How to Pick Up Boxes

Although it may seem like a harmless activity, moving a box can carry the risk of harm to your body. Using improper techniques can result in pain and injury to your back. Although using mechanical equipment to lift a box is preferable, this is not always possible. However, it is possible to manually lift a box without injury. The key to doing so is to use the proper technique at all times during the process.


    • 1

      Examine the box and determine the best method for lifting it. Establish whether or not the box has handles, which can help you. Visually inspect the size and contents of the box to determine if it is light enough for you to lift.

    • 2

      Inspect the current location of the box and the area to which you are moving it. Establish a suitable path between the two locations and establish a stopping point if you will need to rest during the move. Clear the path of any clutter that may cause accident or injury during the move.

    • 3

      Stand as close to the box as possible. Position your feet apart and with one leg slightly forward and along the side of the box.

    • 4

      Kneel and rest the knee behind the box on the floor. Alternatively, squat so that the box is between your knees. Tilt the box to position your hands underneath. Hold the box close to your body.

    • 5

      Tighten the muscles of your back, stomach and pelvis and lift the box between your legs. Rest the box on your knee as you prepare to stand if you are lifting from a kneeling position.

    • 6

      Use your legs to lift the box as you stand. Maintain the natural curve in your lower back as you lift.

    • 7

      Keep your core muscles tight and your head up and forward-facing while carrying the box. Carry the box close to your body and keep your shoulders level and facing the same direction as the hips. Change directions by pivoting your feet rather than twisting your back.

    • 8

      Slowly walk the box to the second location. Sit the box down and slide it into the desired position if it must fit beneath or between other items.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attempt to lift a box that is too heavy or bulky. Remove some of the contents from the box before lifting or enlist the help of another person or a tool such as a dolly to help you move the box.
  • Wear suitable clothing and footwear when moving. Avoid overly tight or loose clothing and uncomfortable or slippery shoes.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

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