How to tie down furniture in a moving truck

When performing a self-move, it's crucial to know how to tie down furniture in a moving truck. More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Dec 21, 2022.

When performing a self-move and renting a moving truck to transport your belongings to your new home, you need to load the moving vehicle correctly in order to maximize the available space and minimize the risk of accidents and damages during the trip.

When wondering how to properly pack your rented truck, you will probably be thinking about what to load first and how to arrange your items so that they all fit in and the load is well balanced. While these things are indeed essential for a safe and efficient move, there is one more crucial question you need to find the answer to when transporting your belongings in a moving van – how to secure things in the vehicle, so they don’t topple over or shift around and bump into one another during transit.

First and foremost, you need to find out how to secure your largest and heaviest household items – your furniture pieces (as they may not only get damaged but may also cause damage to other items in your shipment if they shift during transportation).

So, how to tie down furniture in a moving truck?

Use moving tie down straps

The best way to secure large items in a moving truck is to tie them to the metal bars that run along the walls of the vehicle – and the safest and easiest way to do so is with the help of ratchet straps.

Sturdy, reliable, and easy to use, ratchet straps for moving, also commonly referred to as moving truck straps, are extremely handy for securing the load in a moving vehicle. All you need to do in order to tie down an item in a moving truck with a ratchet strap is to place the strap around the item and attach the strap hooks to the notches in the metal bars running along the walls of the truck.

Here is how to use ratchet straps for moving the right way:

  1. Feed the long ratchet strap through the ratchet head- The ratchet head is attached to a small piece of strap with a hook on its other end. To thread the long ratchet strap through it, open the ratchet head (pull up the ratchet lever located in the center of the head and flip the ratchet head open), then take the end of the long strap that has no hook on it and push it through the back of the ratchet head and out the top. Pull the strap through until the hooked end of the long strap gets close to the ratchet head;
  2. Position a furniture piece against the wall of the moving truck and put the long strap hook in a notch in one of the metal bars running along that wall. There are several metal bars with notches on each truck wall, running at different heights, parallel to one another. Choose a metal bar that is located lower than the top of the furniture and a notch that is slightly behind the piece (so that when the strap is tightened, the tension pulls the furniture into the wall, thus keeping it in place and preventing it from shifting during transit);
  3. Place the strap around the furniture piece and attach the ratchet head hook – Depending on the shape and size of the furniture and its position in the truck, it may be better to attach the ratchet head hook to a notch on the same metal bar where the long strap hook is attached, to a notch on another metal bar (higher or lower) on the same truck wall, or to a notch on the other side of the truck. Either way, make sure the notch is located slightly behind the furniture – otherwise, the ratchet strap won’t keep the piece from sliding from side to side during transit;
  4. When both hooks are attached, pull the end of the long strap to remove the slack between the two hooks;
  5. Crank the ratchet head to tighten the strap and secure the furniture in place (the created tension will pull the furniture into the moving truck wall and will prevent it from shifting). Be careful not to overdo it though – too much pressure could cause the strap to snap or the ratchet head to get damaged. If the furniture piece you’re securing is more delicate, the great pressure could cause damage to it as well;
  6. When the strap is taut enough, close the ratchet head (flip it into closed position and press it down until you hear it latch) to “lock” the strap.

Your furniture piece will be secured in place and will stay safe and sound during the move.

Now that you know how to tie down furniture in a moving truck, you won’t need to worry about your pieces toppling down or hitting other items in the vehicle – and getting damaged or causing damage – during sharp turns or sudden stops. As useful and efficient as moving tie down straps may be though, tying your furniture – and your other belongings – in place is just the first step to securing things in a moving truck – the next, equally important one, is to create a tight load.

Pack your items tight

When packing a moving truck, you aim for safety and efficiency – so you can fit in as many items as possible and ensure they stay intact and unscathed during transportation. To achieve this goal, you’re advised to pack in tiers, from floor to ceiling – and to make the tiers as tight and secure as possible:

  • Start with the heaviest items (furniture pieces, appliances, large and heavy boxes), pack items of medium weight on top of them, and finish with lighter items;
  • Use plenty of padding to provide cushioning between the items and make the load tighter;
  • Fill any small gaps between the items with soft, non-breakable items such as bags of clothing or linen, pillows, etc.;
  • When you finish the first section, use ratchet straps or ropes to hold the items together and keep them secured in place.

Continue packing the truck the same way, strapping down one section at a time as you load. Make sure each section is self-contained and well secured, so the items from it don’t shift and rub against items from an adjacent section.

When you pack the moving truck tight, your furniture pieces – and all your other items – will be well secured and the risk of damage due to shifting during transit will be eliminated.

Bonus tip: How to pack furniture in a moving truck

As important as it is to know how to secure furniture in moving truck, it won’t be enough to ensure a safe and successful DIY-move unless the pieces are properly packed in the moving vehicle.

When loading a moving truck, it’s crucial to distribute the weight of your items evenly through the vehicle – so you need to make sure your largest and heaviest pieces (including your furniture) are loaded first and positioned on opposite sides of the truck.

It’s considered best to place square furniture pieces (dressers, bookcases, china cabinets, desks, etc.) in the front of the truck (against the wall closest to the cab) and pack longer items (sofas, headboards, box springs, mattresses, etc.) upright against the long walls of the vehicle.

Chairs and small tables can be put upside down on top of heavier furniture or boxes. Larger tables, beds, and other large furniture pieces that can be safely disassembled should be taken apart before the move, so they take up less space in the moving truck and are safer and easier to carry around, load into the moving vehicle, and secure in place. (See also: How to disassemble furniture for moving)

Glass tabletops, dresser mirrors, and other large fragile furniture elements should be placed between mattresses and couches for extra padding and protection.

Alternatively, you can form a layer of boxes against the wall closest to the cab first and load your square furniture behind the boxes – to keep the pieces more secure during transport. Place mattresses and box springs upright behind the square furniture (parallel to the cab wall), pack headboards vertically behind the box springs, and position couches next to the mattresses (parallel to them) to keep them in place. Load smaller furniture pieces afterward. Be sure to tie down all pieces with ratchet straps.

See also: How to load a moving truck


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