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How to Move a Mattress: A Simple Guide

  1. When you’re moving a mattress, you’re moving a (very) large and heavy item, something that, ideally, should never have to be manually moved. Real life circumstances, thought, dictate otherwise – whether you’re moving homes or buying a new mattress, mattress moving becomes a necessity. Here, we show you how, in bite-size steps, to move a mattress; follow along before the actual time for moving comes, so that you’ll be prepared in advance and know exactly what to do.

Why Move a Mattress?

There are two main reasons people need to move their mattresses: one, because they’re in the process of moving homes and need to transport the mattress to the new location, and two, because they’re buying a new mattress and need to transport it from the store to their home. Both reasons require strategy, as unprepared mattress moving can have a lot of hiccups, such as finding out at the last second that the mattress doesn’t fit in your car, etc. Having a plan of action is always a good idea; even better is sharing that plan with someone else who can help you execute come game time.

How to Move a Mattress with a Car

If you need to move a mattress from one location to another via vehicle transportation, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the safest protocols. A mattress is a huge, heavy item, and improper moving can cause serious injury, not to mention damage to the mattress. Carefully plan out how and where you’ll be moving the mattress ahead of time; when you actually execute the plan, go carefully and slowly, and enlist the help of a friend if necessary.

On the Car Roof

Moving a mattress from one home to another can be accomplished by securing the mattress to the car roof. When doing this, just make sure to wrap your mattress in plastic to keep it protected on the journey. In terms of securement, the easiest method is to tie the mattress forcefully using rope; rolling down all the windows of the car, you’ll be able to loop the rope through the vehicle and over the mattress.

In the Back of an SUV

If you have an SUV and the seats in the back are removable, then you have the easiest method of mattress transportation. By clearing the seats, you’ll be able to clear enough space for a large mattress without folding or maneuvering it. This method is also the safest in terms of keeping the mattress clean and reducing the risk of it falling or obstructing the driver’s view (which can happen with the car roof method).

In the Bed of a Pickup Truck

Placing a mattress in the bed of a pickup truck is another popular method for moving a mattress, simply because it is incredibly easy. Just remember to wrap the mattress in plastic ahead of time, as the outdoor environs like dust and dirt can damage the mattress’s fibers.

How to Move a Mattress By Yourself

Moving a mattress by yourself? While not recommended, it is possible. Just make sure to think through the process before you begin to get ahead of any possible missteps (and avoid injury). Also make sure to enlist help – even if it’s through non-human moving tools, such as dollies, rope and/or a vehicle.

Using a Dolly

If you live in a home without stairs or steps, a dolly is an easy route. Gently and slowly prop the mattress onto the dolly – if the mattress is currently on your bed, place the dolly immediately next to the bed to reduce exerting yourself unnecessarily. (If you live in a home with stairs or steps, using a mattress on a dolly is dangerous, so avoid if you can.)

Consider a Split Mattress

Did you know that some mattresses come in split versions? These are most often seen in Eastern King and Cal King sizes – instead of purchasing one giant mattress, you can actually purchase two small mattresses that, when placed together, form the size of a whole. If you don’t have access to a pickup truck, moving vehicle, dolly or SUV with removable seats, consider a split size to make the moving process simple and easy.

Using a Vehicle

You can also secure a mattress to the top of a car using the method outlined above; but first and foremost when following this method, make sure to pay attention to any areas of driver view obstruction – especially since you’ll be by yourself (and won’t have an extra set of eyes to guide your blind spots).

How to Pack a Mattress for Moving

Before moving a mattress of any kind, no matter how new or old the mattress is, make sure to cover the mattress up! Failure to do so can shorten the mattress’s lifespan; without proper coverings, a mattress is exposed to particles seeping into its composition and more susceptible to “bruising” and weakening from the bumps and handling that naturally occur during the moving process.

Using a Mattress Bag

The easiest way to cover a mattress is to use a mattress bag, but if you don’t have access to one, a large piece of moving plastic also works. (Note: when moving a mattress, even in a bag or plastic, remove any bed sheets and mattress pads/protectors from the mattress, as the added soft layers will make it harder to grip.)

