When I was a kid, making my bed was non-negotiable. My mother wasn’t the greatest about respecting privacy so if I failed to make my bed she’d throw all of my covers on the floor then tell me to go fix it. And, oh, she was a stickler for “hospital corners’. Needless to say when I was finally on my own I exercised my independence by refusing to make my bed. Ever.
Years later, I married a military man who learned during Basic Training he was expected to make his bed with “military corners” (same type of corner, different name). If not properly done, the Drill Sargent did the same thing my mother had: threw everything on the floor and made him do it again.
So for our first year or so of marriage, neither of us had the least bit of interest in making our bed. No one really knew it, of course, because our bedroom was on the top floor of the house and we kept the door closed most of the time, anyway.
Then we moved to a house where our bedroom was on the main floor, visible to anyone who entered. Leaving our bedroom door closed made the living room look unwelcoming, but leaving it open revealed our unmade bed. Not that a tangle of covers would have surprised guests: back then, I didn’t make cleaning my house a priority.
And it showed.
When company was coming we’d spend an entire weekend cleaning to get the house ready for visitors. As soon as they left, chaos and clutter would start to set in. Then someone else would visit so we’d clean like crazy again and let things fall apart once we were alone. It was a vicious cycle.
Then we had company for over three weeks during which we kept the house looking nice and our bed made the whole time. The morning after their departure I made the bed without thinking about it. That night my husband commented on how nice our room still looked. So the following morning I made the bed again and, sure enough, we went to bed that night in a tidy room again.
It wasn’t just our bedroom that was staying neat, though. The rest of the house was, too, with fewer dishes left out and fewer clothes on the closet floor. I hadn’t been putting in any more effort than usual; I was just making our bed each morning. That’s when I decided to make our bed every morning for 30 days and see what happened.
The short version: in that month I went from being disinterested and overwhelmed by housekeeping to finding my own routines to keep our house clean and looking nice every day. All because I made my bed.
Making Your Bed Can Change Your Life
There are a few things that happen when you begin making your bed every morning. If you’ve never been a fan of making yours, or don’t do it daily, I encourage you to spend the next 30 mornings making your bed without fail. Here are some of the changes you’ll see in your life.
1. You’ll have more ‘Me Time’
Let’s face it: making your bed every morning requires getting out of bed a bit earlier. That’s actually one of the benefits: waking up before your kids, and not to them, is a great way to find time for yourself. Setting your alarm 5 minutes earlier gives you a chance to get that bed made and ease into your day rather than dealing with others the instant your feet hit the floor.
2. You’ll think more clearly.
When tasks like making your bed become routine there’s more brain energy available for clear and focused thinking. You know how your best ideas come when you’re in the shower or how you come up with that perfect come-back to a snarky coworker when you’re in the middle of vacuuming on Saturday? There’s a reason for that.
As we perform a task repeatedly, it requires less direct concentration from our prefrontal cortex (the big thinking and self regulation center), and eventually it becomes entirely procedural memory to the point where we may not even be able to recall what we are doing. […]
And importantly, launching into this active state of procedural memory can actually stimulate and boost the higher levels of thinking and creative reasoning. Or more simply put, the rote processes that distract our hands focus our minds.
If you’ve been struggling to prioritize your day, making your bed first thing in the morning frees up your brain to make judgment calls and plans!
3. Your bedroom will feel cleaner.
The bed is the largest piece of furniture in most bedrooms, and therefore the room’s focal point. When your bed is a mess the whole bedroom is going to look messy…. even when it’s not. A corollary of this: when your bed is neatly made your bedroom will look cleaner… even when it’s not.
4. You’ll be motivated to tidy up elsewhere
Once you realize that making your bed takes only a couple of minutes each morning you’ll start to realize many of the other chores you’ve been putting off take just as little time. That’s what I discovered when I began my own 30-day bed-making challenge.
Before I began making my bed my days basically started with a slow, yawning shuffle to the kitchen where I’d grumble about the sink full of dishes while waiting for the coffee maker to warm up. Once I began making my bed, I was mentally awake before I ever entered the kitchen. So, rather than yawning while the coffee brewed, I began spending those 3 minutes loading the dishwasher. By the time coffee was ready my kitchen was ready for the day, too!
It doesn’t stop there, though. When your sink is clean it motivates you to wipe the counters. When they’re done you get better about keeping clutter from piling up on them. When clutter doesn’t pile up your whole kitchen looks better. And that’s when you realize you don’t need to keep ignoring the clutter on the coffee table, either.
The next thing you know, you’re following a daily cleaning routine and your whole house is looking better… all because you started making your bed.
The 30-Day Challenge
If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed by your home or have been struggling to find motivation to clean it, I encourage you to commit to making your bed every morning for 30 straight days without exception. For those who aren’t in the habit of making their bed already, you’re going to be surprised at what a difference it makes. Try it and discover how making your bed can change your life!