How to Move a Mattress With a Small Car: Detailed Guide


It is amazing how simple it can be to move a mattress with a small car. It is more amazing at the stupid things people think will work and end in epic failure. Learn which will make you look smart so you don’t end up being laughed at, or worse hurt someone.

To move a mattress with a small car empty it if moving it inside of the car, roll up the mattress if you received it in a box when you bought it. Put the back seats down and shove it in. Or tie on the roof from the front to back and side to side through the windows with rope, string, or straps.

Prepare the Car

Remove all the junk and crap from your car that may prevent the mattress from fitting in or puncture it. You don’t want to arrive at your destination with a damaged bed.

If you have a queen or king bed you likely need to have a hatchback or decent size access opening from the trunk to the back seat area. Fold the back seats down and move the front seats as far forward as you can. If you are the only person that will be in the car you can either fold the front passenger seat down or fold it back and as flat as possible.

You will need at least 60” for a queen and 76” for a queen so measure from the trunk to the front seat (an beyond the front seat if you are driving solo).

If you are moving a twin or full-size mattress you can simply toss it into the back seat if you have 36” (for twin) and 54” (for full) space between the doors.

This is me moving a mattress on a small motorycle in Thailand haha.
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How to Roll Up a Mattress

You can easily roll up a mattress if yours is primarily made with memory foam or coils that was shipped to you in a box. This method is much easier if you have, or can purchase, a mattress bag and use a shop-vac or vacuum cleaner to suck the air out of the bag and mattress.

Follow the below steps:

  1. Remove the bedding.
  2. Clear a space on the floor in the bedroom or another room to lay the mattress flat.
  3. Bribe a spouse or friend to help.
  4. Each of you holds an end of the opening in the mattress bag.
  5. Slide the bottom of the bag under the mattress and continue working the bag along.
  6. Once you and your helper can reach the last edge of the mattress grab it and slide it the rest of the way into the bag.
  7. Seal the bag. If you are using a desiccant to absorb moisture do this before sealing.
  8. Open the seal just enough to fit your vacuum cleaner nozzle into the bag.
  9. Turn the vacuum cleaner on and clasp your hands around the bag and nozzle to help seal air gaps.
  10. Roll the mattress front one of the long ends so the overall length of mattress roll will be shorter this way and fit in a small car much more easily.
  11. Use packing, duct, or electrical tape to maintain the shape of the rolled mattress.

TIP: Ask your helper to walk around on the mattress to help remove the air. This will reduce the size of for a better fit into small cars.

You can watch the process at the below videos. This first video uses a specific bag from Vacuflat.

TIP: You can get a mattress bag for only $12 delivered to your door!

In the below video the guy manages to do this task alone using two ventilated bags from Home Depot. He did not notice that they were ventilated so he installed them opposite each other and it worked.

The video below shows the compressed full-size mattress fitting into the back seat of a 2001 Buick sedan.

OPTION: Tie Mattress to Roof of Small Car

This guy obviously delivers mattresses out of his “warehouse” (self-storage) but it is an interesting video. He tosses two mattresses (no box spring) on top of his BMW and uses string, yes, string. He uses four pieces of string for more strength and it is a good idea as it is strong and yet thin to fit between door and truck seals.

He also uses a cool method for tying them on from the front to the back and through the trunk. This is the best of the many videos that I have watched as the load is safe and secure. Kudos. Watch this video.

In the below video the guy has the box spring on the roof and a mattress on top of this. Which is stupid. When the mattress is on the roof the box springs solid frame can pin the mattress in place so it doesn’t catch air and flip up in the front. But he redeemed himself with this unique solution that seemed to work.

How NOT to Move a Mattress with a Small Car!

Don’t abuse your helper too much and make him ride in the very back like Daniel is in the video.

I think I found the winner of the idiots. A sedan and a mattress and box spring on the roof, and a woman on top of that, and a guy sitting on the window ledge out of the passenger side door holding the load on the roof. Wow, just wow.

This is what happens when you don’t know how to tie down the load on the roof.

TIP: Buy 4 cargo straps for $22 to make your life easier and safer!

More tips in my article here on how to tie down a mattress to a car and not have it blow away like a kite.

Scott Boyd

A semi-retired workaholic in Thailand is a challenge. It is too hot to keep building adobe and earthbag buildings so a new project was needed. I became interested in bed frames after purchasing a bamboo bed frame from a local supplier here and I learned there is little information about them on the Internet. So now I spend my days researching, testing, and reporting my findings to help others while having an occasional beer and istening to 60s and 70s B side rock, blues, and much more.

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