How to Get Rid of a Bed You No Longer Need

Rose Morrison

Jan 4, 2021

a bed to get rid of

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Is it time for your old mattress to take a permanent nap? They don’t last forever and cause multiple problems if they’re around a decade old. You might wake up with back pain every morning or struggle to find a comfortable position to fall asleep.

This guide explains how to get rid of a bed you no longer need, even if you have a small car or live alone.

Getting rid of a bed might feel like a hassle. The trouble often extends beyond how to maneuver the bulky thing down your stairs or fit it in your car. Most jurisdictions also won’t let you dump your old bed on the curb. So what can you do?

You have a few options for responsible disposal no matter where you live. The best method for you depends on your available resources.

1. Take It to a Recycling Center

a stack of dirty mattresses on a truck bed

More people than ever before are concerned about global warming and pollution. From 2013 to 2018, concern about climate change rose 16 points amongst Americans, indicating that more recycling options should be available. Now you can find massive recycling plants in most communities and drop off everything from soda bottles to plywood.

The last thing you want is for your mattress to end up in a landfill. Recycling would be the perfect alternative to letting it decay slowly over the decades. However, you might not find one close by.

The U.S. only has 56 mattress recycling centers because it’s challenging to gather the necessary equipment to handle such bulky items. You’ll likely have to drive your mattress to a recycling plant, so check up on a few details before leaving home.

After renting a truck from your local hardware store or borrowing one from a friend, call the recycling plant to ensure they will accept mattresses. Ask if they recycle the size of your mattress or if it’s too big for their equipment.

Don’t throw up your hands if the closest location doesn’t accept your donations. Many mattress manufacturers now handle recycling in-house, and you can contact the company that made your products to return them for parts. It depends on where you bought your mattress and how long you’ve had it. Older mattresses will have worn-down pieces that retailers may not bother to recycle.

Another idea — place an ad on the free section of a local site, like Craigslist. That way, people who can use your old bed for new purposes can come and collect it. It won’t turn your mattress into a recycled product, but it will help someone out who can’t afford one otherwise.

2. Break It Down for Usable Parts

assorted carpentry tools on a wooden workbench

One clever way to get rid of a bed you no longer need is to reuse its most valuable components. Depending on the brand, you might have tons of usable materials in your mattress. You could have fiber, wood, metal and more.

To start the breakdown process, remove the plastic pieces that many manufacturers use to reinforce the corners. Then, cut and tear away the dust cover to get to the materials underneath. 

Remember essential safety tips before starting any work, like wearing protective eyeglasses and staying aware of where you place any sharp objects. Kids and pets should stay away as well because they may injure themselves or choke on small pieces.

Once you disassemble it, you can decide what to do with the components. If you’re crafty, you might already have visions of delighting your grandkids with new stuffed toys. You can usually find people to buy scrap metals, such as the springs, and many recycling centers will accept them. You might also repurpose the wooden frame to build a birdhouse or painted garden stakes to mark your various plants.

3. Sell It Online

a woman in a mustard sweater typing on a laptop

If your mattress still offers support and is free from pesky bedbugs and embarrassing stains, why not sell it for cash? If you bought yours straight from a name-brand retailer, you know how expensive it is to find a good mattress. Price often prevents people from sleeping comfortably, like young people moving into their own place for the first time.

You can use online sites like Mercari to make the exchange a snap without an awkward meetup. Granted, you will have to add a considerable fee for shipping if you go that route, so that could narrow down the field of potential buyers.

People also find local buyers on sites like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace. Both places organize listings by your location. The neighbor down the street could walk over with a friend and take your mattress off your hands. Driving it across town also reduces your shipping fees, but you could request gas money in the cost for your mattress.

When you create your online listing, take a quality photo of your mattress or your entire frame if you are parting with the whole kit. Remove any stuffed animals or unnecessary clutter from the picture to highlight the bed only. It’s okay to leave a pile of artistically arranged pillows so would-be purchasers can imagine sinking into comfort.

4. Donate It to Charity

two hands holding a black paper cut-out heart

Many people donate their old mattresses to charity. As with a sale, you want your goods free from unsightly damage and stains. They won’t fetch a price, but it’s rude to give something unusable or disgusting to those in need. Organizations accept gently used goods but reserve the right to reject donations they can’t use.

Health and sanitation laws prohibit some organizations, like Goodwill, from taking donated mattresses because they don’t have the equipment to prepare them for reuse. However, Habitat for Humanity and the National Furniture Bank Association will take these goods. Call before you make the trip to confirm whether your chosen organization accepts mattresses.

5. Host a Yard Sale

two people going through records at a yard sale

Sell your mattress the old-fashioned way by hosting a yard sale. Use the opportunity to deep-clean your home and get rid of anything you no longer use, alongside your mattress. You’ll make a nice profit that will help pay for a replacement or even let you splurge on a comforter set.

Keep in mind that people go to yard sales for significant discounts. Writing the full price of your mattress on a sticker will turn people away. You’ll have to slash the original price by a substantial amount to interest buyers, who will likely negotiate the price lower anyway.

Yard sales are a great way to get rid of a bed you no longer need because buyers come to you. They’ll already have a truck or trailer ready to haul things back. If they don’t, they probably live nearby and can return later with a sizable vehicle if they give you a deposit to secure their purchase. There’s no technology involved and you don’t have to ship anything.

6. Send It Back

a stack of multiple cardboard boxes against a brown wall

Most companies won’t take a product back after purchase unless you’re returning it with the original tags. Your mattress won’t have a tag, but you may still be able to send it back. Read the tag’s labeling to find which manufacturer made or sold it. Look up their website or place a quick call to their customer service line to ask if they take back old mattresses.

There are a few reasons for manufacturers to accept old mattresses. They could offer a discount if you buy a new replacement right after donating. They’ll want to keep your business and earn a positive review that pulls in new customers.

Companies also get a tax credit for recycling whatever products they get back. You’ll prevent more landfill pollution from harming the atmosphere or local environment while the company makes an extra dollar. It’s a good situation for everyone involved.

The only thing to be aware of is that you’ll likely have to take your mattress to their specified location. People with small cars may have to rent a truck, which adds a fee just to replace your mattress. Depending on how far you have to drive and which vehicle you can use, sending it back to the manufacturer could be a great way to get rid of it.

7. Throw It Out

a mountain of random things in a dump

You might not have much luck with any of these options for several reasons. Rural communities might not have neighbors close to each other. The distance makes it difficult for people to stop by your yard sale or find your digital listing. The retailer might not take the mattress back or you could lack a vehicle to take it anywhere.

When all else fails, waste disposal companies will pick up your old mattress for a fee. They already own garbage trucks, so they’ll come to wherever you live. They may dump the mattress in a landfill, but you’ll still get it out of your house when there are no alternatives.

Call a few disposal companies to compare their quotes. They may only charge a flat rate for your singular item, but they could increase their fee if they already plan to pick up waste from your neighbors and won’t have much room in their truck. 

Schedule your pickup and pay when they get there to finally get rid of your old mattress. It’s a reliable solution for many people and should be something you consider while weighing your options.

Get Rid of Your Old Bed Responsibly

If you have an old bed, you can’t cart it to the curb with the rest of your garbage in many areas. Get rid of your bed responsibly and sustainably by using the tips above. Whether you decide to return the mattress, sell it, or recycle it, you’ll find the best solution for your specific needs.

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