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Bulky and heavy, freezers can be one of the most challenging items in your home to move. And, because you’ll have to deal with their contents and defrost them before moving day, it will take several days to get the job done. In most cases, if you can afford it, hiring a professional moving company to relocate your freezer may make the most sense. However, you can do it yourself with the help of a few strong friends by following these simple steps.

Collect your supplies

You don’t need much as far as supplies go to move a freezer, but you do need a few key items, starting with a hand truck or appliance dolly with straps. Without a hand dolly and the straps (or strong rope) to hold your freezer in place, you won’t be able to move it. Here’s a complete list of what you’ll need.

  • Moving blankets to protect the freezer’s surfaces
  • Hand truck or appliance dolly with straps
  • Furniture sliders
  • Packing tape to secure blankets
  • Ratchet straps or rope
  • Sponge and rags
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Old towels
  • Bubble wrap
  • At least two strong friends

Friends are essential for moving a freezer. Do not try to move one on your own. You risk not only injury but damage to your home and the freezer itself.

Empty your freezer

You don’t want to try to move a full freezer for several reasons. First, the frozen food will make the freezer heavier. Second, loose items in the freezer can bang the sides and doors causing damage to its interior. Finally, the freezer will be unplugged for several hours while you move. As a result, it will start to defrost and, even worse, the food may begin to thaw, raising the possibility of food poisoning.

As soon as you decide you are going to move, take stock of what’s in your freezer, and discard anything that’s freezer burnt or no longer wanted. Then, make a plan to use as much of its contents before moving day. A few days before it’s time to defrost your freezer, donate whatever remains in your freezer to friends and family.

Defrost your freezer

Ice can add weight to your freezer, and the cold can make it more difficult to handle. Plus, when it is unplugged, the freezer will start to defrost naturally, potentially turning it into a dripping mess. To avoid these scenarios, you’ll want to defrost it before moving.

Defrosting your freezer will usually take at least 24 hours, depending on the temperature of where it is located and the amount of ice buildup inside it. To defrost it, simply disconnect the power or use the defrost function (consult your owner’s manual). Since water may collect as it defrosts, arm yourself with containers for drips and old towels for cleanup.

Clean and measure

Now is a good time to clean your freezer. (If you skip this step, it may begin to smell during transport.) Start by removing any shelves and drawers. Then, scrub the interior surface using a mixture of baking soda and enough vinegar to make a paste. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Next, clean the shelves and drawers in the same way. Set these aside. Leave the freezer door open to let the air circulate.

Before moving day, take a few minutes to measure the freezer’s height, width and depth. Make note of the figures. Then, walk the route you intend to use to bring it out of the house on moving day, measuring any doorways, hallways and obstacles along the way. This will alert you to any tight spots. Be prepared to make adjustments to your route or even remove doors if necessary.

Ready the freezer for the move

On moving day, secure the freezer’s cord to its side with tape so its not a tripping hazard. With it neatly out of the way, turn your attention to the freezer’s door. Removing the door makes it easier to get a good grip on it. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the door unsealing opening during the move. If you own an upright freezer, remove the screws from the top hinge first, then the bottom hinge. Wrap the freezer door in moving blankets and secure them in place with tape.

To protect the freezer’s exterior, you’ll wrap it in moving blankets as well. Secure with blankets with tape, making sure to cover any edges and corners where it is more likely to sustain damage. Remember those shelves, drawers and other items you removed while cleaning the freezer? Wrap them in old towels or bubble wrap, and put them in a box, if they’ll fit. Clearly mark the box so you can find them at your new home.

Position the freeze on the dolly

With your friends there to help, move the freezer away from the wall. You can do this by rocking the freezer gently from side to side moving it forward a little at a time. Or, to prevent damage to your floor, use furniture sliders. You’ll need at least two people to help you tilt the freezer back and adhere the slider to each of the front feet. Once the sliders are in place, you should be able to slide the freezer forward without damage.

To get the freezer onto the dolly, have friends tilt the freezer back so you can insert the dolly underneath. Set the freezer back down. With your friends on the opposite side now, have them tilt the freezer again, this time onto the dolly. Once the freezer is balanced, secure it tightly with straps to the dolly. If you don’t have ratchet straps, you can use strong rope instead. Make sure the dolly can move freely before wheeling it to the truck.

Wheel the freezer to the moving truck

Carefully begin wheeling the freezer toward the moving truck, going slowly through doorways and over bumps. You should have one person maneuvering the dolly and two people on either side of the freezer as you go. If you need to navigate stairs, have two people on each side to lift the freezer and carry it up or down.

As you move, avoid placing an upright freezer on its side or a chest freezer on its back unless absolutely necessary. If you have to lay it down, do so on its compressor side and for as little time as possible, according to GE Appliances. Being on its side or back can displace the refrigerant in the coils and damage them.

Load the freezer on the moving truck

When you get to the moving truck, use the ramp to load it inside. The best approach is for you to pull it up while your friends help keep it steady. Ask them to assist as you maneuver it into place on the truck. Remove the rachet straps if you’ll be using the dolly to move other items, and have your friends tilt the freezer just enough so you can free your dolly.

Before moving on to the next item, secure your freezer upright inside the truck using ratchet straps or rope.

Unload the freezer and set it up

At your new home, enlist your friends again to help you secure the freezer to the dolly inside the moving truck and wheel it down the ramp. Slowly, make your way to its place in your new home.

If it remained upright for the entire move, you can plug it in right away. However, if you had to lay it on its side or back, allow it to sit for the same amount of time it was in that position. Not sure how long exactly it was on its side or back? Be safe and wait 24 hours before plugging it back in.

Planning a move?

If moving your freezer sounds like a much bigger job than you think you can handle, let someone else do the work for you. Moving.com has an extensive network of reliable movers ready to help you pack and move your entire house. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your freezer will be in good hands.