You may need to store a mattress for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re moving from a home with a guest room to one without, or your child has gone off to college and you want to convert their bedroom into an office. No matter the reason, it’s good to know the proper way to put that mattress up for a period of time. Here’s what you need to know.

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Can you store a mattress upright?

Typically, yes, says Noah Duarte, training manager at Gentle Giant Moving Company. But that varies based on how you’re storing it, where, and what type of mattress it is. “In an ideal world, if the mattress is primarily made of natural latex or memory foam and it will be stored for a prolonged period, you would like to store it flat,” Duarte says.

He does note though that this can present a problem for people who have cost or space restrictions. In that case, you can store the mattress upright or on its side, as long as it has enough additional support to keep it upright.

“Not having enough structure around it can cause the mattress to sag and buckle,” Duarte says.

For a mattress with air bladders (like a Sleep Number bed), take it apart and store it in pieces. Otherwise the components inside will shift and you’ll need to readjust everything before setting the bed up after storage. As for a traditional coil mattress, that “can safely be stored on its side with minimal concern for damage,” Duarte says.

Do you need to wrap a mattress for storage?

If you’re just storing your mattress for a short time — like a couple days, maybe — then wrapping it may not be necessary. But overall, wrapping your mattress for storage is always a good idea. “It will keep dust and dirt from getting on your mattress but will allow any off-gassing to not get trapped,” Duarte says, noting that mattress bags are the best option. Home Depot has a decent selection; check by the moving products.

How do you store a boxed mattress?

If your boxed mattress — one that’s compressed, air-sealed, rolled, and placed into a box — is brand new and still in the box, you can store it as-is for a few months. Any longer than that, and you’ll want to unroll it so the foam layers don’t get damaged. If it’s already been unrolled, store it the way you would any other mattress: ideally flat but upright with support if necessary.

How long can you store a mattress?

The short answer here is that it depends. If the mattress is protected and laid flat with nothing on it, it should be fine in storage for several years. For a mattress stored upright with full side supports, try to keep it under a year. Otherwise, the inside could settle and you’ll end up with a bed full of lumps. For mattresses that are vacuum-sealed and rolled, the storage time is typically a few months. Be sure to check with the manufacturer, though, to see what they recommend, Duarte says. You don’t want to damage the mattress or void its warranty.

What are the optimal mattress storage conditions?

The best place to store your mattress is someplace dry and insulated from any outside critters. “A barn can be dry, but allows the possibilities of an animal finding a new home,” Duarte says. Consider something like a climate-controlled storage unit or in a storage space in your home that doesn’t have huge temperature fluctuations.