“Did you make your bed?”
Growing up, my mom always made it clear that making my bed was a priority, and promptly marched me back to my room if I mumbled “no”.
As a seven-year old, I didn’t understand why making my bed was so essential. I’d be crawling back under the covers in 14 hours anyway!
But now that I’m in my 30’s, I get it.
And if I had kids, I’d totally be that mom who nags them to make their bed too.
But here’s what I’d also tell them:
Why Making Your Bed is Far More Than a Chore
In his famous 2014 graduation speech, retired Admiral William H. McRaven said this to the University of Texas class,
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.Admiral William H. McRaven
It’s one of my all time favorite speeches. (The clip above is less than 2 minutes—so I hope you have time for a quick listen! I promise it’ll be worth it.) He also wrote a book if you’re more of a reader and less of a video-watcher.
The Admiral’s theory is that this small act of making your bed means you’ve accomplished at least one thing for the day.
And that one thing will snowball into many more.
Not only that, but those who start the day with a tidy bed are more likely to keep an organized, clutter-free home. While there is no scientific data promoting the positive effects of bed-making (although anecdotal evidence is abundant!), there are studies that prove a tidy environment will:
- Improve your focus
- Increase your productivity
- Lead to lower levels of stress
So is it a stretch to say a tidy bed will do the same?
I don’t think so.
If that’s not incentive enough
Making your bed is essential for your mental health.
For those of us who struggle with anxiety and depression, we often live feeling like our lives control us. (At least I do!) We can’t always predict what days we’ll wake up feeling like a normal human being and which ones will be shadowed by dark clouds consuming our mental space.
This daily repetitive task of pulling up our covers and arranging pillows is one simple way to control our environment. You start the day feeling disciplined and infinitely more put together, rather than wallowing among the crumpled sheets.
And at the end of the day, is there anything better than walking into a tranquil-looking bedroom, pulling back your comforter and sliding into crisp cool sheets with a good book in hand?
Honestly, few things bring bring me more peace than that!
I’m not suggesting that you can cure your mental health issues by making your bed. But when everything else feels like it’s spiraling out of control, your bed doesn’t have to be one of those things.
My Best Tips to Start and Maintain This Habit
If you’re not already a compulsive bed-maker, it may take some time for you to instill this habit into your life. Here are my best tips:
- Let it be easy. Don’t over-complicate your bed making with an abundance of decorative pillows and blankets. Keep it simple! I recently purchased new bedding through Beddy’s and can’t believe how easy is to make my bed now! I use to struggle big-time, tugging and tucking my comforter in between our tight RV bedroom walls. But with Beddy’s, you just zip up your bed and go.
- Use a habit tracker. “Make My Bed” is the first habit on my Streaks app and I love filling in that circle every morning. Streaks is only available on iOS, but there are similar apps for Android! Or you can print out the habit trackers below if you prefer paper to digital tracking.
- Stack this with another habit. Give yourself the best chance of completing this task by combining it with one you won’t forget… like brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth becomes a cue that you now need to make your bed.
- Tell yourself it will only take minute. When we are in a rush, we tend to skip this part of our morning routine. But making your bed is not as involved as you think it is. Gretchen Rubin also said, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.” So take deep breath and don’t overthink it.
Wait, what about…
Yes, it’s a thing.
But is it something to worry about?
Not if you wash your sheets once every two weeks. Once a week if you’re super worried about it, which most people are not.
How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything
For me, making my bed is just as essential as getting dressed and ready for the day. Maybe that sounds silly, but when I don’t do it, my whole day feels off!
Not only does a freshly made bed look better, I’m able to focus on the rest of my tasks knowing that a rumpled comforter isn’t lurking just inside the bedroom door.
Plus, when we take pride in the small things (and do them well), we tend to bring our best to everything else.
If your attitude towards your bed is:
- No one’s going to see it
- I don’t have time
- It doesn’t matter
Those mindsets subconsciously show up in other areas of your life.
But if you put your best effort into the little things, you’ll put the same effort into the big things.
So if you’re going to make your bed, do it right and do it consistently.
Because even though your mom might not be watching anymore, there’s still one more benefit to making your bed…
If by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. And a made bed encourages you that tomorrow will be better.Admiral William H. McRaven
Do you make your bed every day?
Or maybe I should ask, do you tell your kids to make their bed every day? 😀
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