When attempting a DIY move, you’ll want to research how to do things most moving companies do that aren’t part of your daily repertoire. One of those things is how to use ratchet straps. If your goal is to move your furniture to the new location without a scratch, ratchet straps are imperative. Ratchet straps secure furniture to the moving truck to prevent jostling during transportation. Without instruction or demonstration, they can be tricky to figure out and can even damage furniture if not used properly. Luckily, they aren’t too hard to use. Here are the 3 easy steps to learn how to use ratchet straps. (And 2 for how to remove the straps.)
How to Use Ratchet Straps
Before getting started, separate the two pieces of the ratchet. All ratchets come with two halves:
– the ratchet “head” (the main piece): the head is attached to a small piece of strap with a hook on the other end
-the ratchet strap: a longer strap with a hook on one end
Prepare the Straps
Open the ratchet head using the ratchet lever, located in the center of the ratchet head. (The open ratchet will be in an “L” shape, not flat.) With the ratchet head fully open and the spiky wheels (cogs) facing up, take the strap, and feed it through the back of the ratchet head (underneath) and out the top. Pull the slack through.
Attach the Hooks
Metal bars with notches run along the walls of the moving truck. Put the hook in a notch slightly behind the front of the piece you’re securing. The next hook back after the front of the piece is far enough. The tension will pull it into the wall and prevent it from shifting. If you choose a notch in front of the piece of furniture, this won’t keep it from sliding side to side within the truck.
On other side of the truck, attach the second hook the same way, just behind the front of the piece. After both hooks are in place, pull the slack through and make sure it’s as tight as possible.
Secure the Piece of Furniture
Crank the head of the ratchet until you create tension on the piece to ensure it doesn’t move during transportation. A good way to measure whether your ratchet strap is tight enough: pluck the strap; if it sounds like a guitar string, it’s tight enough. Once you have enough tension, close the ratchet head completely to lock in place.
To Release the Ratchet Strap
Release the Lock
Pull and hold the release tab. (This should be located on top of the ratchet head and will release the lock.)
Pull Out the Strap
Open the ratchet head and pull the strap loose. Unhook from the walls, and you’re done!
While ratcheting may be the safest way to secure most furniture, there are some fragile pieces that should never be ratcheted. For example, if you ratchet around table legs, the tension will probably break the piece by forcing the legs out of place from the table top. Dressers and butcher blocks are good pieces to ratchet because they’re solid, heavy, and don’t have many (or any) delicate parts the ratchet might snap.
For further demonstration, check out our ratchet strap tutorial:
When you move on to planning the rest of your move, check out these 6 tips for a better moving experience.