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Packing a Queen Mattress: The Plan vs. Reality

Posted in: I'm a Mover, Pro Packing Guides

[Synopsis: Packing mattresses is easy in theory, but not in reality. Make sure you’re ready.]

On the surface, packing a mattress looks simple. All we have to do is slip that quilted queen-sized puppy into one of those big mattress cartons and tape her up…

…Which is kind of like saying all we have to do is take everything out of the house and put it on the truck. Reality rarely follows the plan; This month we’ll cover both. (And we apologize for bringing back any bad mattress-packing memories you may have.)

The Mattress Pack: Plan vs. Reality


Plan: Walk into the bedroom, pull the mattress off the bed and slide it right into a mattress carton.

Reality: Move all the clothes off the bed, go get a 4.5 carton or two, then strip and pack all the bedding.

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Plan: Have the customer tell you they’ve had their mattress vacuumed, if not steam-cleaned.

Reality: Wipe off any crumbs that have made their magical way through the sheets.

Bonus Moment: Bed bugs can be another issue – tread lightly if and when you ask the customer if they have had their mattress checked for them.



Plan: Slip that mattress into a mattress carton and neatly tape it shut.

Reality: Anything larger than a full-size mattress requires a two-piece carton which, by devilish design, will have a nasty habit of never neatly taping shut.

Reality Check: Even if one of your mattress carton pieces fits nicely inside the other, it takes a ton of tape to keep them together. Consider running some tape vertically around the carton to hold the whole deal in place.



Plan: Getting that mattress into its carton on your own – by holding the carton with one hand and pulling the mattress with the other, by sliding the mattress off the bed and right into the open carton waiting on the floor, or maybe by using some kind of magic levitating trick.

Reality: It takes two.



Plan: Carry that mattress in its carton carefully out the bedroom door into the hall and ease it down the stairs.

Reality: That carton is too big to fit out the bedroom door into the hall, or around the corner, or down the stairs, or all of the above.

Plan Ahead: Look at your situation and consider hauling that mattress downstairs to the front door or the garage before packing it in its rigid carton.

Plan: Pack the mattress in a plastic mattress bag instead of a pricey, bulky mattress carton.

Reality: You forgot to order mattress bags and you end up getting dizzy walking in circles wrapping that mattress in shrink wrap. (While this is certainly doable, it eats up time and shrink wrap, which is expensive and entirely not reusable.)

Strategy: Keep some mattress bags on hand. They run from a buck or two at Boxes A to Z up to eight bucks and change at Home DepotULine is another source. And don’t forget to bring them to the job site!



Plan: Shrink wrap sticks to your hands, so you can just pick up that plastic-coated mattress and haul it down onto the truck.

Reality: Shrink wrap doesn’t stick too well to mattresses, so our grip can easily ruin the wrap job we just got all dizzy over.

Finish the Job: Use a strap or, in a pinch, a furniture pad to lift and carry that unruly mattress out to the truck.

Even if you’ve planned out your mattress pack, the customer might not even care enough to have their mattress wrapped or boxed up. But if they do, you’ll be ready – with all the mattress cartons and bags you’ll need. Right?


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