How to Move a Mattress Without Ruining It and Where to Put It While You're Not Using It

02:12, Tuesday 10/01/2023 - Pro Reviewer I have 5 years of experience in blogging...

When I first learned how to move a mattress, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. My mother bought me the perfect mattress for the start of my sophomore year of college. She insisted on the gift, which she called an "investment." When I first heard about it, I thought it was a totally absurd concept. The joke's on me, though, because even now, over a decade after we split up, I frequently find myself daydreaming about that bed. (I'm not joking, my pals would come over just to sleep on this bed. )

The mattress quickly became an item I never left behind during a relocation, whether it was across town or across the country. When did relocating a mattress become so important? Who is this for? Anyone who has ever valued a good night's sleep, anyone who thinks a great mattress is worth investing in, and anyone who doesn't have the money for a brand new bed.  

While it probably isn't worth your time to move each and every mattress you own, we've compiled some of our best advice for doing so if you ever find yourself with a bed you really love.

couple moving a mattress from the bedframe

How to Move a Mattress: Step-by-Step Instructions

Here are eight tried-and-true methods for transporting a mattress with minimal hassle and maximum success.  

The first thing to do is to take mattress dimensions.  

Get out the measuring tape. Knowing the exact measurements of a mattress is just as important as knowing its standard size (twin, double, full, queen, king) when relocating one. From the size of the mattress bag to the most efficient route, transportation method, and storage facility, all of these variables will be determined by this.  

Second, amass your materials.

You will need a mattress dolly, mattress bags, moving tape, scissors, straps, or ropes to secure the mattress. (Below you'll find a comprehensive list of what you'll need to get started. )

Third, guarantee a comfortable amount of room for labor.  

Make sure you have enough room to get your mattress ready to move. Expert advice: leave your mattress out until the very end of your packing process so you have somewhere to sleep the night before your move.  

The fourth step is to find an ally (or allies).  

Mattresses are cumbersome, ungainly, and have a penchant for flopping. Don't bother figuring out how to relocate your mattress on your own. Moving a mattress requires more than one person, even for professionals. Instead, see if you can get the help of someone you know, like a friend, neighbor, or family member. If you need specialists to handle more heavy lifting, you can hire assistance through a freelance labor service like TaskRabbit or Handy, or you can get hourly professional moving help.

Fifthly, put your mattress inside a sturdy mattress bag.  

This is a great way to safeguard your mattress while in transit or storage. Mattress bags for moving are available in standard mattress sizes, but the depth of your mattress is important to know to ensure that the bag is large enough. They typically come in pairs, making one of them suitable for use on your box springs.

Preparing a space for the mattress to be relocated is the sixth step.  

As you make your way to the mattress, take down any lamps, pictures, or other brittle items that could fall on the floor if the bed gave way.  

Step 7: Turn the bed on its side to make it more manageable.  

As a rule, this entails turning the mattress on its side so that its length is greater than its width. It's not easy to relocate a flat mattress, especially considering the fact that you'll probably have to squeeze it through narrow doorways.  

In Stage 8, you will load and fasten the mattress.  

Positioning can vary depending on the type of mattress, so it's best to check with the manufacturer ahead of time. General suggestions for moving positions are as follows, organized by category:

  • Mattresses with innersprings or encased coils should be stored in one of two ways: either lengthwise on a flat surface or face up, with nothing on top.  
  • Place the memory foam or hybrid mattress flat on a flat surface with nothing on top.
  • There should be nothing on top of the box springs themselves (other than the mattress) when they are in either the flat or angled positions.

All mattresses, regardless of their construction, need to be stored in a flat position. (For storage suggestions, see below.)    

loading a mattress into a rental truck Instagram user @dangertommy gets credit for this awesome picture.

Here are some pointers on how to safely load and transport a mattress:

  • Load the mattress on its side along the length of the moving truck, portable container, or cargo van, leaning against the wall of the vehicle for support. You can tie the mattress down with rope or ratchet straps. Easy tie-downs are already installed in PODS containers, moving trucks, and cargo vans. For added stability, pack heavy items such as furniture or boxes on the uncovered side. Put nothing at all on top of the mattress.
  • Mattresses that aren't too bulky might fit in the cargo area of a large SUV or passenger van if the seats are removed. If you want to know if your mattress will fit, you'll need to take out the seats and measure the available cargo space against the dimensions of your bed. Strapping a mattress to the roof of a car is another option, though it's the most dangerous and I wouldn't personally use it. The mattress cannot be safely fastened, and this poses a risk of injury or property damage.  

    Flat-roofed cars or SUVs with the ability to attach roof racks are ideal if this is your only choice. The mattress should be placed on the roof and tied down to the roof racks. Do this as many times as necessary to secure the mattress to the roof of the vehicle.  

