“Don’t buy anything you can’t lift.” That little mantra has served me very well. It doesn’t mean you can’t own a monster piece of furniture, but it should break down into pieces which you CAN move by your onesies.
When choosing a new piece, even one being offered for free, ask yourself, how am I going to lug that around? You can’t always find someone to move something for you. Hiring strong backs is usually reserved for moving location or deliveries. Those guys are generally drop and run, it is up to you to shove an area rug underneath the thing and slide it around the apartment.
How often have you moved in your life? What causes the most chaos? getting awkward pieces through doorways and up stairs. As modern homes have grown into mini-mansions, modern furniture has also grown in girth. Consider used and vintage furniture, houses were not only smaller then but you can adapt those pieces for other uses. Painted to suit, a juvenile dresser makes a great sideboard, top it with a bookcase and you have a very small hutch.
Well chosen knock down parawood furniture or IKEA, will fill the empty niches, and depending on their value, these can be disassembled or even abandoned if you are moving far enough away.
Do you need really a couch? really? A love seat and a chair can usually accommodate just as many backsides as the normal couch, add an ottoman or a pillow on a coffee table and you can put your feet up. There is nothing as hilariously destructive as a few men manhandling a couch up a staircase, denting the dry wall along the way.
Rediscover the wheel, put them on as many things as possible. A set of four 2″ casters cost about $12 and can save you a world of aggravation. Some have locks, so you can put them on furniture you move rarely. If the floor is soft or not your own, get furniture CUPS, to go under the feet. If casters are overkill, just some nylon or carpeted sliders are better than nothing at all.
Gift yourself a hand truck, you will thank yourself. A solid steel hand truck that is rated 600-700lbs may be overkill for your lifestyle, but a collapsible hand truck rated for 150-200 lbs is about 35 dollars and ideal for moving boxes full of books and other household items. It also fits nicely in a car trunk or under the loveseat.