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Make Your Bed Like Your Mother Told You

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Several years ago, Gretchen Rubin started telling people that making their bed every morning could boost their happiness levels, and for many of her readers it really worked. At The Modern Tidy, we recommend clients add this task to their morning routines for a variety of other reasons, too.

Why does it matter?


The bed is the focal point in just about any bedroom, and keeping your bedding smooth and tidy goes a long way to reduce visual clutter. You'll feel more at peace as you take one last look in the morning before you leave and again when you return home from a long day. A OBJECT IN MOTION TENDS TO STAY IN MOTION...

and, just like a cluttered area tends to gather more and more clutter over time, a clean space inspires more cleanliness. It will be harder to throw clothes on floor or wherever else they may land if the centerpiece of the room already looks neat and clean.


We help all of our clients develop two or three simple, effective routines to guide them through their days and help them keep newly tidied spaces organized. Your morning routine should consist of three or four quick tasks that fit together nicely and give you a lot of satisfaction in a short period of time. When you start the day with a few small accomplishments already checked off your to-do list, you're better prepared to face the rest of the day.

In his 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, Admiral William H. McRaven explains it this way: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed." (He's a huge bed-making advocate, having also written a guide called Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World.)

So how do we make it easier?

1.) Tailor your bedding to the task.

A fluffy duvet is much easier to tidy up than a comforter or quilt. You don't have to straighten the sheets perfectly, enough to eliminate lumps, then pull up the duvet and even out the sides.

A duvet with a texture is even easier to work with. The West Elm Organic Cotton Pintuck duvet cover (pictured at right) is a classic choice, and luxurious velvet duvet covers are also easier to work with and very on trend.

2.) Be thoughtful about your accessories.

If you're going to feel like all those decorative pillows are just going to slow you down and you won't have time to get them just right, then maybe you need to rethink them.

One long lumbar pillow is an excellent solution with a modern look. You can even have a simplified everyday look and also a more elaborate look with every last pillow layered expertly that you save for sheet-changing day or other days when you can take your time.

If a perfect display of gorgeous, carefully coordinated pillows is going to be your inspiration and add to your satisfaction of a job well done, then by all means, let your creativity and sense of style lead the way.

3.) Don't save it for last.

Make your bed between two other morning tasks. Make it feel mandatory, not something you can skip if you are running late or feeling tired. You'll also have a chance to enjoy the results before you leave.

4.) Time yourself.

Set the stopwatch on your phone and see you how little time it takes to make your bed. I like to spray my bedding with a little linen water or Delicate Spray from The Laundress before straightening it up, and sometimes I'll put on fresh pillowcases, too. I can still get through the whole process without hurrying in about three minutes.

When you see how little time this task requires, it will be easier to enjoy the results.

Happy Tidying!


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