Moving A Mattress

Carrying a mattress is best handled by groups or pairs, not a single person. Unfortunately, there are times when no one is available. There’s always the option to take the route of hiring professional movers, but doing so can get pretty pricey, especially if your mattress is the only piece of furniture that needs to be moved. 

With all that said, if you’re all by your lonesome and need help moving a mattress, here are some tips and tricks for how to move a mattress by yourself. Whether you’re moving an innerspring mattress or a bed-in-a-box mattress, these tips should help you through the process.

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Should You Move Your Mattress At All?

If you’re facing down the prospect of needing to move a mattress by yourself, it’s worth asking: do you really need to move it? Most mattresses have a lifespan of about 10 years. If you notice that your mattress has any sagging, indentations, tears, or you’re just not getting a good night’s sleep, it might be worth it just to get a new mattress delivered to your new home. It’ll be more expensive, but it’s way less of a hassle and you might need a new mattress anyway. Online bed-in-a-box mattresses cut out the middleman retailer, keeping them on the affordable side.

Online beds have become more and more popular in the mattress market, partly because of the convenience of being shipped straight to your doorstep (in a cardboard box, hence the nickname), they’re more affordable than beds you see in stores and they have long trial periods. It’s certainly less of a hassle than shipping your mattress to yourself.

If you decide not to bring your old mattress with you, what do you do with it? Check out our guides that help you decide what to do with your old mattress, including some suggestions on how to donate it.

General Mattress Moving Tips

While you can certainly get more creative with your mattress moving methods, here are our suggestions for efficient ways to move a mattress by yourself.

Helpful Equipment To Move A Mattress

When you’re learning how to move a mattress, there are a few important items that can make the process a bit easier. The following equipment can help: 

  • Straps or rope
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Bubble wrap
  • Mattress bag or cover
  • Dolly or cart
  • Moving blankets

1. Put a cover on it

Even though you put sheets over your mattress, you still want to make sure your mattress remains clean. The moving process is usually messy, and you don’t want your mattress to get stained or ruined. 

While moving, the tops and sides of your mattress will probably come into contact with stairs, floors, the outside ground, or the inside of your moving van or truck. Before you even begin, take all your sheets, pillows, topper, etc., off your bed, and then cover your mattress in plastic wrapping or a mattress bag. This will protect your mattress during the move.

If you’ve never wrapped up a mattress before, here’s a quick overview of the process

  1. Remove all of the sheets, toppers, and pads on your mattress.
  2. If you’re using a mattress bag, lean your mattress against the wall, with the long side standing up. Slide the bag over the mattress (starting at the top). Pull the mattress onto the ground and tightly tape the opening shut. 
  3. If you’re using plastic wrapping, bubble wrap, or moving blankets, position your mattress in a way that makes it easy for you to wrap it (standing straight up). Wrap tightly, leaving as little air as possible between the material and your mattress.
  4. For extra coverage, wrap the entire bundle with tape once you’re done to keep the bag or material from slipping off.

2. Fold up your mattress

Folding up your mattress will make it easier for just one person to move, especially if you’re moving a larger mattress like a queen, king, or California king.  In fact, folding is probably one of the best tips we can give you for how to move a king-size mattress. Folding it will reduce the height and width so that it’s less flimsy.

Folding a mattress will probably only work if you have an all-foam mattress that’s medium to thin in thickness (8-11” thick). We don’t recommend that you try to fold a mattress that’s thicker or that has coils. You could ruin your mattress and void the warranty.

With that said, here’s how to fold a mattress:

  1. Bend it width-wise, not height-wise
  2. Keep the side of the mattress that you sleep on facing inside, so it doesn’t get dirty
  3. Make sure the top and bottom of the mattress base are touching
  4. Once folded, reinforce it with straps or ratchet tie-downs, so it doesn’t open 

3. Reinforce floppy mattresses with cardboard

If folding your mattress isn’t an option for you, try reinforcing it with a slab of cardboard. Secure the mattress to the cardboard with straps or ratchet tie-downs, which should keep it from flopping around as you move.

4. Lift from the knees

To protect yourself and not throw out your back, don’t use your back to lift anything heavy, including your mattress. To make sure you do this correctly, don’t lift by bending forward. Instead, bend your hips and knees to squat down, pick up the mattress while keeping it as close to the body as possible, and then straighten your legs to lift. Also, make sure never to lift anything heavy above shoulder level, and avoid twisting or turning your body while lifting or holding a heavy object. 

