How To Pack a Mattress For Moving

How to Pack a Mattress for Moving

One of the biggest items that you’ll pack for any move is your mattress. While this seems obvious when you stop and think about it, it’s actually pretty easy to overlook just how much space your mattress is going to take up in the back of a moving truck.

The good news is if packed correctly a mattress can actually be an asset in the back of a moving truck as opposed to an enormous space liability.

Jen and I have moved mattresses almost a dozen times (we even lifted one up and over a 2nd floor balcony once!). In this article, we’re going to share with you all the tips and tricks that we’ve learned packing and moving mattresses over the years so you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep on move-in day.

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Table of Contents

Prep With a Mattress Bag

The first thing we recommend is buying a mattress bagOpens in a new tab.. A Mattress Bag is essentially a plastic bag that covers the entire mattress and protects it from dust and dirt during the move.

Here’s the thing. The backs of moving trucks are dusty and dirty. Oftentimes you’ll also find yourself stuffing a mattress through a tight spot in a doorway or hallway.

Combine that with the fact that mattresses are heavy, awkward objects that can easily find themselves on the ground, either unintentionally dropped or dragged. Also, don’t forget that you (or someone) are going to be moving your mattress with hands that are probably going to be pretty dirty on moving day.

Finally, you may end up having to deal with rain or snow on moving day. Moving a mattress in rainy conditions without a mattress bag can result in a wet and/or muddy mattress.

All of this can lead to a mattress that can get pretty nasty over the course of a move. A Mattress Bag is going to cost you less than $20 and is a great investment, especially when you consider memory foam mattresses can easily cost over a thousand dollars.

How To Move a Mattress

Get Help

If you’ve hired professional movers then you already have all the help you need. However, if you hired professional movers then you’re probably not here reading this.

So, assuming you’re going to be carrying your mattresses yourself, the first thing you’ll need to do is get help.

A queen, and especially a king, size mattress requires more than one person to carry it. It’s heavy lifting, yes, but it really doesn’t matter how strong you are. Mattresses are very big and bulky items that you simply can’t carry by yourself.

Grab a family member, friend or neighbor and figure out the best way to bribe them into helping you move your mattress.

Find The Handles


You probably don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them on a day-to-day basis, but most mattresses (I want to say all here but I’m not 100%) have handles built into the sides of them.

Now is the time you put those handles to use.

Turn the mattress upright so it will fit through all the doorways and stairwells on the way to the moving truck. Now, you and your partner should grab both handles, lift the mattress slightly off the ground and head to the truck.

Utilize Your Mattress as a Barrier

Once you get your mattress into a mattress bag and out to the truck, it’s time to figure out where exactly we’re going to put the mattress inside the truck.

My favorite way to pack a mattress for a move is to use the mattress for what it is, a giant cushion.

I like to place a couple of pieces of furniture (dressersOpens in a new tab. are great for this) with their backs against the side of the moving truck. Secure a moving blanketOpens in a new tab. behind the dresser for extra protection against the side of the truck.

Now, slide the mattress (only slide if you have a mattress bag on it) on its side and place it in front of the dresser. Secure the mattress in place with the use of a few bungee hooks. I like to use at least three. One towards the top third, one in the middle and one towards the bottom third.

Your mattress will now act as a protective barrier for the front of your dressers from any scratches and dings from things moving around in the back of your truck.

The bigger the mattress, the better I like this technique. Mattresses can take up quite a bit of space, so getting it to work for you can be a gamechanger.

Until you see them stacked up together like this, it’s easy to underestimate just how much space your mattresses can take up.

If you have a smaller mattress, perhaps a twin or even a double, I have another ‘trick’ that I like to use for those.

Sit the Mattress on Top

Until you see them stacked up together like this, it’s easy to underestimate just how much space your mattresses can take up.

Just so we’re clear, when I say ‘on top’, I don’t mean on top of the truck.

We have a mattress in our guest room that is a double. What I like to do with that mattress is save it until a spot opens up over what you already have packed in the truck.

For example, let’s say you have a truck with an interior height of 7 feet. You have a dresser that is 6 feet tall. Beside the dresser, you have a few stacks of boxes, stacked up to the same height as the dresser. What you now have is a gap of about a foot between those items and the top of the truck.

This is a great spot to sneak in that smaller mattress.

Lay the mattress flat on top of those items and slide it into place. Secure the mattress with a bungee cord if necessary so it doesn’t go sliding back out of place during the moving process. Sliding your mattress on top of boxes and dressers is another great reason for having mattress bags on all your mattresses.

By using this method, you’re able to use space in the back of the truck that more than likely would have gone unused and maximizing all the available space is how you avoid leaving things on the curb that didn’t end up fitting in the truck.

Second, the weight of the mattress should not be enough to crush a box, but it is enough to help secure those items in place. It’s a win-win.

What About the Box Springs?

Box Springs

If you have a memory foam mattress then there is a chance you don’t even have box springs. But, if you do, you can treat them much the same as your mattress.

First, whether or not you use a mattress bag for your box springs is a little more optional, but is still a good idea.

Be mindful of sharp edges and/or staples poking out from a box spring. They’re not all cushion like a mattress and you need to take the proper precautions when carrying them and leaning them against other items in the truck.

Using a moving blanket to cover the box springs once you get it in the truck is my best recommendation. This will not only protect the box springs but everything around them as well.

Final Thoughts

Moving a mattress, whether it’s a memory foam mattress or a spring mattress, can be intimidating because of its size and awkwardness. But, with the proper preparation, you can move a mattress like a pro!

By planning out how you’re going to pack your truck, you can transform your mattress from just a huge space occupier to an extremely helpful tool. And don’t forget to protect your mattress with a mattress bag, you’ll be glad you did later.

Good Luck with your move!


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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