How to Move a Mattress (and Your Entire Bed) — the Easy Way

How to Move a Mattress (and Your Entire Bed) — the Easy Way

Moving homes can be stressful. Even more so now that you’re eyeing that California king mattress and wondering how you’re going to get it on the roof of your car. What if you don’t have a car? What if your friends have conveniently ditched town the weekend that you were supposed to move? Don’t panic. Here’s how to move a mattress — without having a nervous breakdown en route.

Should You Move This Mattress?

moving a mattress Let’s get real. If you’re frantically googling ‘how to move a mattress by yourself’ and wondering how you’re going to strap your gigantic mattress on the back of your tiny car, it might be a good idea to think about some alternative options.
    1. Buy a new one. If you inherited your mattress from your old roommate, it might be time to bid it adieu. Thanks to bed in the box options, a new one can easily be delivered to your door (for an affordable price) instead of lugging it across town.
    2. Hire movers. The penny pinchers amongst us might balk at the idea, but movers can be a lifesaver if you’re trying to orchestrate a big move by yourself.
    3. Can’t afford movers? Post a classified ad. Dolly, Craigslist and TaskRabbit have been gaining popularity with movers who are looking for a furniture-specific move rather than the whole house. It can be a lot cheaper than hiring movers, who usually only offer home package deals.
    4. Ship it. Shipping a mattress can be pretty expensive, but if you can’t stand the idea of getting a new mattress, speak to local shipping companies to get a quote.

How To Move A Mattress

If you’re determined to move that mattress, here’s what you’re going to need:
  • Friends. Promise post-moving beer and pizza to sweeten the deal.
  • Mattress moving bag. Moving is likely to involve contact with the floor at some point. Mattress moving bags can be purchased inexpensively from any good moving supply store, and will keep yours clean and protected from the elements.
  • Moving straps. If you have a partner to help, invest in a pair of moving straps.
  • Somewhere to store the screws. Use a plastic sandwich bag to store all of your bed screws in one place. Trash bags can be useful for storing individual bed slats.
  • Sensible shoes. Don’t try and move a mattress in flip-flops, or shoes that can trip you up.
Now figure out how you’re going to transport it. In most cases, it’s best to rent a moving van that’s large enough. Here’s how to load a mattress into a moving van:
    1. Clear the path. Walk the entire route from the bedroom to the truck and make sure that the path is free from obstructions and trip-hazards. Secure pets and children in another area of the house, and open any doors that block the path of your move.
    2. Return to your mattress and fit it with your mattress moving bag. If you’re using a plastic tarp instead, seal the ends with duct tape.
    3. Flip the mattress onto its side, and attach the moving straps under both ends.
    4. Start carrying mattress to the vehicle.

How To Move A Mattress By Yourself

ratchet tie-down If you can’t afford to hire a man with a van on Craigslist and you need to move a mattress by yourself, here’s the best way to do it — as long as it’s not memory foam. You’ll need:
  • Ratchet tie-downs
  • Rope
  • A dolly
Here’s what to do next:
  1. Fold the mattress in half, using rope and the ratchet ties.
  2. Place on dolly.
  3. Wheel to vehicle.

If it’s not safe to transport the mattress by yourself, call in a professional or place an ad on a classified section for help. It’s cheaper than a hospital bill.

How To Move A Memory Foam Mattress

When it comes to moving a memory foam mattress, there are two major variables to consider. The first is that memory foam weighs more than a standard mattress, and the second is that memory foam mattresses are floppier than standard mattresses, meaning they’re harder to carry. Memory foam is actually quite fragile and easy to damage, so don’t use ratchet tie-downs and ropes to fold it in half. You could permanently damage it. The best way to move memory foam is by purchasing a specific mattress shipping box, and securing it into the box with bubble wrap and tape. By doing so, the corrugated shape of the cardboard will help prevent your memory foam mattress from flopping around in transit.

Transporting A Mattress On Top Of A Car?

moving mattress on car illustation Unless you’re thinking about moving a twin, strapping a big mattress to the roof of your car is a bad idea. An unsecured mattress could fall off and injure someone or cause a collision. You could also end up with a ticket for unsafe driving. Rent a moving van or find a friend with a truck instead.

How To Get Rid Of A Mattress

If moving a mattress is just too much of a headache, get rid of it. Find out if your state has any free recycling programs you could take advantage of to have it removed, or contact a local junk hauling facility. Don’t risk dumping it in the alley behind your house — illegal dumping comes with a hefty fine and even jail time depending on where you live. Check out our extended article on how to dispose of a used mattress.

Mattress Moving Do’s And Don’ts

Now you know to move a mattress, here are the top takeaways!


  • Bribe your friends to help with promises of pizza
  • Clear the path from bedroom to vehicle
  • Hire a moving truck (or bribe said friend with a van)
  • Invest in moving straps
  • Forsake your mattress, and buy a bed in a box instead
  • Use correct lifting posture when moving anything heavy


  • Fold a memory foam mattress in two
  • Forget to use a mattress moving bag
  • Strap a king sized mattress on the roof of a small car
  • Slide a mattress down a flight of stairs
  • Leave a mattress standing on it’s side
  • Illegally dump an old mattress

How To Move A Bed

dismantling a bed If you’ve successfully transported your mattress to the moving van, congratulations! The worst of it is over. Most bed frames are easy to dissemble and reassemble. Here’s how to move your bed:
  1. If you have a box spring, see the next section. For other beds, gather a hex key, screwdriver, or whatever you need to disassemble your bed. Keep all screws and parts in a plastic sandwich bag.
  2. Remove the bed slats and place them in garbage bags, or a moving box.
  3. Dismantle the bed. Screws and fastenings will be located in the joints.
  4. Move your bed piece-by-piece.

How To Move A Box Spring

Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as carrying it off. If you have to navigate around a narrow staircase, or your box spring is too big to transport, you’re going to have to cut it in half. Here’s how. You’ll need:
  • A handsaw
  • Wood glue
  • Ratchet ties
  • Rope
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Staple gun
  1. Turn your box spring upside down. Are there are staples securing a dust cover to the frame of the box spring, or is it just wood? If there is a dust cover, remove the staples with a flathead screwdriver to leave the wooden structure exposed.
  2. Use a hand saw to cut through the outer wooden strapping so you can bend the box spring in half.
  3. After you’ve relocated your box spring, use wood glue to rejoin the frame and re-staple the dust cover in place.

When moving an older box spring, it might not fit back together perfectly. Consider switching to the's One Base, a memory foam mattress foundation that can be easily disassembled should you ever need to move! Do you have any mattress moving tips? Leave your two cents on how to move a mattress in the comment section below!

Updated: 09/13/2019