My Domestic Experiment

I have been yelling for years about how making the bed was a complete waste of time. This is something that I believed deeply. I am a busy person and it seemed like a fool’s errand. You get out of bed, make it all nice, then wreck it up again every night?

Redundant. Redundant.

So I don’t make my bed.

Ever.

Well, I used to make it sometimes when my in-laws came to stay at our house, but now they live near us.  I do sometimes make it when I put on clean sheets, but that is totally different.

When I was on the airplane two weeks ago (and I actually wrote a post about this then deleted it or something because the airline I was flying didn’t have wifi, but they did have beer, and I must have not saved the word doc or something) I was wondering why people made the bed at all.

When I was in my early 20s I had an office mate that was redoing our entire filing system. She would take things out one drawer at a time, then organize that drawer. She did this with all of the drawers then after that she would merge two drawers together and so on until she had the whole thing done – four weeks later. I asked why she didn’t just take it all out and alphabetize the whole shebang all at once. She said she had a system. I said her system was a lot of busy work.

That girl made her bed every morning.

Busy work, right?

But no, it couldn’t be. Why would everyone do it? It can’t just be about tidiness. Can it?

I decided I would do an experiment. I would make my bed every day in February (the shortest month) and see what all of the fuss what about.

Of course, I figured I would forget by the time February actually rolled around, but by some sort of miracle I remembered, and on February 1st, I made my bed.

This is not my bed. 1) Like I have decorative pillows. 2) There is still a bunch of stuff under my bed and 3) No dirty laundry.

And it wasn’t so bad.

I am currently on day seven of making the bed and I think I am starting to get it. First of all, if you do it every day the sheets don’t get all crazy and making the bed it way easier than if you don’t do it for say, 25 years.

Second, it makes my whole room look bigger and the tidiness thing is more that tightassery. A clean house is sort of Zen. I can concentrate better. My house seems bigger and it is easier to focus on other things.

Third, it really is nice to get into a freshly made bed every night and I think I impressed my husband.

I think I might actually dig this bed making thing. Not the making of it itself, but the it being made part.

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Ta-da!

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  1. I once read online (YEARS ago) that it takes 21 days to make a habit. I thought to test this, I would make my bed every day for 21 days and see if it sticks.

    Like 8 years later, I’m still making my bed every day. And it bothers me when it isn’t made.

    Now if I could make going to the gym a habit!

  2. I had a lot of company over Christmnas this year; for a week there were nine people in a house that is usually gome to three. Because I believe in pretending to be a much better housekeeper than I am, not only did I clean the bathroom every day (well….I kinda HAD to do that. Nine people.) I made my bed the whole time and now I will never go back to my un-made ways.

    Turns out my bed is really pretty, who knew?

  3. My husband and I are both pretty firmly in the “making the bed is just silly” camp. And yet, on the rare occasion that I do it, I kind of get it.

    I’m a pretty terrible housekeeper. Oh, I won’t be on Hoarders and there aren’t bugs flying around or anything. It’s just always kinda messy, kinda cluttered. I’ve been thinking about jumping on the FlyLady bandwagon and seeing if I can whip myself into shape.

    Not sure exactly when I plan to do this with the imminent arrival of a newborn, but it’s a good dream…

  4. I’m of the “make the bed every day” camp BUT I’m also lazy AND I can’t stand a top sheet. So I use a duvet cover (I have multiple) and change it as often as I change my fitted sheet. This way I get to have a quickly made bed (satisfies both the “bed should be made” and “super lazy” parts of me) and I don’t have to fight a top sheet. WIN WIN.

    Your former office mate’s system sounds hilarious and a waste of time. I wonder if she works in my office now? (we have one of those)

  5. My mother always made us make our beds. Every single freaking day. She loves it though. Me? I could care less. I don’t see my room unless I’m sleeping.

  6. I never make my bed. I never make my kids beds either unless it’s right after changing the sheets. It’s such a waste of time. There’s so much other housework that I SHOULD be doing that I avoid that I can’t even bother to try getting into the bed making habit.

  7. My husband and I have to make our bed and the kids’ beds everyday or I just feel…ooky. Almost like staying in my pajamas past noon (which is my personal cut-off point for jammies. I can go right into other lounge wear but jammies…no). Anyway, it’s gotta be a psychological thing but it makes the rooms look bigger (smallish townhouse) and even if nothing else has been picked up, the rooms look neater.

    Full disclosure: my husband makes the bed every day but if I had second shower, I would so that counts. Right?

  8. zomg!! I did the same experiment last year and pretty much realized the same thing. That the 15 seconds it took me to throw the covers up and pull the tight, toss some pillows on was SO WORTH IT when it made me smile every time I walked into the damn room. Part of me is annoyed by the whole thing. ha.

  9. Except when I change the sheets, I have not, do not, and never will make the bed.

    Part of this is because my husband ALWAYS gets up several hours after I do, and immediately after he gets up, my son goes down for his nap in the bed.

    But I have been a non-bed-maker since I had a bed of my own to make. I folded underwear before making the damn bed as a teenager.

