How To Donate or Get Rid Of A Bed Or Mattress

old mattress with a stain

Everyone everywhere has to sleep: rich, poor, young, old, tall, and short.

Since charities help people of all types, many will take your used mattresses, bed, or other furniture donation.

A low-cost or free mattress or bed can help someone of modest means stretch their dollar. Or it can help a homeless shelter or another kind of shelter serve another client. While that’s always important, it’s especially important right now in these times, that have challenged a lot of people. Depending on the size and make, a bed can set someone back $500 or more.

Before you give away your old mattress, there are a few things to do and think about so that it does the most good.

Think of it as a volunteer project on your part. An hour or two from you can multiply the good that you can do and keep a bulky item out of the landfill.

1. Take a good look at the mattress and bed.

Is your old bed concave? Is it giving you back pain? Is it smelly and badly stained? Is it bedbug infested?

If it’s broken down in the middle, it would cause problems for someone else, too.

If it’s smelly and stained, can it be freshened up?

Bedbugs can be killed by sealing them in plastic and leaving it out in the sun. Nevertheless, chances are nobody wants a bedbug-infested mattress anyway.

Don’t bother calling a charity or thrift store truck. They’ve got other donations to pick up, other things to do. Broken, unusable beds belong in the dump.

On the other hand, sometimes the mattress is okay, and the box spring is broken. Sometimes only part of the mattress is broken down.

If that’s so, donate the part that’s in good condition. The charity may be able to put it together with another bed part, or the cushioned part can be placed on a floor somewhere. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor isn’t so bad for many people.

If it truly is trash and you don’t have a way to get it to the dump quickly, see if or when your community has a large-item pickup and follow the local guidelines.

2. Make sure the intended charity takes beds

Not all of them do.

While useful, some thrift stores are limited in space, others don’t get involved in providing beds to people.

It saves everyone a lot of time if you find out first.

In certain metro areas, you can check Donation Town to see if there are charitable organizations in your area that will accept your bed.

If you live in California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Oregon, you can contact Bye Bye Mattress, a program that recycles mattresses.

Following links from Donation Town after you enter your zip code, consult the individual charity’s webpage to see what items they do or don’t take.

If either of these outlets doesn’t serve your area, you can also try contacting a local church. They might know of a family who needs a bed or free furniture, and they might be able to tell you where to drop it off, or know of someone with a truck who can do it.

A little legwork can help you put the bed to good use in a new home or homeless shelter!

3. Save the paperwork

While you can’t take a federal tax deduction anymore for donating beds, you may be able to take a state tax deduction. Make sure to save your donation receipt in case you can benefit from it around tax time.

For further reading:

Do I need a new bed?

How to choose and buy an excellent mattress for less money.


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.


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