Wanting to give some king-sized comfort...any takers?
October 17, 2005 3:09 PM   Subscribe

We have a king-sized mattress that wouldn't fit up the stairs in our new "old house". We've come to terms with the fact that we'll have to donate it and follow another plan. Which not-for-profit should we offer this to?

It's a nice mattress...one of the most comfortable I've ever slept on. It doesn't require a box spring and is pretty high end (from Room & Board). It is 4 years old and I don't want to go through hoops to sell it. I'd rather donate it and have the whole process handled efficiently.

We live in Chicago and I found out today that AmVets only takes full-size and twins. Goodwill doesn't pick-up. I'm still trying to reach Salvation Army. Who WOULD take a king-sized mattress? I really have no idea. Throwing it away would be a terrible, awful waste so I'd rather not do that...
posted by jeanmari to Society & Culture (13 answers total)
Habitat for Humanity? If you can donate a frame as well, you are golden.
posted by jmgorman at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2005

Best answer: there are battered/abused women's shelters that would love it. they often have whole families in one room, and could use big beds.
posted by amberglow at 3:13 PM on October 17, 2005

Best answer: Salvation Army will take it; not sure if they pick up. The Brown Elephant (a thrift store benefitting an AIDS charity, main location in Boystown and others in Wicker Park and Andersonville) also takes mattresses but, again, not sure if they pick up.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 3:15 PM on October 17, 2005

Deparment stores that pick up the old mattress when they deliver the new will also handle the donation (if it's in good condition) or recycling (if it ain't.)
posted by firstdrop at 3:21 PM on October 17, 2005

Before you do this--have you tried taking out an upstairs window and pulling up the mattress with a rope? With most older windows you can take out both the top and bottom sash by removing two pieces of trim. This is what we did in our house.
posted by LarryC at 3:24 PM on October 17, 2005

there's always freecycle or the free section of chicago craigslist. certainly someone would be willing to take it. i suspect that there'd be enough interest that you could afford to be picky about giving it to someone needy enough to give you that warm-and-fuzzy feeling.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:28 PM on October 17, 2005

Have you tried wrapping the mattress in plastic leaving a space for a vacuum nozzle on suck. May make it thin enough for that second fold that gets through the space.
posted by desert_roamer at 3:32 PM on October 17, 2005

A mild cautionary note if you decide to donate... Dunno about Chicago, but there are often local laws against how used mattresses can be redistributed or resold -- which has the effect of keeping most charities away from even accepting them. (Though, apparently, not the AmVets of which you speak.)
posted by skyboy at 3:39 PM on October 17, 2005

Best answer: jm - Frequent reader (and occasional commenter) to your blog... /me waves

We have a local charity called St. Vincent de Pauli that picks up used mattresses.
If you can't donate it to a 503(c) to get the tax benefits, just throw an ad up on chicago.Craigslist.org and you'll have a lot of people willing to take it off of your hands without any complexity.
posted by SpecialK at 4:14 PM on October 17, 2005

Response by poster: These are all GREAT ideas. Thanks everyone.

We looked into removing some windows (too small and the infrastructure of the dormer wouldn't support taking out the divider between two or move windows) and widening the staircase (too expensive). We already bought a memory foam mattress which could be folded up like an origami crane and not be damaged. It didn't need a box spring and it is pretty delightful. But I really LOVED my Simmons Beautyrest "No Disturb" mattress. (sigh) And it is in really good condition. Because of the heavy wire frame around the edge of the original mattress, too much folding would have caused it to be bent and damaged. Bummer.

So, the next best thing is to get it to someone who could use a REALLY fabulous night's sleep. We always had hand-me-down, lumpy mattresses when I was growing up. They were horrible. And I have a sleep disorder to boot. So I didn't know what I was missing until I got a really great mattress. Now that we are in the position to be able to afford to do at least this one small thing, I want to share the mattress love.

(p.s. Hi SpecialK! We also have big SpecialK love here at HouseInProgress.)
posted by jeanmari at 6:34 PM on October 17, 2005

Response by poster: (jmgorman...I didn't mean to skip over your suggestion about Habitat. I've worked with them in Chicago and in another country on builds. Here in Chicago, they have a difficult time handling the logistics for accepting/distributing donations other than money, tools and time. Love HFH, great organization. I've learned a lot from them over the years about working on houses.)
posted by jeanmari at 6:39 PM on October 17, 2005

Hopefully this is related enough to be on topic, though it won't help you...

Moving a box spring up or down a tight stairway: if it will not fit, not because it is simply too big, but because it won't bend to turn a corner like a mattress will, grab a saw. Cut the wood frame of the springs, in the middle of both of the long sides, all the way through (the full height of the frame). (This will also involve cutting the fabric covering the frame.) This allows the entire piece to be bent or even folded completely in half, often allowing for maneuvering not possible with an intact box. When the whole bed is properly reassembled, with frame, box spring, and mattress, no structural integrity is lost, and the use of a dust ruffle (or equivalent) will serve to hide the "damage" done to the box spring.

Of course you may not wish to take such extreme measures on an expensive box spring; measure first to be sure this will actually help you; etc etc.
posted by attercoppe at 8:20 PM on October 17, 2005

You may also want to check with the Red Cross to see if they have a list of people who have permanently relocated to the Chicago area after Hurricane Katrina and are in need of home furnishings.

I know Fourth Congregational Church in my neighborhood held a furniture drive last month for a family that moved here and needed beds, among other things, for their children.

They are holding a fundraiser this Saturday for other families who have relocated to the neighborhood. You may want to call the pastor there to see if beds are still needed.

Fourth Congregational Church
2625 N. Talman
(773) 486-1184
Rev. Dan Wood
posted by Sully6 at 8:28 AM on October 18, 2005

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