.
posted by yohko at 12:30 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you get it out of a window instead, and lower it to the ground using rope?
posted by JingleButt_HiRes_REAL.gif at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take end A and feed it around the corner and when half the sofa's through the doorway, start tilting it so that end A is on the hallway floor and end B is tilted up towards the doorway where "it seems to get stuck here" is. And then level it out while going through the hallway. Wow this is hard to explain.
posted by iconomy at 12:33 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

My best stab:
Couch: Directions (left, right, top, bottom, back & front) are relative to when seated in it
  • Start with the couch sitting on the right side with the bottom facing the door.
  • Have one person grasp the left side of the couch and tip it toward the door, stepping out toward the hallway.
  • Rotate the couch as it comes down so it's resting on the (front,bottom,left) corner so it passes through the doorway.
  • Tip the couch toward the door, low enough that it passes the doorway.
  • Both of you carry it through the door until the left side is clear of the door.
  • Once the left side is clear of the door, the other person carries the right side out and pushes it under so the couch is once again on the right side.
  • rotate so the couch back faces down the hallway and scoot past the light.
  • Have one person tip the left side of the couch down, and the other stay behind the right side.
  • lift and carry out.

posted by Orb2069 at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2011

I have done this a few times. You'll probably scratch the wall in the process, but it is doable, looking at the photo/video.
Turn the couch on its end to get it through the door. Tip it on end so one arm is on the floor and the "inside" corner is facing the side of the doorframe that it needs to negotiate around (the direction that it will go in). Twist the sofa around the doorframe, then tip the couch onto its long side, to carry to the next turn. If the couch is too wide/high to manoever along the corridor, turn it so that the corner (where the back meets the seat) is facing towards one wall and the seat & back edges are facing towards the other (so it makes a triangle when you are looking at it). You'll find that this makes it narrower than either the seat or the back width/height. Get it to the next opening, then tip it on its end again, to twist (rotate) it around that opening, with the inside of the seat/back (the sides that you sit upon) facing the doorframe that you are rotating it around.
If the sofa is too long to get through the doorframe end up, just tilt it a little, so that one arm goes through the doorframe, then twist it as much as possible upright, to get it through the opening. The idea is to get the sofa so that the side where the cushions go (the open side of the triangle that the seat/back present) is rotated *around* the upright of the opening, in the direction it needs to go.
posted by Susurration at 12:45 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ok. Third set of movers coming "before 5." They "guarantee" they can get it out. Haha.

I'm collecting your theories to share with them, backseat driver style, if you will.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:46 PM on December 17, 2011

Carry it towards the door with the back of the couch facing up.

As the person moving backwards goes through the door, have them lift lift LIFT! their end of the couch so that by the time both people are through the door, the couch is standing up on end out in the hallway, with the seating area facing down the hall. Then scoot it along the floor on it's end until you can jackknife it around that weird skinny spot and get it down the stairs.

It's so clear what to do in my head, but so hard to explain here with this keyboard. Good luck!
posted by carsonb at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keep the couch as it is in that picture, rotate it on its side however you need to to fit it through the doorway. Couch at this point should still be on its side like in your picture. If you need to, tilt the top end of the couch through the door frame and then straighten it (so it's still on one end) as you move it through the door. Couch should be in the hallway and STILL on its side like in your picture. At this point, you may need to rotate it couch on its side if one side is too wide for the hall way. Use a tape measure, if necessary. Then take the BOTTOM side, as in, the part that is currently sitting on the floor, and tilt that end toward the exit of the hallway (so left, from what I can see in the pic). Voila. You have removed your couch.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:45 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

put a large piece of cardboard (I'm thinking of one side of a refrigerator box would be ideal, but whatever you've got will help) between the couch and anything you have to get past, it will reduce the damage and there is less friction.
posted by HuronBob at 1:50 PM on December 17, 2011


(also, what, no Douglas Adams references?)
posted by zadcat at 2:01 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

I have no real wisdom but I love the idea of crowd-sourcing couch removal so much.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:16 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I will definitely keep you all updated. Of course they're 45 minutes late.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:26 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The enormous -70 chest freezer we moved into our lab had to be tilted vertically, with the open door pivoting around the corners.
posted by francesca too at 2:50 PM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: Well, here we go again. These guys are serious. They took the front door off. Still no dice.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:54 PM on December 17, 2011

wait, so you haven't even been able to get the high corner into the door jamb? the narrow hallway is one thing, but if whatever faces the door is (how close?) up against the door, that's going to be a tough one over the internet with the pix provided.
posted by rhizome at 2:58 PM on December 17, 2011

It's a long shot, but you could try calling Room & Board - either for advice or to see if it's possible for their delivery people to give it a shot.
posted by yarrow at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2011

Response by poster: It's out!!! SPACE TIME COUCH IS OUT. They took the door off and buzz sawed all of the wood out from under it, but it's out.

My god. I'm never moving again. Thank you my friends!!

If this ever happens to anybody, pay the extra and just call Couch Doctors.
posted by functionequalsform at 3:08 PM on December 17, 2011 [12 favorites]

I'm so glad you got it out! I'm late to this thread, but wanted to share my "my couch got stuck in the hallway in a Philadelphia rowhouse story. We got it stuck in the hallway to the point of not being able to get it either in or out of the apartment (or indeed out of the hallway at all). At some point, hours later, I had the (genius) idea of pouring cooking oil all over that sucker. Slid right out.

I guess you'd need to include a plastic bag cover for this to work out well with a fabric couch.

Good luck with the rest of your move!
posted by corn_bread at 9:02 AM on December 18, 2011

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