# Tools For the Spatially Challenged: Couch-Movers EditionAugust 21, 2013 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Wizards of Hive, Before I buy that 90" couch from a friend, how can I make sure I'll be able to get it up my L-shaped stairs? Sure, there are a lot of variables. But is there a tool or methodology for figuring this out ahead of time (presuming I know the depth and height of the couch too)? I don't think I have the cardboard to build a mockup. This couch is 50 miles away and can't be returned. Thanks!
posted by baseballpajamas to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

you could make a 3d mockup in Sketchup if you knew the dimensions of everything. I'd be sure to allow some fudge factor though.
posted by ghharr at 9:43 AM on August 21, 2013

It's worth knowing that most furniture can be taken apart. The feet, the arms, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:53 AM on August 21, 2013

This sort of problem often appears in calculus books under "related rates."

You probably would have the best luck, though, drawing the stairwell to scale on a piece of graph paper and playing with a paper cutout of the couch, also drawn to scale.
posted by alphanerd at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2013

As a slightly better version of the graph-paper-and-cutouts, you could make a scale drawing in Geogebra. Use the construct-angle-by-size and construct-segment-by-length tools to ensure proper scale. This would let you construct the shape of the couch and lock the points to the walls, so you'd be sure to find any places where it collides.
posted by Wulfhere at 10:32 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have a lot of cardboard handy, you can fab up a mockup of the couch. All of the bulk, none of the weight.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:35 AM on August 21, 2013

Most couches can't be taken apart, other than unscrewing the feet and removing cushions. Maybe a sectional can be taken apart. But a regular couch is a solid mass, most of the time.

OP, do you have 90" of height at the landing? How about any impediments along the ceiling over the stairs, or doorways on either end?
posted by aabbbiee at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2013

This might help.
posted by jeffkramer at 10:46 AM on August 21, 2013

Speaking as a spatially challenged person myself, if you consider yourself spatially challenged, consider getting some experienced help moving the sofa. I have been amazed at what people with experience solving this kind of problem can do in terms of getting large pieces of furniture around tight corners.
posted by ambrosia at 10:58 AM on August 21, 2013

utilize the ceiling dimensions of stairways. Bring the couch to the landing, and walk the lead end straight up into the air, so the couch's smallest dimensions are in the landing. Traverse the angles of the landing, and then lower the leading end again.
posted by ohshenandoah at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2013

Beware: a cardboard model of the couch will bend around corners that a real couch won't.
posted by gjc at 11:04 AM on August 21, 2013

I'm not sure where you're located, but if it's a nice enough couch-- consider couch breaking services.
posted by Flamingo at 11:22 AM on August 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: aabbbiee, FWIW the stairs have three steps up to the landing, which has a sloped ceiling that runs parallel to the longer part of the L. The result is that the ceiling over the landing is 68" at the low end and 98" at the high end. The stair is partly exposed, so my only real hope, probably, is to remove the legs from the couch, straddle the "L" of the couch (where the small of your back would be if you were sitting on it) over the "L" of the bannister and pivoting around and up. In short, maybe this whole idea has gone to L. Sadly, I doubt my rural VT location could sustain a formal "couch breaking" industry, Flamingo, but maybe one of my neighbors would be up for the challenge.
posted by baseballpajamas at 11:59 AM on August 21, 2013

This is not necessarily helpful for you, but you might be interested to know that this is a thing in math called the Piano Mover's Problem, and the related field is called motion planning.

More theoretical: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cpa.3160360305/abstract

Note, I don't know anything else about this, I got these links from a mathy friend!
posted by leedly at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2013

I can't tell you if it will fit or not, and I don't know how to do the math. However, I will agree with ambrosia (above) that professional movers can make things happen that you would not think could happen. I have a 90" couch that was moved into a room through doors perpendicular to each other, without 90" of ceiling height, PLUS they didn't break the ceiling light. It was amazing. I have no idea how I will get it out again.
posted by aabbbiee at 2:04 PM on August 22, 2013

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