I only made my bed when I was at my Ganmommy’s, growing up. My mom, pragmatic in all sorts of interesting ways, didn’t see bed-making as mission-critical — and really only had me tackle room-tidying when the floor became impassable. I had my own room and my own bed, so the only person affected (mostly!) was me. Changing the sheets was another matter — base home cleanliness was important, including bed linens — and Mom had me handle that task for myself each month, starting when I was around age 8. But after that? A personal problem. Which I solved by ignoring it, perennially my default strategy.
In college, I first had a loft bed about 6’ in the air. Being 5’5” tops, I operated from “what the eye don’t see, the heart don’t grieve over,” and at the end of the semester was thoroughly disgusted with myself — a lesson learned, I suppose? Though sheet-changing was still nearly impossible the handful of times I attempted it during spring semester. After that my mattresses were on the floor, but not visible — good for linen hygiene, and who-cares for tidiness.
So these were my life-long habits when I got married. My Sweetie had a king-sized waterbed with a king-sized duvet when we were dating, so his bed-making habit was a general swoosh. I’m not a waterbed fan, so when we mutually got an innerspring mattress (I’d had a classic cotton futon, how early ‘90s of me) standard-sheet bed-making conformed to my priors: a loose tangle, pulled back up and over each night.
Except over time, I felt the tangle acquired a certain drift to My Sweetie’s side of the bed. A sort of vertical short-sheeting on my side, as it were.
It took me a long time, mind you — a decade? — to get to this place, but I started Making Our Bed each morning. Still had no chit in the “tidy bed, tidy world, tidy mind” sweepstakes; I framed this as Self-Defense. As in, I’m the one yanking in the middle of the night, and I’d rather keep sleeping.
We changed over to a northern-European style of twin duvets over our queen-sized bed— no sharing required! So no bed-making needed, right? Back to my mom’s motto: personal problem, solve it yourself. Right?
Eh, not so much. Each duvet, unmoored from the end of the bed, generally twisted itself into a rope by morning. Each duvet, when casually and individually shaken and tossed back on the bed, became a potential sleep-straightjacket…
because the duvets overlap. And the bottommost one would get pinned under the sleeper using the topmost one. Short-sheets again for the win.
Since I’d sussed out the problem, I continued to carry responsibility for the solution: I made the bed every morning to be sure I didn’t get pinned.
Then, when my hormones started swinging wildly into night sweats, it was easy to air (and dry out) the bed each morning by throwing the sheets (or duvets) back over the foot of the bed, then coming back later to reset the bed.
I will say, that after perhaps twenty years, I kinda like having a made bed to return to each night. It makes a smoothness available that pairs nicely with my dozy stretches. It feels easier to get dressed, too, when I can toss everything on top of a unified expanse rather than plucking garments from a swirl of linens.
But it’s no feather in my cap, or momentum for my day. Particularly now, when my energy is so variable and I feel as if it takes me for-ev-er to roll myself into my day’s work. It’s just a way to keep my partnering a joy and replenishment.
Just a daily reset.