Ordering Bed in a Box

If your task is simply to move a mattress from the store to your home, consider a bed in a box! A bed in a box is a mattress that comes in a box and is delivered to you via a delivery team, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics.

Securing with Tape

When moving a mattress with plastic or a mattress bag, don’t forget to secure it with tape! Tape around the edges of the plastic or bag will keep the outer layer closer to the mattress and more protected from the air. A roll of regular masking tape will work, but if you have access to a tape gun, all the better for it.

Use a Professional Moving Service

Stressed about moving your mattress when moving or transitioning between homes? If you can afford it, hire movers to help you get your mattress from point A to point B. A professional team will make the headache of moving go away. The team will also be equipped with staff experienced in dealing with the nuances of moving large things like mattresses and help ensure the process goes smoothly.

How to Move a Memory Foam Mattress

Despite the myth, moving a memory foam mattress is the same as moving an innerspring mattress. While some internet fables may try to convince you otherwise, a memory foam mattress cannot, in fact, be compressed down. Just because it’s made of “soft” materials inside, doesn’t mean it should be manipulated into a smaller form to fit a car or other small space – doing so can destroy the mattress’s shape and material permanently. When moving a memory foam mattress, then, simply follow the protocols for general mattress moving: keep the mattress covered in a bag or large piece of plastic and enlist support via a dolly or the help of a friend for larger mattresses.

How to Move an Innerspring Mattress

Just as with memory foam mattresses, an innerspring mattress cannot and should not be forced into a different position than it comes with. Just because some mattresses come compressed in boxes (the bed in a box types, for instance) doesn’t mean that they can be compressed again. Avoid folding or compressing when moving – your mattress and mattress warranty will thank you.

Summary of Mattress Moving Process

The ways to move a mattress outlined above are varied, so to help you digest the processes, we’re condensing them in short summaries below.

  • Always keep the mattress covered. No matter how you plan to move the mattress, make sure to keep it covered! Plastic or a mattress bag will keep out pesky environs and your mattress brand spanking new throughout the moving process. Secure the bag or plastic with tape to keep it from sliding off – and before you do, press down on it to remove air pockets.
  • Move the mattress by vehicle, if possible. Using your own vehicle? A truck is perhaps one of the easiest methods, since you can just place the mattress (covered) in the bed of a clean truck, and drive off. After a truck, go for the SUV with removable back seats; remove the seats to make way for the mattress. Finally, if a truck or SUV is not an option, you can always attach the mattress to the roof of your car with ropes, pulling the ropes taut and tying them securely through open windows of the car. (If doing the car roof method, make sure to leave one window, preferably the driver’s, open, so that you can open the car door to exit the vehicle yourself!)
  • When moving from room to vehicle, use a dolly. Remember, you don’t have to huff and puff moving a mattress by hand; consider a dolly! Using one, you can prop the mattress up and whistle as you walk, relying on wheels (what an invention, the wheel!) to take a load off your shoulders.
  • Enlist the help of a friend. If you don’t have a large dolly for mattress moving, don’t try to transport a mattress on your own – especially if it’s a King, Queen, Full or Cal King mattress (basically, anything over a Twin). Mattresses are heavier and larger than they may look, and moving without the help of a friend can cause serious injury.
  • Go for the split size. A split size mattress means any mattress that is divided into two pieces (yes, they exist, and if mattress moving is something you’re worried about, split sizes may be just the thing to come to your rescue). Cut in half, a mattress becomes lighter, smaller and a trillion times easier to move.
  • Go for the bed in a box. A bed in a box mattress is a mattress that arrives in a box – arrives being the keyword here. This service brings the mattress to your doorstep, eliminating the need for and stress of moving yourself.
  • Go for full service delivery. Even if you don’t order a mattress in a box (bed in a box), you have the option of utilizing a store’s delivery team. Opt for mattress placement in the room of your choice; even if the room is upstairs, the team will take care of the process.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.