making the bed

A couple weekends ago I was at a gathering where I happened to mention — I can’t remember why — that I don’t make my bed, and people were like, What? You don’t make your bed? We’re shocked! And I was like, Of course I don’t make my bed! Do YOU? And they all — every single one of them — just stared at me soberly and . . . then they nodded their heads WHAT THE HECK.

Bed making, I thought, was a thing of the past like pantyhose and jello salads. Only people who lived in one-room cabins and needed their bed to double as a sofa during the day, or hoity-toity magazine stagers, or hospital and hotel staff, bothered with making a bed. I mean, who has energy for cleaning first thing in the morning? But apparently I’m the odd one out, oops.

Does this mean I’m a slob? Maybe. But here’s the thing: I don’t care. No one sees my bed (except for when I photograph it and then flaunt it on the world wide web), and if I’m gonna mess it up again in a few short hours, why bother?

And, in my defense, I’ve heard that creative people are less likely to make their bed (which is a nice thought, but I don’t buy it since I think everyone’s creative) and that people who make their beds are more likely to be successful, but that depends on what success means to you, and I think success is defined as figuring out the shortest amount of time between waking and that first cup of coffee, so there you go.

(If my husband’s the last one out of bed, he often tugs the covers straight, but he also loves to climb into a rumpled bed. In fact, he actively dislikes climbing into a made bed — it’s too much work, he says. And while I may not make my bed in the morning, I am pretty religious about straightening the sheets at the foot of the bed prior to climbing in at night: I like my top sheet tucked firmly under the mattress and my husband likes his part untucked, so every night there’s a bit of huffing and puffing as we work things out.)

Do you make your bed?

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (10.18.21), three things, kitchen notes, practical and beautiful, hair loss, the adjustment, grab and go: help wanted, that thing we do, pepperoni rolls.


  • Anna C.

    I prefer to at least have the sheets and covers flat/smooth, because it helps my brain to not have too much clutter around. I don’t care about it most of the time because I’m not in my room outside of sleeping most days, but on days like today when I’m WFH, sitting right next to it, I make it.

  • PJ Decker

    I always make my bed. Usually within 5 minutes of waking. I did quit using a top sheet awhile back, so it doesn’t take long to make.

  • MAC

    I don’t make the bed. I throw the covers back to air it out. That’s all. And I am a total slob about everything except kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Thrift at Home

    I do usually make my bed, always have! It automatically makes the room look tidy to me, even if clothes are laying around. Also, I literally take 1 minute for this because I just pull up the covers all at once and make sure my sheets and blankets are tucked at the foot and my husband’s are NOT. So it’s very minimal time for a nice mental massage. I don’t do it right away, either, just when I happen to get back to the bedroom again in the morning.
    I’m often the only one with a made bed at my house. I consider bedrooms private space where my people can rule their own roost, but I am vocal and particular about the public space in our house. I love this post, Jennifer, and love hearing how people run their programs 🙂

  • BeckyJ

    I didn’t start making my bed until I separated from my slob of a husband LOL I could finally have the cute, tidy (but still creative) house that I’d always imagined. It only takes me a moment to tidy the pillows and pull the duvet over the bed (no tucking of sheets!) but it makes my bedroom look so much nicer.

  • Hattie

    My husband chides me saying there’s no need to make the bed as nobody will see it.
    But I need the bed to be made in order to fall asleep peacefully and, I toss and turn so much that sometimes I will get up at 1 a.m. and do a quick remake of the bed. (My husband is a night owl so he hasn’t gone to sleep at this point.) I guess you could call obsessed with a made bed.

  • Marie

    My bed making stopped when I stopped using a top sheet which was when I started sharing a bed with my now-husband. He cannot cannot stand top sheets, and it turns out I didn’t care one way or the other. But with only pillows and a duvet, I couldn’t come up with any point to making the bed . .

  • suburbancorrespondent

    The few times I have not managed to make the bed, I have had to make it before climbing back in at night. I cannot BEAR to climb into an unmade bed. And I consider myself quite creative, by the way…

    However, about 10 years ago, I developed a serious aversion to a top (flat) sheet. Like, all of a sudden, I couldn’t STAND the fussiness of it all, and I went with a fluffy duvet with a washable duvet cover instead. I blame menopause.