Here are some quick tips on how to lift from the knees, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Spread your feet shoulder-width apart to have a wide base of support
  • Get as close as you can to the object you are lifting
  • Bend at your knees; do not bend at your waist or use your back
  • Tighten your stomach muscles or core as you lift
  • Lift the object slowly, using the muscles in your hips and knees
  • Do not bend forward as you stand up with the object
  • Keep the object as close to your body as possible while carrying it
  • Avoid twisting your back while lifting or carrying the object
  • Squat down as you set the object down, using the muscles in your knees and hips and keeping your back straight

5. Take your mattress to your vehicle

Once you have your mattress folded or reinforced and covered, you can move it to your vehicle. The easiest way to do this is with help from another person. If you can’t recruit someone to help you out, try to get a dolly. Many moving companies like UHaul and home goods stores have dolly rentals. Clear a path and gently roll your mattress to your vehicle.

You may also need to rent a larger vehicle to transport your mattress. Once again, moving companies or home improvement stores often have large trucks that you can rent.

How To Move A Memory Foam Mattress

If you need to move a memory foam mattress, there are some additional points to keep in mind. Memory foam mattresses are heavy and shapeshift when you grab them, making it tough to get a good grip. Keep these helpful tips in mind if you need know how to move a foam mattress:

  1. First, wrap your memory foam mattress as described above. 
  2. From there, slide it into a special cardboard box for mattresses. 
  3. When transporting it, leave it flat without stacking anything on top of it. If possible, tie it down with straps to a steady surface so it doesn’t slide.

Important Tips For Moving A Mattress By Yourself

Get the right vehicle

You’re going to either need a truck or a moving van. Experts do not recommend securing your mattress to the top of a regular car. It can most easily damage the mattress in the process and has a high possibility of slipping off your car, which can cause accidents. Most mattresses should also be loaded and transported on their sides, preferably leaned up against a wall. If not, make sure that it’s secured down properly with straps. If you or a loved one don’t have a truck you can borrow, you can rent a UHaul or other moving van or truck for a reasonable price. 

Ship your mattress

If you’re trying to move your mattress a long distance but don’t have a truck or the money to rent a moving van to travel hundreds of miles, you always have the option to ship your mattress. Cover it how we mentioned earlier, and find a company online that will ship your mattress for you. We suggest, all you have to do is enter the dimensions of your mattress and how far you want it to go. They’ll give you several quotes to choose from, but if they’re too high, you can tell them your budget and see if any of the shipping companies are willing to do it at your price.

Use a dolly or cart

Use some wheels to help you out when moving your mattress from your room to the vehicle, especially if you’re moving it by yourself. This tip will be particularly helpful if you have to carry a mattress up a flight of stairs alone.

Clear your path

Make sure that you have a clear path already laid out before moving your mattress. You don’t want to step on something on the way or bump into obstacles with your hands full. You might run into an obstacle trying to get your mattress through the front door, and if you do, you’ll probably need to angle it right. Try carrying your mattress in sideways or at an angle to make it fit.

Drag Your Mattress

Find two large blankets that’ll fit on top of and below your mattress. Put your mattress in the middle, and tie the top and bottom blanket together. From there, try dragging your mattress to where it needs to go (after transporting it in a car, of course). You’ll want to use blankets that you can part with if they get ruined, especially if you’re trying to pull your mattress over a rough surface. If possible, this should be a method of last resort.

Worse comes to worst, and you physically can’t move your mattress after trying everything else, you can try your luck with a stranger like a neighbor. If that fails too, just wait it out until a friend or relative can help you. Keep bribing them with beer or food; they can’t say no to you forever.

Unpacking And Setting Up Your Mattress

Once your mattress arrives at your new place, here’s how we’d complete the set-up process.

  1. Unwrap it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of moisture getting trapped between the wrapping and your bed. 
  2. After that’s done, prop it up on its side against the wall to let it breathe. If you’ve got the space, you can temporarily store it in another room while you set up your bed frame and other bedroom furniture.
  3. At this point, it’s a good idea to give your mattress a deep clean since it’s probably gathered some dirt from the moving process and years of use. Cleaning instructions vary based on the type of mattress you have, so check out our cleaning guide.
  4. Once you’ve cleaned it (or at least vacuumed it), you can set up your bed frame or foundation and put your mattress on it. 

We’d recommend leaving the sheets off for as long as you can, just because it gives your mattress a little bit of extra time to air out.