How do I get a 198 lb box up two stairs and inside before it rains?
May 21, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

FedEx freight just delivered a mattress but did not bring it inside. The mattress is in a rectangular box that is 198 lbs and I need to get it up and over two stairs so that I can slide it into the house through the front door.

I am not strong enough to lift it up on my own, beyond a few inches, and it needs to clear two stairs and 2 additional inches to slide into the house. I would be less concerned (a friend could probably help in 6 hours) but it is supposed to rain. Any thoughts? I have been trying my best to incorporate my AP high school physics into my strategy, but so far have not succeeded (trying to lift the box onto it's shorter side and then flipping it into the house does not work, because I cannot get it up on my own). The box is at least 8 feet tall by 3 feet wide, and 2 feet deep. A note: I have considered opening the box but based on past experience, I think the mattress (which is compressed) will be too challenging to hold onto, on my own. Thanks!
posted by anya32 to Home & Garden (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Instead of getting it inside, would it be feasible instead to keep the box dry until you have help available? Say with a tarp and something thick placed at each of the four corners, for example?
posted by jangie at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of mattresses are delivered in a plastic wrap to protect them from water damage. Can you check to see if yours is? If it isn't, can you cover the box to protect it from rain?
posted by Jairus at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2014

How much do you weigh?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2014

Also can you please post a photo of the box and the front door?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2014

Response by poster: I weigh a beefy 135. I am checking to see if the mattress is covered. My only tarp is not big enough (just fits under a tent).
posted by anya32 at 9:35 AM on May 21, 2014

Knock on a neighbor's door, or ask some stout-looking people walking by to help. Asking for help with a simple task is a great way to make friends. Making friends with people in your neighborhood is always a good idea!
posted by fritley at 9:39 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Is there anyone nearby that could help? I ran into a similar situation once (needed to get a 150 lb piece of equipment into the back of a van, by myself) and after thinking about physics for a while I just flagged down a car and some guy helped me lift it in.

If you're out in the boonies, I'm imagining some sort of see-saw lever system. You say you can lift it a few inches. Can you lift it enough to slide something underneath it, several times?
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:40 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I am actually trying what you recommend, Elly. Slowly building up height under the front of the box to get it up and over the stairs. Photo coming in a minute. And none of my neighbors seems to be around right now.
posted by anya32 at 9:41 AM on May 21, 2014

Response by poster: The box, door, step situation: here
posted by anya32 at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2014

Can you push it end-over-end to make it "walk" up the stairs?
posted by jabes at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you able to lift the end farthest away from the door? Could you "roll" it up on the end facing the door, and then tip it over so that it falls with that end over the door frame?
posted by Lafe at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2014

That's such a wide box - is it two pieces side by side inside?
posted by Lyn Never at 9:49 AM on May 21, 2014

If you succeed in building up height and get one end up onto the top step, are you going to be able to push it up and in through the door? Keep in mind you'll be pushing it upwards as well.

I am also imagining a way to use those iron railings to your benefit. If you had a long rope you could loop the ends through the railings, around the back of the box (where you would be pushing) and then you could push and pull on it at the same time.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2014

Best answer: OK, this is going to seem counterintuitive, but drag it away from the stairs, and then use the roll-end-over-end method so it'll rest on the stairs on the long side, not the short. It should fit through the door that way. And then drag it on end from there.
posted by mochapickle at 9:53 AM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: If you have access to planks or boards or anything like that:

Place planks or boards or anything like that onto the stairs. Then cut the top and sides of the side of the box facing the door, and fold it out onto the planks. This will form a makeshift ramp, and the sides of the box will keep the mattress upright as you either pull it up the ramp, or more likely, push from the other side (you will need to cut a hole in the other side of the box). This may not be as advisable if the mattress is not wrapped in plastic. Once it's up the two steps, it should be angled sufficiently that you can push it into the door.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:04 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Craigslist Gigs, under labor. Post with your phone number for something like 20-30 bucks, you will start getting texts and calls within 5 minutes.
posted by rockindata at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Can you afford to pay someone to help you? If so, send direct messages to some reputable task rabbits. Personally, if I could afford it I would offer to pay the minimum coach-moving estimate for your area, although others might weigh in that it would perfectly fine to offer less.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:10 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Task Rabbit, if it's available in your area.
posted by alms at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2014

Task rabbit = $
Craigslist = $

OP has no money.

Make 1 hole on each side of the box and thread rope through them - tie the ends of the rope. You now have literally a handle on the box. Drag it through the doorway & out of the impending rain.
posted by Kruger5 at 10:31 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Make a ramp and slide it up.
posted by futz at 10:40 AM on May 21, 2014

Get a bigger tarp? Probably the easiest solution, given that you cannot lift even one end of the box.
posted by zug at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2014

Response by poster: I just got the box up so that it is standing on the short side! Now I am going to try to slowly wiggle it to the steps! I used a cooler with wheels for leverage. Fingers-crossed! They say rain and hail are on their way!
posted by anya32 at 10:58 AM on May 21, 2014

Rope through the box will tear through the cardboard and leave the OP on her ass.

Rolling the box end over end is the most expedient way, but the way most likely for the box to fall over - be careful. If it starts to fall, get out of the way and let it (this is the voice of experience - two broken fingers trying to catch a falling appliance dolly.

If you can't do mochapickle's suggestion and you can afford it, an appliance dolly is probably the easiest for a one person job only in that the good ones have a stair tread. I've solo moved arcade machines this way (I'm not strong) and they run about 300 pounds.

Otherwise ramp and rollers/skids? Essentially you have a big box with large mass and high friction. Anything you can do to reduce any of those will help, including possibly opening the box.

Oh - one thing I've seen done - are you in a tiny, tiny town? Because you might be able to enlist the aid of a firefighter or police officer. When I last moved, the movers wanted to get done faster and looked to hire the local firefighters (who were unfortunately busy with a spaghetti supper).
posted by plinth at 10:59 AM on May 21, 2014

Cut up large trash bags and tape them together to extend the size of the tarp. Fold over the seams and tape on the underside. That should be fine until you can get someone to help.
posted by Sophont at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2014

Response by poster: I got it in! Thank you all so so very much - I combined your recommendations! I built up one side using books, wood blocks from projects, and ultimately pushed a cooler on wheels underneath. To do that, though, I first put it on the long side. Then I was able to lift it up for a few inches and move the cooler under further, until I had enough leverage to stand it up. 10 minutes of wiggle dancing it to the door and I was able to walk it down and into the house, and push it in on a towel. Thank you again! And Task Rabbits looks like an amazing resource to keep for another time.
posted by anya32 at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2014 [17 favorites]

I'm glad you beat the rain! I just want to put in my two bits for using a skateboard to move stuff. I am an average strength woman and I was able to move a cast iron barber chair from one end of the house to the other (alone) with a small plastic skateboard I had bought at a yard sale. Because it has an upward curve you can use the item you are moving to steer it or lift the front wheels to get over a threshold.
posted by InkaLomax at 5:19 PM on May 21, 2014

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