    Huh… didn’t know I felt so strongly about the whole thing…

  10. I love when someone makes my bed for me, but given that I’m lucky to get to work on time, ever? Will never happen. And by the time I retire I’ll be too arthritic. But maybe that’s because I don’t look at it all day and by the time I come home I’m too tired to care? Probably. Eh…Also I’ve always had a huge comforter that I just throw over top of everything anyway and it makes it seem made.

    I can’t believe I just thought that much about making a bed. I need a drink.

  11. Yeah, I was totally in the “fucking waste of my time camp” until my husband said we should just try making the bed every day. And we did. And it was so easy in relation to how…clean…it made our bedroom feel. So I do it every single day now, without issue, because it is a simple thing I can do to make my life feel less dirty. And you know how dirty my life is.

  12. smart aleck says:

    I fight a battle with this one. I had to make my bed daily as a kid, then there have been times when houses were on the market so the bed HAD to be made.

    Now I go nuts when I know someone is going to see it, but other times it seems like when I have made an effort to make the bed, someone decides he has to take a nap immediately (and during the week he sleeps an extra half an hour more than me). That gets the seriously? reaction out of me, just like piling dishes in the recently scrubbed sink.

    It almost feels like the dog peed on the newly mopped floor.

    So, you have inspired me, but on the next day I have off and he doesn’t–I will feel like a neater person and he can’t mess it up.
    At least for 7 hours.

  13. When I was little, my mom told me spiders would get in my bed unless I made it. I have made my bed pretty much every day since.

    Coincidence?

  14. I make my bed every day. Every day! I love getting into a pretty bed at the end of a long day.

    I am the “let it air out” sort of bed maker – I make my bed after my shower, to give the sheets some airing out. You wanna talk controversy? Try to talk to about bed making with someone who makes their bed immediately after they get out of it. :-)

  15. And we lose yet another person to adulthood.

    My bed consists of a fitted sheet and two comforters (I don’t share very well, so we had to get my husband his own blanket.) I don’t even make that.

    Do your kids make their beds?

  16. My Hubby laughs at me…often. If (and that’s a big IF)my bed gets made, it’s usually right before bedtime. I know…I know…crazy.

  17. Like Lori, I use a duvet (and cover) and no top sheet. So I just have to shake it out to “make” the bed. But I rarely even do that – except when I want a sort of flat surface for sorting laundry.

  18. I have to make the bed, well, pull the sheets, blankets and comforter up over the pillows everyday or else I would come home to pillows covered in cat hair. Apparently the pillows on my bed are THE BEST spot for the cats to sleep, even though our bedroom is the coldest room in the house. Also, prior to getting married I was not a bed maker other then on laundry day. What is the point? I am just going to mess it up again tonight. 😉

  19. NOOOOO!
    My hubby and I decided when we moved in together that we would never make the bed. 8 years later, not a day has gone by with us making the bed.
    I’m always so happy to hear of others who do the same, and now you’re gone…sad!

  20. Here is my trick. I don’t have sheets. We just sleep under a comforter. Makes it MUCH easier to make the bed.

    Sometimes.

  21. I LOVE the way a made bed looks. I HATE making the bed. Conundrum.

  22. I was never much of a bed maker before the kids came along…maternity leave was my only stay at home mom experience…so I started making the bed every morning and sweeping the kitchen floor (almost) every night before bed. These two tasks make me feel like I have some semblance of control of my household…which is so untrue…the kids rule :)

  23. shoot, i was hoping you’d say making beds was not worth it. but you’re right, the few times that i did make our beds in the past made me feel good…
    funny you mentioned your in-laws in your post, i did too today.

  24. Oh Sarah. Had I known! There’s some movie where a character says “making the bed sets the tone for the day.” THIS is true. If I don’t make my bed, the entire day goes to hell. It looks soooo much better. It’s good feng shui. It says grown ups sleep in this room. Our bed is special. I think you’ll really like it. You might even end up buying fancy sheets! It changes everything I swear to god. . .

  25. Michael @ barbie movies says:

    I love that my bed always neat. It is a special. I hate everything clutter it
    gives me headache… nice blog!

  26. Beds should only be made once, in the factory! Unless you count half ass pulling the comforter up. In that case, Ritch makes the bed, since he gets up about 1/2 hour after I leave. I don’t think it would make my room look cleaner, I think picking crap up would make it look cleaner.

  27. Leaving beds unmade just feels so wrong. I wouldn’t be able to function during the day, if I knew my bed was not made.

    I can’t sleep at night unless the dishes have been washed and put away.

    I’ve tried therapy, it didn’t help. They said I should stick with by good habits. Oh Well.

  28. When I was a kid, I always made my bed. I sometimes made it in the middle of the night if I wasn’t sleeping well and thought that a tidy bed would help me sleep. Now I never do it, and you can’t sell me on it. I sleep just fine, messy or not.

  29. I make the bed most days. It helps me feel more organized, and inspires me to tidy our bedroom. And, it’s kind of nice to have at least one orderly room in the house.

  30. I wish people would stop putting this post in my reader so I could stop thinking about making my bed. Actually it was only one person but that was enough.

    Tammy is absolutely correct.

  31. Your Mother says:

    I am stunned – PROUD – and, of course, skeptical. In that order.

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