Like all other items around the house, your bed will succumb to aging and slow decay. Maybe the frame will go weak and will require some reinforcement. Maybe you’ll need to do some minor repairs here and there (or major ones). But ultimately, there will be a time when the frame is just not fit for use anymore.

The same goes for mattresses. On average, a single mattress can have a lifespan of 5-7 years. Most will outlast that timeframe, of course, but signs of wear and tear will definitely show. And unless you replace it in time, you might face some serious health issues from sleeping on a faulty mattress.

So, the time has come, and you have to get rid of your bed frame and mattress. But what is the best way to go about it? Should you just throw it away, and if so, what is the best way to do it?

In this article, we tackle the answers to all of these questions. You will learn everything you need to know about getting rid of your old bed using proper, safe, and cost-effective methods.

Weighing the Options

Generally speaking, you will have one of four options when it comes to your old bed’s elements:

  • Selling
  • Donating
  • Repurposing
  • Throwing them away

There’s a very good reason behind this particular list order. Most people will immediately think about throwing the bed away. And while there are legitimate times when you can do that, you should only consider it as a last-resort option, considering how full our landfills are of old beds.

In the US alone, 55,000 mattresses end up in landfills on a daily basis. In the UK, only about 19% of all mattresses end up being recycled. No matter how you look at it, that is a huge waste. Not only is it damaging the environment, but the economy is also losing millions of dollars on not recycling or reusing old bed elements.

Of course, even if you decide not to throw the bed elements away, you still need to figure out what the next-best option might be. That will largely depend on the condition of your bed frame or your mattress. If they are fairly decent, you might sell them or donate them. However, if they’re a little worse for wear, repurposing or disassembly should be the way to go. 

Getting Rid of the Old Bed Frame

Typically, a bed frame can be made of either wood or metal. Each option comes with its own set of benefits and flaws, and depending on what kind of frame you have, you will take different steps when it comes to getting rid of it.

Selling the Frame

Let’s say that your bed frame is looking a bit rickety, but it’s still sturdy and durable enough to sustain your weight. It doesn’t squeak, it doesn’t wobble, and it’s not falling apart. In other words, aside from how it looks, it’s still a decent frame that can hold a mattress and the person sleeping on top. If that’s the case, you should definitely consider selling it.

Naturally, you will need to take a few things into account before you put that frame up for sale online. Here’s a handy list you can check off when considering the sale:

  • Always offer the frame below its original retail price
  • Make sure to take realistic photos of the frame, showing all of its potential flaws
  • Be prepared to bargain for the final price
  • Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about the best way to sell the product.

If you need to, you can always try to refurbish an old bed frame, be it metal or wooden. With metal frames, you will want to get rid of any rust and apply a decent coat of paint to breathe new life into them. Wooden frames will probably require a bit of sanding before you start painting them over.

Once the frame is nice and refurbished, you can post an ad on websites such as eBay or Craigslist.  But don’t just limit yourself to those two options. There are plenty of online stores where people sell old and used furniture daily.

Donating the Frame

If you feel like you don’t need the extra money from your old bed frame, or if you’re simply feeling charitable, you can always try donating it to someone less fortunate. A decent, sturdy bed frame can make all the difference to a person who can’t afford to own a bed. It’s also the perfect way of getting rid of an unwanted piece of furniture without sending it to a landfill.

Organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will gladly take your old bed frame off your hands. Furthermore, both organizations are listed with the IRS. So, when you donate your old bed frame, you can actually deduct the donation from your taxes by the end of the year. In other words, your good deed will result in financial gain as well as providing a less fortunate individual with a bed to sleep in.

Repurposing the Frame

Do you have a creative DIY streak in you? If so, then you don’t have to immediately throw away a bed frame that happens to be falling apart. Instead, try to repurpose it into a new piece of furniture for your home.

There are countless options for repurposing old bed frames out there. For example, you can reuse the metal base of the frame as a small fence, a garden chair, or a flower bed. Wooden frames are even easier to reuse and upcycle, since you can make additional wooden elements with a few saw cuts and some strategic gluing. For instance, you can make yourself a handy chair, a bed for pets, or even a workbench.

Old and worm-eaten wooden frames can be repurposed in another way. You can actually use the wood to make a compost pile in your backyard. You can even go a step further and use old mattress stuffing in the same pile. And if you need a proper composting bin, simply make one from the remaining wood of the frame.

Throwing the Frame Away

If the frame is absolutely beyond repair and if you can’t repurpose it or give it away, then dumping it will be the only remaining option. Of course, even throwing away a bed frame isn’t particularly simple and there are several ways you can go about it.

The most common method is to put the bed frame on the curb and wait for the waste disposal service to pick it up with regular trash. However, not all waste disposal services will do that, and it might even be illegal in certain states to do so. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do your research before you dump your old bed frame out in the open.

