Do I Need To Empty Drawers For Movers? (Things To Keep In Mind)

Moving house is time-consuming and stressful, and you will want to cut corners where possible. However, it is not worthwhile to leave your drawers as-is, merely taping them shut so that they can’t open. Movers will thank you for emptying your drawers!

Emptying drawers for movers makes transporting your furniture easier and safer. It also decreases the risk of your furniture getting damaged and items in the drawers being lost or broken during the move. If you do not empty the drawers, at least pack items safely and secure the drawer shut.

We spoke to some experienced movers who collectively have spent decades helping people move their homes. They have given us the low-down on why it is important to empty your drawers when moving and when it is okay not to.

Is It Necessary To Empty Drawers For Movers?

Emptying drawers and packing the contents into boxes when you move may seem unnecessary to you – drawers are basically just boxes, right? Wrong.

While there are a handful of situations in which you can leave the contents of drawers in and just secure the drawers shut, it is often best to empty drawers for movers.

Emptying your drawers for movers will decrease the risk of furniture getting damaged, items in the draw going missing or breaking, and people injuring themselves trying to move heavy furniture.

Usually, movers will remove the drawers from their frame, carry the item to the truck and then move the drawers themselves separately. This is much easier to do if the drawers are empty.

To Empty Drawers Or Not To – Factors To Consider

When pondering whether or not to empty your drawers for movers, consider the following factors:

  • Full drawers add extra weight. Consider how many movers are helping you, how the truck will be loaded, and how far your furniture needs to be carried. If the chest of drawers itself is made from solid wood, it will already be heavy to carry. The extra weight of drawer contents will make it even heavier.
  • What is in the drawers? Fragile, valuable, or very heavy items should be taken out of drawers prior to moving. It is on you to make sure items that are important to you stay safe during a move. If you leave valuables in your drawers, do so at your own risk. Always remove very heavy items like books, CDs, DVDs, or tools from drawers before moving. Do not leave any items in the drawers that you would not want the movers to see.
  • How sturdy is your furniture? If you have a fragile, antique chest of drawers, the weight of items in the drawers may strain the wooden joints, and your furniture is more likely to be damaged during the move. Likewise, if your chest of drawers is cheap and flimsy, it is better to empty its drawers to prevent it from breaking under its full weight.
  • What is the nature and complexity of the move? If furniture needs to be flipped and rotated to move it out of the building, up and downstairs, and into the truck, it is better to empty drawers. If your furniture can be carried upright, you may be able to get away with leaving the drawers full and securing them. Are you moving locally or long-distance? You could keep the drawers full for short-distance moves, but it is too much of a risk when you are moving far away.

Emptying Your Drawers Can Make Your Move Cheaper

Most moving companies bill clients by the hour. The lighter and easier your furniture is to move, the faster the movers will be able to work. Hence, you will end up paying less for your move!

Secure Your Drawers When Moving

Whether you are moving a desk, filing cabinet, bed frame, table, or sideboard, you will need to secure the drawers shut when you move. Nobody wants a drawer to fly open while a piece of furniture is being maneuvered downstairs or loaded into the truck.

Never leave the following things inside your drawers when you move:

  • Small items that can shift during the move or go missing – stationery, cosmetics, ornaments.
  • Valuable items – jewelry, cash, bank cards, or important paperwork.
  • Fragile things – art, porcelain, glass.
  • Heavy objects – CDs, DVDs, books.

After removing all these items from your drawers, and packing them into separate boxes, use strong tape or heavy-duty plastic wrap to bind the drawers shut.

When Is It Okay Not To Empty Your Drawers For Movers?

If your cupboard or chest of drawers is solid and sturdy, and you do not think there is a risk of the joints or the frame breaking, you can leave some items in the drawers when you move.

It is okay to leave light, non-breakable items like pillows, clothing, or linens in your drawers and then to wrap the chest of drawers with plastic to prevent the drawers from moving during transit.

Movers Prefer You To Empty Your Drawers When Moving

When we asked the experts, they all agreed that they prefer when clients empty their drawers before the moving company arrives.

It makes furniture lighter, easier to carry, simpler to load into the truck, and they don’t have to be concerned about small items falling out and getting lost or furniture being dropped and damaged.

Even though professional movers are strong and muscular, unreasonably heavy pieces of furniture with full drawers put them at risk of personal injury. Lifting heavy pieces can cause painful pinched nerves, sprains, and hernias.


Emptying your drawers for movers is, unfortunately, a necessary part of moving. Not only is it considerate to the people helping you move (whether you are paying them or they are doing you a favour), but it lowers the risk of your furniture being damaged or items going missing.

There are a few cases where you can leave items inside drawers and secure the drawers shut, but always avoid leaving valuable, fragile, or very heavy items inside drawers. Towels, linens, clothing, or pillows are welcome to stay!

For more moving tips, come check our website at Transport Executive.


About The Author
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Anthony King

I'm Anthony King, founder and CEO of Transport Executive. I've spent the last 5 years writing, taking care of my dogs, and enjoying life as it should be. I'm also a beer enthusiast by trade and a wine connoisseur. You can learn more about me and the company here.