  • Place the mattress flat and without anything on top if storing it in a storage unit or container. Keeping a mattress on its side for an extended period of time can compromise its structural integrity and reduce its useful lifespan.  
mattress bags and supplies for moving a mattress

Everything you need to move a mattress

Here's a rundown of everything you'll need to pack and transport your mattress with ease.  

Sack for a mattress

A mattress bag, also known as a mattress encasement or mattress cover, is a large plastic bag designed to protect your mattress from dirt, dust, and moisture while in transit. I prefer to double-bag my mattress and box springs because these can easily be damaged during transport. Make sure you get a mattress bag that fits your bed, especially in terms of depth. Simply laying your mattress flat on the floor and using a measuring tape or ruler to determine its height from the floor is how depth is measured. To give you an idea, the thickness of a standard mattress is between 8 and 14 inches. If you're not sure what size mattress bag you need, get the bigger one.

Modifying the tape

You can never have too much tape on hand if you're packing up your life and moving. After you've loaded up your mattress inside the plastic moving mattress bag and are ready to close it up, you'll find this to be useful.  

Scissors

Box cutters are often suggested as a means of removing a mattress from its moving bag, but I can attest from personal experience that this is a terrible idea. The scissors are the more reliable option.  

ratchet straps

Straps made from rope or a ratchet mechanism

Mattresses should be wrapped in rope or secured with ratchet straps before being loaded into a moving vehicle. Ratchet straps, also called tie-down straps, are sturdy straps with metal buckles designed for securing cargo. If the bed turns out to be larger than expected, you can always grab some extra ratchet straps and hook them onto the ends to make the straps longer. Get some thick, industrial-strength rope if you must use rope, and forget about the flimsy bungee cords that can easily give way and leave a mattress hanging dangerously low.

Transporter designed for moving furniture

To move a mattress, you can either push it along or set it on top of a large piece of cardboard, but a dolly will make the process much smoother. Although a mattress dolly is the best option because it has a secure slot to hold your mattress in place, you may have trouble renting one. Instead of carrying all of those heavy boxes and furniture pieces by hand, you can rent a four-wheel furniture dolly instead.  

man measuring a mattress for moving

An Instructional Guide to Mattress Sizing

Despite the fact that the standard mattress size can give you a good idea of how big your bed is, the actual dimensions can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. You should calculate its dimensions (length, width, and thickness).  

The mattress's longest dimension This is the side that connects your head and feet when you're lying down.   

The broader, less-extended side of the bed.   

Mattress depth is another term for the material's thickness. The typical depth of a mattress is between 8 and 14 inches.  

indoor storage units

How to properly and improperly store a mattress

The only thing we really care about when we lie down on our mattresses is whether or not they deliver on their promise. Mattresses, it turns out, must be stored in a certain way to avoid damage.  

  • If you plan on storing your mattress, give it a good cleaning before and after you put it away. Give it a good vacuuming on all sides, spray it down with some upholstery cleaner or disinfectant, and then let it air dry.  
  • If you need to store your mattress, use a mattress storage bag. Keep your mattress and box springs in the plastic mattress bag you used for moving. This will save you some time and effort, and it will also protect your bedding from dust and other potential contaminants while in storage. When covering a mattress, it is crucial to first ensure that it is completely dry, and then to ensure that it is completely sealed inside the cover.  
  • You should NOT stack your mattress on its side. We can't stress this enough: storing a mattress on its side, whether it's a spring, foam, gel, or hybrid, can severely damage the mattress's internal structure and render it unusable. As I discovered the hard way after storing a luxurious all-foam Tuft & Needle mattress (and stacking things on top of it) for two years: As a result, nothing was ever the same. Turn it every 30 days or so if you have to store it on its side.
  • DO NOT put your mattress in direct sunlight or near a heater. Your mattress may be ruined by exposure to extreme heat, cold, and moisture. Because of this, you shouldn't keep your bed in a cold, damp place like a basement, garage, or attic. It's important to know the storage facility's temperature and humidity controls before storing anything there.  
  • You SHOULD NOT put anything on top of the mattress. Your mattress's shape and durability may be compromised as a result of this.  

The good news is that a mattress topper can be easily transported and stowed away. Quite simply, it's much less difficult It's as simple as rolling them up, wrapping them in plastic and taping them before storing them away with your bed linens.

Moving a mattress can be a lot of work, but it's worth it if you take your time and do it right. It will all be worth it in the end, when you lay your head on your favorite bed in your new home, and realize how far you've come.

A Los Angeles-based freelance writer, Katherine Alex Beaven has relocated 20 times due to her insatiable appetite for travel and variety.

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