Some people rent out vans or put the bed frame onto their car and drive it to the scrap heap themselves. However, this can be a costly process and it will take a lot of your time and money to accomplish. With that in mind, the best solution is to call a mattress disposal service. Most of those services also cover bed frames and other furniture elements, so they will gladly take your old frame off your hands.

An additional option is to actually give the frame away for free. Even if it’s in the worst condition imaginable, you can always post an ad for it on Craigslist. Someone might actually find a good use for it, and if you’re lucky, you might even end up trading it for a different item that they might not need.

Getting rid of an old mattress. An old mattress waiting for garbage removal.

Getting Rid of the Old Mattress

Unlike with frames, the process of getting rid of a mattress is slightly different. Of course, you can easily disassemble both the frame and the mattress. However, when it comes to recycling or donating, you will most likely have to keep the mattress in one piece.

Most services that buy or trade with old bed frames will also handle mattresses. In fact, you will find a mattress disposal service more easily than one for bed frames alone. With that in mind, most of the methods listed below will be the same for both mattresses and bed frames.

Selling the Mattress

Just like bed frames, old mattresses can be sold online if they still have some strength in their springs and if their foam is intact. And before you decide on selling your old piece, you will have to get it in tip-top shape. But unlike a bed frame, preparing a mattress for a sale is a bit more time-consuming. Before you put it up for sale, you will have to clean it thoroughly.

Naturally, you can try some DIY mattress cleaning. And while this method will save you money on cleaning bills, it will take a lot of time and effort on your part. With that in mind, you might actually consider paying a professional to clean the mattress properly. Most cleaners today will charge you somewhere around $100 for a decent, thorough clean-up job, though you can find services that charge as low as $50.

Donating the Mattress

Interestingly, not all donation services will take a used mattress. For example, if you want to donate one to the Salvation Army or the Furniture Bank, you will have to clean it thoroughly. These organizations do not accept mattresses with visible stains. On the other hand, Goodwill will outright refuse to accept a used mattress, even if it’s completely stain-free. 

The best way to go about the process is to contact your local donation centers beforehand. Ask around regarding their mattress policies, and if necessary, send them images of your item so that they can review it. Naturally, you will have to check if the donation center of your choice is registered with the IRS. Otherwise,  you won’t be able to claim your tax deductibles on the donation.

Another option that has become popular lately is donating mattresses to pet rescue centers. Animals that are in a center’s care will need a place to sleep on, and an old mattress can fit several cats or dogs easily. Of course, you will have to get the mattress cleaned, but you don’t need to worry about a few stains not coming off. As long as the mattress is clean and comfy, the animals won’t mind.

Repurposing the Mattress

Disassembling a bed frame will give you lots of DIY options for additional furniture. However, you can’t really do that with an old mattress. Nevertheless, you can still pull it apart and reuse its individual components for other means. In fact, if you do it right, you can pull a mattress apart in a matter of minutes.

Once the mattress is in pieces, you can use its elements for a variety of different things. For example, the foam from the mattress could be an excellent material for filling cushions, pillows, and other bits of furniture. In addition, you can use any buttons or cloth from the mattress when sewing. And if you’re crafty enough, you can even use the old metal springs in new, creative ways. 

Of course, you can always repurpose the whole mattress without taking it apart. For instance, you can convert it into a couch, disguise it as a decor, or put it in your backyard as the basis for a homemade Jungle Jim for your kids. In addition, they can use the old mattress as a makeshift trampoline. Just remember to have the mattress cleaned before you let your children play on it.

Throwing the Mattress Away

Once the mattress has reached a certain level of wear and tear, dumping it becomes the best option. But even then, you might want to reconsider outright ditching the mattress at the junkyard. After all, there’s always the option of recycling it.

As mentioned above, tearing a mattress apart takes up little time. And you can sort the individual elements in different bags and take them all to designated recycling areas. For instance, both metal springs and foam can both be reused in different items. In fact, some companies will pay you well for providing them with raw materials for processing.

Of course, you always have the option of taking the old mattress to the manufacturer. Plenty of companies across the US have a policy of receiving their old and used products and breaking them down themselves for recycling. That way they save money on using brand new materials and they get to connect with their customer base more closely than before. So, if the manufacturer of your mattress has a processing plant in the region, contact them and see if they’ll take your old mattress off your hands.

If all else fails, however, you can always call a mattress disposal service. Just like manufacturers, these services will not only pick up your mattress, but they’ll work hard on getting it to a proper recycling facility.

Related: How to Ship a Mattress When Moving

Final Thoughts

To you, an old bed might just be a hunk of junk that you need to throw away to make room for a new one. However, just because you’ve been using the same bed frame and mattress for years doesn’t mean that they’re completely useless. Donating and repurposing are both innovative and eco-friendly ways to get rid of old furniture, and you can always find a customer for used items. Hopefully, this article has helped you decide on how you want to get rid of your used bed before the new one takes its place in your bedroom.

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