If you’re moving to another city or state, you may be wondering whether bringing your mattress is even worth it. Would it be easier and more cost-effective to just buy a new one once you get to where you’re going? In my experience, shipping is the best solution — but only if you prepare the mattress properly. So today, I’m going to tell you how to ship a mattress without damaging it.
In addition to sharing several tips on how to pack your mattress, I’ll also suggest some services you could use and explain the cost of shipping. Ultimately, you’ll be able to use these tips whenever you need to ship a mattress for any reason — whether you’re donating it or sending it to a friend or a customer.
The Benefits of Shipping Your Mattress
First, let’s take a moment to discuss the benefits of shipping your mattress. I can think of three off the top of my head:
- Shipping is safer than balancing the mattress on top of your car or in the back of a truck
- If you prepare the mattress properly, it’ll arrive clean and undamaged
- Shipping is generally cheaper than getting a new mattress — though there are some exceptions.
In fact, plopping an uncovered mattress onto your car isn’t a great idea for several reasons. For one, it could lead to traffic difficulties or even accidents, especially if it’s not properly secured. It can block your line of vision and cause a kind of pressure that may negatively affect your fuel consumption. On top of that, the mattress will just soak up bacteria and dust if you don’t wrap it up.
“But,” I hear you saying, “it’s legal!” Well, to be fair, so are a lot of other ill-advised things. But think about it from another driver’s perspective. Seeing a mattress strapped to the car in front of you is pretty annoying at best and concerning at worst.
But of course, there are some caveats to the benefits I’ve listed, as well. Sometimes, shipping actually costs more than buying a new mattress. Usually, the price of shipping depends on the size, weight, and category of your package. So if getting a new mattress shipped from a manufacturer costs less than what you’d have to pay to ship your old one, you should go for it.
How to Prepare Your Mattress for Shipping
If you decide that shipping your old mattress to your new address is worth the price, you may find yourself wondering where to start the packing process. Well, here’s everything you should do to make sure that your mattress gets to your new home in one piece.
1. Measure the Size and Weight
Usually, when you’re moving, you should wait to ship your mattress until the very last moment. Your box spring and bed frame can go off ahead of time, but you’ll probably leave your mattress on the floor until it’s time for you to go, too. You’ll have to sleep on something, right?
Still, when it’s time to pack up the last of your stuff, you’ll want to start by stripping the mattress. Pack your comforter and pillows in separate bags. If you want to save space, get one of those vacuum storage bags and keep your vacuum cleaner with you until the last moment, too.
You probably won’t have time to wash your sheets before you go, so just put them in a bag marked “laundry.” That’ll remind you to toss them in the wash as soon as you get to your new place.
Once you take off your bedding, you’ll have to measure the mattress. The average twin bed is about 38 by 75 inches, which should also make it the lightest, and therefore, the cheapest to ship. Queen-size mattresses would certainly be more difficult to ship since they start at 60 by 80 inches.
Of course, since most mattresses are foldable, the dimensions aren’t as significant as their weight. Generally, they’re anywhere between 60 and 125 pounds. You’ll find your mattress easier to weigh after you fold and secure it.
2. Figure Out What Kind of a Mattress You’re Working With
While the size of the mattress may give you a ballpark estimate of its weight, the materials it’s made of factor into it as well. However, that’s not the only reason you should figure out the internal structure of your mattress. It’ll also affect the packing method you use.
After all, if you have a memory foam mattress, you’ll be able to easily roll or fold it. Fortunately, most people now have these kinds of softer mattresses that are pliable but also able to retain their shape. I’ll show you a few ways to wrap and fold them later on.
Spring mattresses and hybrid ones, which have both foam and metal springs, are a bit touchier. You’ll either have to ship them flat (maybe even propped up inside the shipping container) or fold them more carefully. Don’t worry — bending them is definitely possible since those springs are supposed to keep their shape for decades. But you certainly won’t be able to leave a spring mattress in that position for long without risking distortion.
Even if the shipping company transports your mattress in an upright position, it might bend on its own. It will likely need other items to hold it up, or you might have to put it in a cardboard box. You could only get a box that size at a mattress store — and it would be an additional expense.
3. Get Your Supplies
And speaking of the supplies you might need, let’s go over a list of things you’ll need to properly wrap, fold, and secure your mattress.
The one thing we’re trying to avoid here is contamination. So, you’ll want to envelop your mattress in thick plastic in a way that won’t let any dust, bacteria, or water through.
The easiest way to ship your mattress would be to just get a waterproof mattress case like this one. As you can see, the bag comes in several sizes, and it should be airtight and tear-proof. So, nothing should be able to come into contact with your mattress during transportation or even if you leave it in storage.
The key here is to get a bag that’s about 3.5 mils (or thousandths of an inch) thick. Even a regular plastic sheet will do if it’s thick enough — though you’ll have to purchase plenty of wrapping tape, as well.
Lastly, you’ll need something to keep the mattress closed after you fold it. Tie-down straps are perfect for that, and you can even use them to lift the mattress, too. However, if you’re not planning on folding the mattress, you can just opt for a bag with built-in handles.
Now, you’ll want to avoid ordering these kinds of waterproof mattress encasements. They’re simply not the kind you’d use to ship a mattress. Still, if you need something that will protect your mattress from spills, they’re perfectly suitable.
If you end up using a classic mattress bag, there’s no need to finesse it over the mattress vertically. Instead, lay the mattress on the floor and slip the bag over one side, then pull it over the rest. Having a friend do the same thing on the other side will save you the trouble of running back and forth and moving the bag incrementally.
Once the mattress is in the bag, you can fold it in half if you want to. Then, secure it by sliding a tie-down strap or a strong rope underneath and tying the ends on top. Finally, tuck in the ends of the mattress bag and apply packing tape as you see fit.
On the other hand, if you decide to use thick painter’s plastic, you can fold and secure the mattress first. Then, you can wrap it up and tape it. You can see this technique illustrated in this video.
5. Arrange for a Pickup
Whether you’re sending your mattress across the country or twenty miles away, you shouldn’t settle on the first service you find. Instead, don’t be afraid to ask:
- If the company ships items of your mattress’s weight and size
- Which shipping category your mattress would belong to and how that would affect the price
- How much the company charges per mile (usually, the answer is between $0.70 and $2.50)
- Whether insurance is included in the price or if you would have to go to another company for that
FedEx Home usually ships smaller twin or single mattresses. If you want to ship a larger one, you’ll have to find a motor freight option. That should only cost you about $250. But you should still compare prices on TSI Shipping, FreightPros, UPS, and UShip sites, to be sure.
If the shipping costs are outrageous, just rent a U-Haul to transport the last of your stuff, including your mattress. Or, if you have successfully folded it, it might easily fit on the back seat of a passenger car.
Should You Ship Your Mattress When Moving or Buy a New One?
Now that you have all the information you need to ship your mattress, the question is: should you?
Well, that depends on the state of the mattress, which can be deceiving. For example, if you’ve been lamenting how uneven and saggy it has become — there are ways to get around that. However, if the lumpiness of the mattress is causing you pain no matter what you do, you should certainly invest in a new one.
If you determine that your mattress is worth keeping, I hope that the tips I’ve shared will help you get it to your new abode. Then, you’ll just have to figure out the best bed positions in the new space. Spruce it up with a bedside lamp and a throw blanket, and your new place will become a home in no time!