PIVOT! Ross could have saved his sofa...


Ross Geller could have actually got his couch up the stairs without chopping it in two in the iconic episode 

Was ‘pivot!’ the cause of all their problems? Could Ross, Rachel and Chandler have successfully moved the couch up the stairwell by adopting a different method? Flatshare site SpareRoom turned – or was that pivoted? – to mathematics to answer that question. And crucially, while Ross was actually correct to order ‘pivot!’ it was a subsequent lack of ‘tilt’ that ultimately led to the couch getting stuck. 

10,000 simulations based on different measurements were tested and SpareRoom and data science consultant Caroline Zunckel PhD produced an equation and methodology explaining how Ross could have moved the couch into his flat - if he only thought to tilt it at precise points on the stairwell.  The killer equation Ross needed to get his couch around the corner and up the stairs:

Angle of vertical tilt (T) = 44.15064 -11.94274xWS (Width of the Stairwell) + 8.69119xWC (Width of the Couch) + 3.65961xLC (Length of the Couch)

A simplified illustration of the Friends solution can be viewed HERE

The Friends solution

Step 1: First Ross should have measured the width of the stairs (WS), and the width (WC) and length (LC) of the couch.

Step 2: Ross then should have used the equation to find out the minimum angle (T) that the couch would need to be tilted upwards to move around the 90-degree corner of the stairwell.

Step 3: After carrying the couch to the corner Ross, Rachel and Chandler reach a point where they can’t move any more. When this happens Ross, Rachel and Chandler should have rested the couch against the corner. 

Step 4: Here the friends should have tilted the couch vertically towards the ceiling until the angle between the stairs and the base of the couch was greater than or equal to T. At this point the vertical length of the couch would be smaller than the horizontal length and they should have been able to successfully pivot the couch round the corner without it getting stuck.

Step 5: Once round the corner Ross, Rachel and Chandler should have moved the couch back to its original orientation and the carried it up to the flat.

To help flatmates move their furniture a little more successfully than Ross did, US removal and furniture company LiveFeather has provided top tips on what to look out for:

 1)    Measure twice, move once

The old carpenters’ saying, “measure twice, cut once” isn’t just for making furniture, it’s for moving it too. Always break out that tape measure before you break a sweat; your unscuffed walls will thank you.

2)    Get pieces that come in pieces

As annoying and headache-inducing as it might be to put furniture together (I’m still wondering where that last screw for my bed goes), it does mean that it’s easier to move around.

3)    Don’t buy everything all at once

Once you’re in a new flat, it can be tempting to go out and get every single piece of furniture you need all at once. The only problem is, furniture always takes longer to assemble than you think, so if you’d don’t get everything done, you could be stuck with no bed, no couch, and half a dresser. Borrow the air mattress your mum says is “definitely worth keeping” and build your space in stages.