How to Move a Dresser

Keep your dresser secure when moving

Because dressers are bulky and have drawers to contend with, they require some extra care during packing and loading. Perhaps the biggest concern is making sure the drawers are secure so they don’t fall out and cause damage (to themselves or something else). And that leads to common questions like, “should I take the contents out or is ok to leave them in” and “should I load it with the drawers in or out?”

We’ve answered all the questions about drawers and provided all the steps for moving a dresser below — it’s actually pretty simple once you know how to do it.  

White dresser sitting in a house before a move


Steps for moving a dresser

It’s best to move a dresser with the drawers inside so you can wrap and protect it before carrying it through doorways. But, if it’s solid wood and too heavy to move, you can take the drawers out to lighten the load. (If you do this, stack them to the side and wrap the dresser once it’s loaded into the trailer).

1. Gather supplies

To prep and load your dresser, you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Small tool kit
  • Zip-top bags
  • Tape
  • Paper padding
  • Marker
  • Plastic stretch wrap
  • Moving dolly, Forearm Forklifts or a friend


2. Check that walkways are big enough

Measure your doorways to make sure the dresser will fit. You might need to remove doors for larger pieces like armoires or wardrobes.

3. Make sure you have help

Because dressers are bulky and big, it’s best to have at least one other person available to help (even if you plan on using a moving dolly to assist).

4. Remove extra parts

Reduce the risk of damage by removing extra parts like mirrors or shelving. As you remove hardware, place it in a zip-top bag, label it and tape it inside the dresser for safe keeping. If your dresser has a mirror or glass shelving, remove it, place a tape X over it to absorb shock, then wrap it in paper padding and place it in a mirror box labeled “FRAGILE.” Any wooden shelves can be wrapped with paper padding, just be sure to avoid placing tape on the wood finish.

5. Take a look at what’s inside the drawers

It's fine to keep soft items, like socks and clothing, in drawers to maximize space. But anything that could shift around, break or cause damage, like pens, scissors, etc., should be removed and packed in a separate box.

6. Secure the drawers

Most dressers can be packed with the drawers in place, but you’ll want to secure them well. Along with keeping the drawers from sliding out, this step will also protect the furniture’s finish. Start by wrapping the piece with moving blankets or paper padding, then use plastic wrap or tape (applied only to the packing material) to secure the wrapping.

Note: If the dresser is solid wood and too heavy to move as a single unit, you can take the drawers out while you carry it, then place them back in and wrap it once it’s inside the moving truck or container.

7. Move the dresser carefully

There are two ways to get a dresser from the bedroom into the moving equipment: either with two people carrying it or by using a dolly. If you plan on carrying it, pick it up "high/low" — on its side with one person holding the top and one holding the bottom. Or you can use Forearm Forklifts to carry it level since they help distribute the weight. 

To use a dolly, have a friend tilt it so you can slide the dolly underneath. Then use straps to secure it to the dolly so it doesn’t shift. Have your friend spot you as you maneuver through the house so you don’t run into anything.

No matter how you move it, watch out for any fragile legs or feet on the dresser as you place it in the moving equipment.   

8. Load the dresser

Once you get the dresser to the moving trailer or container, we recommend placing it against a wall to provide stability. If you carried it without the drawers in place, take the time now to replace and secure them (as described above in step 6). Then use ropes or straps to keep the entire piece from shifting during transit.


Get tips on packing other things in your home

Learn how to pack everything from couches to dishes with these helpful packing tips.

And if you have any questions about the process of moving a dresser, leave a comment below. We're always here to help.