How to move a play set, swing set, or play structure

How to move a play set, swing set, or play structure

For parents of young children, the allure of a playset, swing set, or play structure is often too difficult to resist. Inevitably, having your own personal swing and clubhouse is a worthy investment for your little ones. However, once these kids get to a certain age – usually 11 or 12, the play structure, playset, or swing set goes unused – left to deteriorate in the sun, all the while taking up valuable space in your backyard. 

Buying a play set is usually the easiest part. There are a multitude of places where you can buy one – from the fanciest structures with rock walls, built-in-tables, and sand boxes, to the most basic versions with a slide and a swing – Costco, Home Depot, and even Amazon have options galore. In many cities, there are backyard specialty stores that sell backyard furniture – play structures included. Delivery and installation are often included – pick your playset, pay for it, pick a delivery time and a few hours later, your backyard paradise is complete. 

Fast forward 5-8 years later, and your backyard paradise has become an eyesore that sucks up space. For many households, the playset just becomes part of the landscape – very rarely played with unless guests come over who have young kids. Others (like yours truly) have decided to have the play structure removed. 

How does one relocate or remove a play structure? That’s a great question. Removing is much harder than buying one. Finding someone to move a play structure can be challenging – there aren’t too many readily available movers who will take on a play structure move. There are some specialty movers like this company, but these folks are few and far between – these folks are usually enterprising individuals who have carved out a niche in their local town. So what are some of your options? 

Give it away

There are always families with young kids who are looking for that backyard paradise for their 4 year old. Instead of spending $500 to $5000 on a new playset, many of these families would love a free set. Of course the primary condition for the free set is that the new owners need to disassemble and move the structure by themselves. Problem solved. You just have to find a family that is reasonably handy and who has access to a truck. Disassembling a play set is typically a multi-hour job, even for professionals. Always take lots of pictures of the “before” version so that the new owner knows where everything goes. An 8 year old play structure probably doesn’t have its instruction manual anymore. 

Posting the play structure on local Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and even Craigslist will typically do the trick. Make sure that you take some sharp and flattering photos of the set. The more attractive, the better – you’ll want to get as much interest as you can since “free” items come with alot of flaky people who won’t show up.

Sell it

If you aren’t inclined to give your playset away, you can always try selling it. The Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and Craigslist are probably your best bets for local selling. $100-$500 is probably the most that you can expect back, depending on the condition. However, the big challenge remains – how do you move the set. The cost of hiring someone to move the play structure can vary, but $600 to move one of these units isn’t out of the question. It takes a few hours of work and at least 2 people, so the labor cost is not insignificant relative to the cost of the structure. If you can sell your structure and get someone to take it apart and move it, then you are in great shape.  

Donate it

This may sound like a great option, but if you run any kind of in-depth Google search for organizations that will accept donated play structures, you’ll realize that there aren’t many. Goodwill does not accept swing sets or play structures, neither does the Salvation Army. If your playset is in good condition and you have a relationship with a local school or church, you may be able to donate yours there – but this option is most likely the exception, rather than the rule. 

Haul it away as junk

Companies like 1-800-GOT-JUNK are able to haul away your old play structures, playsets, and swing sets, but they are not cheap. They typically charge by the yard (how much space your junk will take up in their trucks). Some of these companies are full-service (where they’ll take apart and haul away your stuff), while others will take stuff that is only accessible on your driveway or curb. Either way, this is not a cheap option by any means. 

You can probably tell that our preference would be to give away your set to another family that wants to create a backyard paradise for their own kids. Save some money, get your yard back, save the environment, and make some kids happy – an unqualified win!

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