Moving in London soon? Do your back a favour and move the easy way with Man with a Van.
We’ve seen our share of moving challenges over the years from run away wardrobes that decided to use the stairs as a ski slope, to humongous mattresses that got about as stuck as it’s possible to get in a tight internal stairway (and literally took hours to dislodge).
Moving a king or queen size mattress is a serious physical challenge for anybody, and you really need to take your time to calmly plan and think about what you’re doing before you just start humping it.
However, the guiding principle is.. tricky as it sometimes seems - if it got in there, there must be a way of getting it out! - unless the house or room was built around it.
So here are our tips on the best ways to move a king size mattress (disclaimer alert...please be aware this post is just intended as informal help based on our own experience as professional Movers, and we can’t be held responsible for any injuries or damage incurred as a result of the way any of the information below is interpreted or followed).
Moving a king size mattress by yourself
If you really can’t find anyone to help, and are determined to have a go at moving the mattress alone, then you need to be realistic. Unless you’re the incredible Hulk, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to move a bulky king size mattress very far, and certainly not up or downstairs safely.
But if all you're trying to do is move it to a different room on the same floor or even just turn it over, then it’s possible by using the basic principles of physics to assist you. That means handling it in a way that increases your leverage and finding a means to reduce the friction.
For example, don’t try and lift it straight off the bed frame and risk immediately putting your back out, just clear the area and pull or slide it far enough to one side of the bed so the edge of the mattress naturally starts falling to the floor and then you can just pivot the other edge up relatively easily.
If you need to drag it along a carpeted floor, one simple and effective way to achieve this is once you have the mattress up and resting on one narrow edge, place a large flat sheet of cardboard underneath it as a glide.
By doing so you greatly reduce the friction with the carpet and the mattress will slide along with satisfying ease, in a similar way that it would on a hardwood floor.
Two people will of course always be better as you can have one at each end to keep it upright, but it is doable alone in certain situations and you can often use the walls to support the mattress with a bit of skill and care.
Take measurements and clear the path
Depending on where it needs moving to, take the dimensions of the mattress and work out in advance how it is going to get past any corners, ceilings, doorways and walls etc.
If you’ve got assistance and are trying to get the mattress down or upstairs, you’ll also need to check the height clearance of the ceiling above the staircase and whether the mattress is going to be flexible enough to bend around the tight spots without a risk of getting stuck - because you really don’t want to go there if you can avoid it.
Don’t forget to remove any wall decorations and pictures along the route you will be taking. Also make sure any sharp picture hangings or screws are also removed to avoid tearing the mattress fabric. Clear all other furniture out of the way as much as possible.
And if you bought a mattress cover in advance, which you really need to do if the mattress is going into the back of a dusty removal van, then now is a good time to put it on.
Can you fold a mattress in half?
The truth is it depends. Many manufacturers strongly advise against folding a mattress in half and with some types, such as a pocket sprung mattress, you will likely damage the coils.
Also some mattresses are just so heavy and cumbersome with the largest super king size weighing in at up to 80 kgs, there’s just no way they’re ever going to be bent in half.
Some of the less dense memory foam mattresses can be bent in half or ideally rolled up, although it’s never going to be as tight as it came when it would have been machine rolled in the factory and vacuum packed.
However, if the mattress is rollable or bendable, then by using a few simple ratchet straps from your local hardware shop, you should be able to get it down to a more manageable size and as a bonus you can also use the straps as handles to lift with. Rolling the mattress is better than bending it in half and is less likely to cause any damage.
But even with memory foam, you really need to check with the manufacturer, as with some high density multi-layer memory foam mattresses you risk pulling apart the different layers of foam, so you need to be careful not to void the warranty.
Often the advice is depending on the thickness some mattresses can be bent or folded temporarily for moving purposes - and if they’re not the rigid edged type of non flexible mattress, then there is usually enough flexibility to bend it around the tight spots anyway without the need to completely bend it in half or roll it up.
Moving a mattress upstairs
First of all, clear everything off the walls, all pictures, ornaments and anything else that could get in the way or be damaged.
If you’re going up stairs, you will need several helpers, the more the better but at least one at the top and two strong ones at the bottom end who will be providing the main upward propulsion. Assuming you have checked measurements etc and are confident you have enough space, working as a team lift the mattress up off the floor in one clean go and let everyone feel the weight and get accustomed with it.
Now in a controlled way with good communication take it up as far as you can - it helps to have an extra pair of hands here to bend the corners around any tight spots while the others are doing the lifting. Once it starts to feel like you’re in a tight spot, rather than force it let it rest in place and everyone take a short breather to evaluate the next step.
