It goes without saying that moving is not fun.
In an ideal world you’ve got a moving truck or van with a bunch of white glove movers to do all the heavy lifting, dissembling and reassembling, but in the real world, you might not be so lucky.
You may even find yourself asking if moving your mattress is even worth it. Maybe you can leave it in the garage for the people who move in to find. But, if you’ve just invested in a new mattress, and you actually like it, it might be worth the effort to take it with you.
Without further adieu, here are our top tips on how to transport a mattress without having the luxury of professional movers.
What You Need
A Helping Hand
Consider the pros of a few more helpful hands. Grab a friend, family member, a neighbor, or the guy walking his dog to give you a hand.
It’s not just that it’s heavy; it’s the awkward dimensions that make this a two-person task. If you try to attempt this on your own, you may be more likely to damage the mattress or hurt yourself.
For less than 20 dollars, you can buy a mattress bag to protect your bed when you move it. It’s a clear plastic, heavy-duty bag that envelops your bed to keep it safe and clean during transport. Plus, if you need long-term storage, this bag will keep it safe and critter-free.
Ratchet Straps or Poly Ropes
Sets of ratchet straps cost between $20 to $40, and you can use them for tons of applications other than just moving a bed. They’re great for transporting any type of cargo, even motorcycles. If you’re not great at tying knots, these may give you extra piece of mind because you should no longer have to worry about your bed flying out of your vehicle and into oncoming traffic.
If you’re a knot-tying expert or you were a Boy Scout in a former life, you can probably get away with poly ropes. These are different than regular varieties because they have a braided structure that makes them heavy duty and extra strength. Typically when moving heavy items, the stronger the rope, the better!
When you put the mattress in the bag, you’re probably going to need tape to keep it in place. A tape gun with medium to high-quality packing tape, or even duct tape, should do the trick. Taping the ends and then wrapping the tape all the way around both vertically and horizontally is a good added measure.
This handy tool is often-overlooked and forgotten. In fact, you should probably have two pairs with you because one of them might go missing at some point. Scissors should help to cut tape, rope and potentially some other things.
Steps for Transporting a Bed
Prepare your Workspace
Getting your mattress ready for transit is going to require some space. Make sure you have plenty of room. The best thing to do is to move everything else out of your bedroom first, and have the mattress vertically situated against a wall as you clear out the contents of the room.
The more floor space you have for maneuvering, the better.
Place it Inside the Mattress Bag
This is where that mattress bag you purchased should come in handy. Nothing is worse than getting to your new home and realizing your bed is damaged or dirty because a friend scraped it against the driveway. And you cannot really get mad at them either since they’re usually helping you out in exchange for pizza or beer.
Seal the Bag with Tape
The bag you put your bed in is open at the ends, so you’ll need to seal it with tape. Fold over the edges, secure with tape and then wrap the tape around the bag. Make sure you wrap it around the middle and on the upper and lower thirds. Form a crisscross pattern with the tape, so even if the mattress slides around in the bag, it should still be secure.
Load it Onto the Vehicle
Now comes the fun part – getting the mattress out of the house and into (or onto) your vehicle. Keep in mind that even with the protective bag you should still handle your investment with care. Getting it through the obstacles of the outdoors and into a car, truck or van can still cause damage if you drop it or allow anything sharp to poke or pierce it.
Transporting a queen mattress on the roof of your car is challenging, but doable. Secure it to the roof carefully and work the ropes through your open windows.
Once it’s on the roof, take extra care in stabilizing it with rope. You should measure the amount of rope in advance to make sure there’s plenty to hold everything in place. On average, you’ll need about 16-17 feet.
The first step in this process is putting the rope on the top of the mattress and wrapping it both lengthwise and across. You can wrap it underneath your car, and then through the open windows (minus the driver’s side).
To be extra safe, you can complete this process two times.
Wondering why you should leave the driver’s side free of ropes? If you put them through all the windows, you might have a pretty hard time opening the any of the doors!
If the seats in your van are removable, the moving process becomes infinitely easier. If your bed is exceptionally large and the van you have isn’t, please see the instructions above for how to move your bed to the top of the car.
Once you confirm that the bed can safely fit inside of the van, lay it flat and do your best to keep it flush with a solid surface. This should prevent any distortion or buckling from occurring. Also, double check to make sure there are no sharp edges poking the bed, which could cause damage.
This method is generally preferred because it may be the easiest and safest. All you have to do is load the bed into the back of the pickup truck. Larger, king sizes may need to lay at an angle, but the good news is that loading and unloading should be so much easier than the other options.
Instructions for transporting a bed via truck are the same as a van.
Securing it Properly
Once you’ve loaded your bed into the vehicle, now comes the important step of securing it, so it doesn’t move around, get damaged or come loose and wreak havoc on the freeway.
Ratchet straps should be among the best ways to secure everything. Before putting these straps in place, make sure the mattress is lying flat to prevent any distortion. If you’re using ratchet straps and they end up being too short, hook two of them together to extend the length.
Make sure that you take extra care if you’re using the top of your car to transport this item. Exposure to the elements plus excess wind can really cause some problems if you’re not careful.
A moment ago, we mentioned wind. This can be a hazard, especially if you’re a fast driver. To be safe, drive slower than normal and keep a steady eye on your rearview mirrors so you can detect any problems before they become catastrophes.
Other Ways of Moving a Bed
If there’s going to be a period of time between when you leave your current home and move into your new one, you may want to use a moving container for temporary storage. The wonderful thing about this solution is you can load all of your belongings into the container and let movers handle the rest.
There is generally a fee involved that’s going to be higher than just renting a truck, so it might be a good idea to call around and get several quotes.
If you’re moving a long distance or you’re in a rush, you may want to hire a shipping company to transport everything for you. Follow our earlier tips about wrapping your mattress and then go online to a company like uShip.com. Enter your specific details, and you should get several quotes to choose from. If you’re on a tight budget, try naming your own price and see if any of the shipping companies take the bait.
If you can afford it, this might be the most convenient way to transport a mattress. Plus, professional movers have a ton of experience, and should come with all the tools you need to get your bed safely from Point A to Point B.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to tie a bed on a car?
It’s not technically illegal. However, if you do a haphazard job of tying your mattress to the top of your car, you might be stopped and cited by an officer for endangering the safety of fellow motorists.
How can I move a mattress without handles?
The easiest way is to get a mattress bag that has handles. Alternatively, carry it flat and lower to the ground to preserve your strength and energy.
Putting the it into a box is another way you could go about moving it around. Companies make boxes specially designed to facilitate the moving process. This allows it to be easily scooted over carpet or hardwood, as well as makes it easier to put on a dolly.
Can you transport a boxspring on a car?
Yes, but do so carefully. The sheer size can be problematic in securing it to the roof, and there are some aerodynamic issues involved. For example, if too much of the boxspring is hanging over the windshield and your speed exceeds 20 miles per hour, you may experience some unanticipated lift, similar to airplane wings.
Be extra diligent with ratchet straps and rope. When you tie the rope under the car, make sure that you’re not putting it near any vehicle parts that can either get too hot or cut through the rope. Hot metal can get hot and burn through or compromise the strap and sharp edges could just as easily cut through.
If you’re transporting a mattress without the help of professionals, make sure you have a partner to help out. Fortunately, mattresses aren’t terribly heavy; it’s their size and bulk that makes them awkward to move. Remember, your bed was an investment. Treat it carefully, use protective layering and tie it securely, regardless of the vehicle you’re using.
And most importantly, enjoy your first night in your new home!
Jill Zwarensteyn is the editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.
Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.
She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.