I need someone to measure a mattress for me, but he says he can't because he has nothing to measure it with. I'm currently about 800 miles away from him, so I can't just take the bull by the horns and drive over there to help.

Is there a trick I can suggest him to use, which does not involve any measuring tools? All I need to know is whether it's roughly 140, 160 or 180 cm wide. I don't need the measurement to be very precise.

  • 6
    While not a Lifehack, any household not owning a tape measure should go get one. Cheap ones are less than the price of a loaf of bread. Aug 19, 2015 at 15:25

4 Answers 4


You could compare it with the size of something that has a standard size. For example a CD/DVD is 120mm, so you could count how many times you can flip one over along an edge and get a rough measurement.

  • 7
    Instead of using a CD/DVD, I would suggest using something slightly larger. Maybe a piece of paper, and then get him to report that it is like 5 full lengths, and half the length of the chosen paper size.
    – holroy
    Aug 19, 2015 at 13:16
  • I believe the US military still uses a dollar bill for this. Currency is another good thought. Aug 21, 2015 at 17:54

If you really only need to distinguish between 140/160/180cm, just have your friend lay across the bed (with feet/head lined up to one side). Assuming you know (or he tells you) how tall he is, he can say something like "it's up to my shoulder/eyes/chest," and that's really all you need.


Have him get a piece of string, cut it so it's the width of the mattress, and mail it to you.


Get your friend to measure it in sheets of a toilet roll and tell you how many. For the accuracy you need, even the brand won't be important, but you can be doubly sure by buying the same brand where you are then measuring that length yourself using a tape measure.

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