  • Patricia

    I once sat beside a man on an airplane who was horrified that I don’t iron my sheets. I think if he knew I don’t make the bed he would have had to use the sick bag.

  • Elizabeth

    I cannot leave my bed unmade! Mostly because I hate getting into an unmade bed at night. But also I personally hate walking into a room with an unmade bed (so much so that I make my son’s bed too). I don’t at all think it is something one HAS to do….but still, seeing the picture of your rumpled bed made me shudder. 🙂

  • Karen

    Not only do I not make my bed, but I gave up on a top sheet years ago because it was just too difficult to get the blanket/quilt to match up.

  • Miriam Allison

    I don’t make my bed immediately, instead I leave the blankets tossed back to allow the bedding to air out. I read somewhere a number of years ago that making the bed immediately upon rising traps all your sweat and dander from the previous night in the bedding, making it get funky more quickly. Both my husband and I will toss the blankets and comforter back over our respective sides of the bed at some point in the day, but there’s not much else to our bed-making. No fancy pillows, no tightly tucked sheets & blankets. I’m with you – we’re the only ones who go back there and I just don’t care. I have enough trouble keeping the public parts of the house cleaned up.

    • KC

      It was considered deeply unhygienic in the 1800s/early 1900s to not air your bed out for at least an hour before making it, ideally with the bedroom windows fully open, and, yeah, there are reasons for that (although some of it is reduced or obviated by modern washing methods and bedding materials). Many people flipped the covers over the foot of the bed and started it airing out when they emerged from it to bathe and dress, then made the bed up after breakfast. (or the servants did the equivalent *or* skimped it and housekeepers were suitably appalled. I haven’t yet gotten evidence as to when the beds were aired/made in the late-night-partying-> breakfast-in-bed class, but presumably some time during the afternoon?)

      Some boarding schools included flipping the mattress (every morning!) as well – thinner mattresses, usually on a corded bed or slatted bed such that the bottom side is always airing out to some degree. I think that one reason might be that requiring the mattresses to be flipped will *really* require full bed-making every day instead of just smoothing the top cover over things, and will automatically air the bed in the process, but still, I think that’s, uh, extreme.

      (I usually keep my mouth shut about it when people are super-proud that they make their beds absolutely *immediately* upon getting out of bed – denouncing anyone who doesn’t do that as “not clean” – but who, by doing so, are 1. closing their sweat into the bed and also 2. posthumously appalling at least a century’s worth of the old-fashioned hyper-clean housekeepers they’re often boasting about being like. But modern materials make a difference in how actually-hygienic it is, and also if it drives someone nuts to have the bed not-smooth and they don’t have a schedule that allows for morning airing before the bed-making, then they may be better off not knowing rather than having the image of dust mites destroying their enjoyment of the smoothly-made bed? And anyway, I’m usually annoyed at the time, and that sort of annoyed is rarely the time to speak…)

  • Kris

    Absolutely. Although we often don’t make it until right before we go to bed, lol. I usually pull the covers up to make it look mostly-made during the day, and then do the more precise fixing in the evening. I can’t stand getting into rumpled sheets. I have a very particular way of positioning myself to get into my sleep mode, and the sheets & pillows are an integral part of that.

  • K

    You are not alone. No, I do not make my bed. Generally I’m a fairly tidy person, but the mornings are always stressful and I am not a morning person (especially when waking in the dark like now). That said, if I anticipate visitors at all I will straighten the covers a bit, mostly because my bedroom is on the first floor and on display so to speak. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t bother at all. Funny enough I love getting into a made bed. When I wash the sheets I make it and that’s usually where it ends.

  • sandyginger

    I am a bed maker-in fact, even in hotels. I cannot leave the house if any bed is unmade, stairs pushed in, trash empty. Call me OCD, no, just need the organization to rest my brain, the way I am wired. We all are wired in different ways, my adult sons-they are complete slobs who don’t know how a bed is made. To each his own!