Then once you’re all ready again, gently lift and go for small incremental advances without forcing too much. Use whatever flexibility the mattress has to gently bend where needed and keep the upward momentum and support coming from the lifters at the bottom. That’s pretty much all there is to it. If you feel it’s getting stuck, rest and re-evaluate before proceeding. If it really gets stuck going upstairs it will usually be fairly easy to dislodge and take back down - to reconsider if necessary.
Moving a mattress down stairs
Getting a big heavy mattress down stairs is always going to be physically easier than upstairs, simply because you have gravity working in your favour. Trouble is it can also go badly wrong more easily too, and we strongly suggest not trying it on your own.
Unless it’s an unusually wide stairwell, there’s usually a much greater risk of the mattress getting stuck when moving it downstairs because it will lodge itself in much more firmly under it's own weight. So think hard before you attempt it and consider what your exit strategy is going to be if the worst happens.
Essentially moving a mattress downstairs is the same as the above but in reverse. Again the helpers at the bottom will be taking most of the weight, but also at the same time will be using what flexibility the mattress has to maneuver it around the tight spots.
The trick is to use the weight of the mattress and gravity to assist, while simultaneously keeping control of the support at the bottom and steering it so the mattress doesn’t become wedged in anywhere under its own weight. There’s actually an art to it and if you get it right it’s surprisingly satisfying.
Keep in mind if it does get stuck the helpers at the top may not be able to actually get down stairs past the mattress to help dislodge it, so make sure you have enough muscle power down there at all times or you may need to end up calling for more help.
Can you move a full fish tank?
No, we wouldn’t advise it under any circumstances; a fragile glass box filled with liquid is a disaster waiting to happen in a moving vehicle.
If you need to move a large aquarium, we would recommend relocating your fish and plants to a smaller vessel for the short term. You should then empty the aquarium and give it a good clean and protect it with lots of bubble wrap and blankets so it can be safely transported.
If you’re hiring a Mover you will usually need a 2-man team to move an average size fish tank as the thick glass can make them exceedingly heavy. All of our Man and Van teams have access to moving blankets and restraints and they will know the best way to move and transport your aquarium safely.
How do you transport a large mirror?
Moving a big mirror needs to be done very carefully indeed, obviously to avoid damage and also for personal safety reasons. Thick rigger gloves and strong footwear, ideally with steel toe caps, are a good idea. You get the picture.. It's a serious job with the largest of mirrors.
As with moving a king size mattress, you need to plan how you’re going to do it and the route you will take, making sure doors are propped open and the path is clear of any obstructions.
Assuming it’s going in a vehicle to be transported, then prepare exactly where you will put it in advance with several layers of soft blankets along one side of the van to cushion any impact during the journey.
Once ready make sure the lifters communicate well and carry it vertically. Never carry a mirror horizontally otherwise it will likely flex and break. If it’s a heavy one, let each other know if you need a rest before you get desperate so it can be put down safely.
Place the mirror inside the van up against one side on the blankets you’ve already prepared. If the van has a ply lined interior, ensure there is nothing protruding that could break the glass and face the glass side towards the wall of the vehicle with further blankets draped over from the top to provide a protective layer between the glass and the side of the van.
Once that is done, use ratchet straps to secure the mirror to the side and then if it is part of a larger move fill the rest of the space behind the mirror with boxes and other furniture to provide extra support in transit. And apart from driving carefully that’s pretty much it.
As long as it is well cushioned, secure and standing upright, it should survive the journey. If it’s an expensive antique you may need to look for a specialist Mover with the necessary insurance, in the same way you would to move a piano.
How to pack a large TV for moving
The best way to pack your TV ready for moving is to use the original box it came in as it will be the perfect size with plenty of styrofoam to protect it - so ideally use that if you still have it.
However, when buying a new TV most people are understandably more concerned with getting it up and running rather than saving the box.
So if you’ve discarded the packaging, the next best thing to use is a combination of bubble wrap and moving blankets which will provide the best possible coverage for your TV.
Apart from that, the key to avoiding any damage is carrying it carefully and placing it in the van surrounded by soft but sturdy cardboard boxes to stop it moving around.
Nearly everyone has a TV and your Mover will be keeping an eye on the best place to put it as they load the van with the rest of your belongings.
As you’ve hopefully gathered by now, we’ve seen our fair share of moving challenges over the years. So if you have a unique, awkward or extremely heavy item that you’re worried about moving, relax. Chances are, our Movers have encountered something like it before and will be able to work with you to find the perfect solution.