One of the largest and most difficult pieces of furniture to move in (or out) of any home is your bed. Large wooden frames can be incredibly heavy and bulky to transport. Mattresses may need an extra layer of protection to keep them from getting wet or damaged on the road. And heirlooms might even require careful planning, consideration, and extra insurance.

No matter what kind of bed you and your family have, here is a quick and easy guide to protection and packing.

> Prep the bed. Before you pack up any bed, you’ll want to remove all the sheets, bedding, and pillows, and (if needed) empty out any built-in drawers. You might also choose to deep-clean your mattress at this time and/or let it air out before you move it. Working with a clean blank slate is always best.

> Take apart the headboard and frame. Although you can move a bed intact, it’s almost always going to be easier for you to break down the frame, headboard, and footboard before you move. Not only will this ensure you don’t damage the structural integrity of the bed during the moving process, but you can individually wrap and protect each piece. Keep all the hardware in a separate bag and use bubble wrap, blankets, or large moving pads to wrap each piece.

> Determine your mattress type. There are a many different types of mattresses, including innerspring, memory foam, pillow tops, and even waterbeds. Different types of mattress bags and boxes exist for each type, so check with your moving company or a packing supply store to make sure you get the right kind. Innerspring mattresses tend to move easiest in a plastic bag that protects them from the elements, while memory foam might require a sturdier box that will prevent the layers from tearing or separating during transit.

> Make plans for beds with mechanical/electronic components. Many of the more modern types of beds (including Sleep Number beds or home care beds) come with complicated wiring and electronics. These will need to be disassembled before you move them, including unplugging/disconnecting them from their electrical components. Sleep Number beds can be fully broken down (including the frame) and moved that way, but hospital-style beds may need to be moved in one full piece. As they tend to be very heavy, however, you may wish to have professional movers handle it for you.