    • Jennifer Jo

      Funnily enough, we actually always make the bed when we stay in a hotel — mostly so we don’t misplace our stuff, but also: appearances. (We try not to be slobs IN public.)

  • Elva

    Yes, I make my bed and also fluff up the blankets on all the dog beds, but I most certainly do not judge people who DON’T make their beds!

  • Cat

    I make my bed for two reasons, one being my dogs sleep on the bed and while i love them dearly i dislike the mud in my sheets or the drool on my pillows since they know no bounds. The other reason is i just like seeing my bed all nice and tidy and crawling into at night instead of standing there straightening everything out, it’s already done.

  • Candi R

    I make mine every morning so that if the day is a disaster at least I accomplished something, even a simple task of making a bed. I feel social media influencers have made household appearances unrealistic with $200 trashcans, expensive remodeled modern kitchens, and ridiculously expensive bedding all to look the part online. Our homes are our homes, our beds just need to be clean and comfortable on our level.

  • Carla

    I had to laugh at this. I often make my bed, but not always. It’s never first thing (I’ve heard it’s best to let it air out, and since that fits my habits, I’m running with it.) I usually get back into the room at some time in the day and straighten it out then. The whole top-sheet-tucked-or-untucked sounds EXACTLY like my husband and I.

  • Melinda Armentrout

    At our primary house, if my husband is still in it when I leave to go to work (I’m a Nurse and he is a Farmer), then the answer is ‘no.’ Although I DO make it before I get into bed at night because he also likes to yank the top sheet loose form the foot and it drives me nuts to wake wrapped up like a burrito in the sheet.
    At our vacation home over the mountain, I insist that the bed be made every morning. It’s a tiny 950 square foot house and the bedroom doors are left open to facilitate air flow.

  • ccr in MA

    I generally don’t make my bed, having been programmed by years of cats curled up in/on the blankets. I also do NOT like sheets or blankets tucked in at my feet, so even if I spread the blanket out, it doesn’t have that hospital-corner look. Which doesn’t bother me, though I can see why it matters to some people.

    • Deborah R

      Last one out makes the bed, that’s usually me during the week. The husband usually on the weekend. And yes he makes it even when I’m not here. It’s pee, make bed, coffee, and I pretty much don’t function before coffee, but it only takes a minute or two and it makes my room look so much more put together. I also insisted my kids make their beds and now that they ‘re out of the house none of the three do. (Or have the grandkids make theirs.)

  • Melodie

    You asked, so I’ll answer. I make my bed because it makes me feel straightened up, even if the rest of the house is not as neat as I’d like. I think only one of my daughters does the same. But that’s all ok. I drink my coffee first, but make the bed the next time I go back there to our room. If your bedroom is on your second floor, I can see how it feels ok to just let it be. 🙂 Call me old school. Or old momma.

  • Judith Lehman

    My husband makes ours because he likes it somewhat tidy. In Nella Last’s WWII mass observation diaries, she explains that when they’re all so busy doing war work, they make their beds first thing. It’s considered slovenly to not throw back the covers for hours to air the bed. They eventually made it, but I’d say your bed is beautifully aired.

  • TJ

    Yes I do, but I grew up in the Caribbean and if you didn’t make your bed you were bound to find a lizard/roach/spider in there. But now I do it because I like a neat bedroom. My kids do the same.

  • Mavis

    Yes. You are a slob.

    Also, I am deeply offended.

    I am a successful creative person who LOVES Jell-O salad, wears {black} panty hose {with the 1 black dress that I own} who does not live in a one room school house nor have the need to make my bed double as a sofa during the day.

    I’m also not one of those hoity-toity magazine stagers that you are referring to.
    And yes, I do appreciate a well made hospital or hotel bed. Who wouldn’t?

    Oh wait. That would be YOU.

    You’re a nut. And I love you.

  • Colleen

    I don’t make mine in the morning, I make it right before bed. However 70% of the year we only have a thin quilt or two so it’s more about evening it out. We are pretty simple.

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