Moving and Packing Tips

Moving a Safe: Tips on Doing It Right

Having a safe in your home is handy when you want your values protected from theft. However, the actual trouble comes when you need to move the safe for different reasons. Even a sofa is easier to move than a safe, but that’s the point. If anybody can lift your safe, then it would be just as easy to steal as anything else. But let’s not digress.

If you:

  • Have a safe which you need to move, because you now need the room for something else;
  • Wonder how to perform the safe removal without damaging anything;
  • Wonder what kind of dolly you need to use.

Then read on and learn how to move a safe…

Evaluate the risk

If you wonder how to move a safe by yourself, you need to first consider all the risks.

  • Injury – most larger safes weigh around 200 kilograms (500 pounds) and even more. You not only risk straining your back by attempting to move a safe on your own, but the item can also cause serious injuries if it falls on your feet or hands. Even if you want to move it to another place in the same room, it’s still very dangerous as it can tip over and fall.
  • Damage to property – you need to navigate the safe through passageways. If they’re very narrow, you can damage the paint, wallpaper, or tilt some of the nearby items. You will also need to move the safe up and down the stairs. If the stairs are sturdy, it will not be a problem, however, if they’re wooden and very old, they might collapse under the weight.

Frankly, even an experienced mover shouldn’t do this job on their own as the risks are very serious and can have a permanent impact on their health. If you plan on moving the safe on your own and not calling a moving company, at least ask some friends to help you out. Two extra people should be enough; three is even better.

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Get your moving equipment ready

Most items in your home don’t require tools to be relocated, but your safe sure does. So, you will either need to purchase and or rent the following items:

  • Heavy-duty hand trolley (dolly) – don’t automatically go for the biggest one you can find; first, check the size and weight of your safe. If you don’t have the documentation, you can check the model online. Definitely do not skip this step, as choosing the wrong dolly will make the safe relocation even harder and more dangerous.
  • Straps or ropes – the safe needs to be tightly strapped to the dolly, so it won’t tip over whilst being moved.
  • Slim clothes – comfort is of absolute importance when moving something this heavy. Avoid baggy clothes and remove any jewels as all of these can get caught on something.
  • Work gloves – these gloves will give you a better grip on the safe and when you have that, the lifting will be a tiny bit easier. The gloves will also protect your hands from getting blisters.
  • Protective footwear – safety toe shoes have steel caps underneath the leather which protect your toes from falling heavy objects. These shoes also don’t slip on the floor.
  • Moving van – a moving van of proper size, equipped with a sturdy loading ramp is essential. After you load the safe into the vehicle, you should strap it to one of the walls.
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Find the best moving route

Before you even try and lift the safe, you need to have the entire moving routine figured out from start to finish. To do that, you need to:

  1. Remove obstacles – that includes all pieces of furniture which will be in the way. You may even need to remove some doors from their frames if they prove to be an obstacle.
  2. Measure perimeter – measure your corridors and door frames.
  3. Identify tricky areas – Take into consideration any tricky corners, tight corridors, or flights of stairs and figure out how you will go about them. Go over the route with the dolly and practice as if the safe were in it.

After you’ve gone over the moving route several times, consider covering the areas which are most prone to bumping, such as tight corners and door openings.

Empty and secure the safe

Your safe should be completely empty of any items, regardless of their size. Pack and move your documents, banknotes, and jewels separately. By doing this, you will not only reduce the weight of the safe, but you will also spare the items from potential damage. Better for them to be safely packed in plenty of paper and bubble wrap than to be left rattling in the safe.

If possible, remove the door as that will significantly reduce the weight of the safe. If it’s not an option, close and lock the door. If it opens up accidentally during moving or transit, it can do plenty of damage.

Wrap the safe

Wrap the safe in moving blankets until no part of it is visible and tie the whole thing with a rope or strap. You can also use tape as an alternative, but it will be harder to remove later when unpacking. The blankets will protect the floors and walls from getting damaged if you accidentally bump into them.

Also, some safes have very delicate inner workings in the locking mechanism. If the mechanism gets damaged, the safe will remain locked until you call a professional locksmith. Covering the safe in blankets will also protect it from scratches.

Place the safe onto the dolly

Follow the instructions as there is a certain way of placing the safe on the hand trolley.

  1. Align the dolly by the back or side of the safe. Never load the safe from the front, because you might damage its opening mechanism.
  2. Have your helpers tilt the safe slowly to their side.
  3. Slide the dolly underneath the bottom of the safe.
  4. Strap the safe to the dolly. Tighten as much as you can, so the two objects feel as one.
  5. Tilt the dolly back on its wheels. Keep the heavy side well balanced, so it won’t tip and slowly push through your property as you had practised.
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Manoeuvre carefully to the new location

You need to be extra careful of how you manoeuvre the safe around your home, and you need to be twice as careful when you move the safe into your new house.

There are two instances which will be the most challenging: corners and stairs.

When you manoeuvre around corners, try to steer the hand trolley a little bit further out, without scraping the wall. When it comes to stairs, 2 to 3 steps are perfectly manageable. You will hold the dolly by the handles while the other two of your helpers work on the front, either pushing the dolly up or helping it go down the stairs. Take one step at a time and ensure everybody’s well-positioned and rested before the next step. A long flight of stairs, however, should be left to professional movers.

Load and secure the safe into the vehicle

When you reach the moving van, you will encounter the challenge of loading the safe inside. This is where the moving ramp comes in very handy. A sturdy motor-driven loading ramp will save you and your helpers a great deal of effort. All you need to do is put the dolly on the ramp and watch as it lifts the item, so it can be then pushed inside the cargo space.

On the other hand, if the van doesn’t have a mechanised loading ramp, you will need to use the standard one, where you push the dolly up the ramp. One of you will pull the dolly by the handles while the other two will push. Do it slowly and carefully, and don’t stop in the middle of the ramp.

Once you get the safe inside the cargo space, strap it safely to one of the van sides.

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Moving a safe is a risky business, but we are professionals

As you see by now, moving a safe is not like moving a fridge or a sofa. It’s much harder and requires a lot of experience. If you feel you’re not up to the task, you better hire professional moving services instead of taking unnecessary risks.

Fantastic Services can provide you with home relocation in a stress-free manner. The movers we work with are insured, uniformed, fully vetted and equipped with all necessary equipment and protective gear plus, they drive modern vans with tail lifts. We offer not only Monday-to-Sunday moving, but also same-day appointments.

So, get in contact today and have that heavy safe moved in a stress-free manner!

Need hassle-free safe relocation or a full house move?

Hire professional movers today to handle it all!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • Obtain the properly sized hand trolley, comfortable clothes, and protective shoes;
  • Go over the moving route and remove any obstacles;
  • Wrap the safe in protective blankets before loading it onto the dolly.

Image source: Freedom Studio / Shutterstock

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