How to Pack a Bed For Moving (Frame & Mattress)

How to Pack a Bed for Moving

I once lifted a king size mattress up onto the balcony of a second floor apartment because it wouldn’t fit up the stairs. So, when I say I’ve seen and done almost everything when it comes to moving a mattress, I mean it.

Your bed is one of the bulkiest (and heaviest) items you’ll have to pack and carry during a move. Between the mattress, the box spring, the headboard, and the bed frames, it can be a challenge for a DIY project.

To help you complete the job quickly and efficiently, I’m sharing below a step-by-step guide on how to pack a bed frame and mattress for moving.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Gather the Packing Supplies You’ll Need

First things first, you need to check that you’ve got all the packing supplies required for the job to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s a list of packing materials:

●       Packing Tape

●       Bubble wrap or Moving Blankets

●       Moving Straps or Rope

●       Mattress bag

●       A wrench

●       A screwdriver set

●       Plastic or Ziploc bags

●       A couple of friends or family members

●       A hand truck for particularly heavy beds or if you don’t have an extra hand

When it comes to the size of the moving truck, it should be at least 10 feet to guarantee that it’ll fit your mattress no matter how large it is. A 10-foot and up moving truck can hold pretty much every mattress size from Twin and Double to Queen, King, and even a California King size mattress.

Step 2: Pack the Mattress in a Mattress Bag

Mattress Sitting in a Mattress Bag
Once your mattress is safely in a mattress bag, it’s ready for the big journey. (Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot /

What are mattress bags you ask?

Think of it as a giant zip lock bag, but instead of your sandwich for lunch, it’s for your mattress.

This is to keep all the dust and dirt that your mattress is going to encounter while it’s being carried up and down stairs and outside along with sitting in the back of a moving truck which aren’t known for being spick and span.

●       Grab the mattress bag and slide it onto the mattress. You can stand the mattress against a wall or lay flat on the floor, then lift one corner and put it inside the bag.

●       Once you’ve got the entire mattress into the bag, smooth it from the closed side to the opening to make sure there’s no excess air.

●       Finish up by folding the extra length of the bag and sealing any opening with some packing tape.

I suggest following the exact same process for the box spring as well (if you have a box spring). Even though you don’t lay directly on it, I still don’t like the idea of my box spring getting covered in dust and dirt during the move.

Step 3: Transfer and Load the Mattress

Before you do any lifting, you should make sure the path you’ll take to reach the inside of the U Haul is clear.

This means opening the doors of the room(s), the house/apartment, as well as the truck wide enough to pass the mattress. Also, if there are any objects in the way, be sure to remove them.

With everything in order, get ready to lift the mattress. It’s best to have one or two more people to help out but if that’s not possible, a hand truck can come in very handy.

When lifting the mattress, make sure you start by bending with your knees, not your back. Use the strength of your legs and core to lift, again, not your back!

If you’ve managed to have others help, you can carry or slide the mattress together until you get to the moving truck. If you’re alone or you want to save everyone the effort, place the mattress on the hand truck and push it.

In case you need to transfer the mattress down a staircase, don’t use the hand truck to roll it down. Instead, carry the mattress down the stairs then put it back onto the hand truck.

Once you get the mattress inside the moving truck, you have 2 options to choose from:

●       Lay the mattress flat on the truck’s floor, making sure there’s nothing under or on top of it.

●       Stand the mattress against one side of the truck where there are usually rails intended for support. Use the straps or rope to securely tie the mattress to these rails.

Don’t try to bend or fold the mattress throughout any of the steps above as this can compromise its structural integrity, resulting in discomfort during sleep or even ruining the mattresses altogether.

If all of this seems daunting – even though it may cost more money – hiring movers from a moving company is often times well worth the price.

Don’t forget that you can also hire professional movers just to help with the loading and unloading of the truck. This can often be the best way to stretch your moving budget while getting the help you need with the heavy lifting.

Step 4: Disassemble and Pack the Bed Frame

Taking Apart a Bed Frame
My biggest piece of advice when taking apart any piece of furniture – keep everything organized!

With the mattress sitting tight in the truck, it’s time to pack the bed frame. Here’s how:

●       Start by disassembling the frame. Use the wrench or screwdrivers to detach the headboard and the footboard from the frame.

●       Keep all the screws, nuts, and bolts inside a plastic bag like a Ziploc bag to make sure you don’t lose them. It can be quite frustrating if you can’t find these when you’re putting the bed back together. In fact, I always label the bag with exactly what’s in it and tape it to the frame itself.

●       Use moving blankets or bubble wrap to cover the boards and protect them from getting damaged (you can both for additional protection), then secure the wrapping with some tape to prevent it from coming undone.

●       Detach the rest of the frame’s pieces and save any nuts, screws, or bolts. Repeat the same wrapping/sealing process for each piece to avoid damage.

Step 5: Load the Bed Frame

With the bed frame packed, you can carry each part to the moving truck. If the headboard or footboard is too heavy for you, ask someone else to give you a hand or use the hand truck to transport it.

It’s best to lay everything flat onto the truck’s floor, but if that’s not possible, make sure the standing pieces are leaning against the support rails and secured with straps or rope.

Check out our guide on how to tie down furniture in a moving truck for more info on securing your bed frame and mattress in place.

Step 6: Unload, Unpack, Assemble

Now that you have your mattress and bed frame tucked in, you’re good to hit the road. Keep in mind that you’re driving with a heavy load, so you need to be extra careful when it comes to speeding and taking sharp turns.

Drive at a moderate speed and try to take the least bumpy road you can find. Don’t turn or brake suddenly to avoid shifting your load.

Once you arrive at your new home, take out the bed frame first. Carry each piece to the new bedroom and make sure you have the plastic bag with the screws and nuts on you.

Take out the mattress and box spring and carefully lift it to carry it in with a friend’s help or place it onto the hand truck and push.

Remove all the protective layers and assemble the bed frame in the opposite order to that of the disassembly process. Make sure all parts of the bed frame are sturdy before you take the mattress out of the mattress bag and place it on top.

Wrap Up

There you have it, a simple step-by-step guide on how to pack a bed frame and mattress for moving to help you complete the job as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The packing process can seem challenging at first, but once you get started and follow the steps closely, you’ll find it easier than you thought.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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