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View Full Version : Why do people make their beds?


Crafter_Man
01-17-2005, 04:39 AM
I never made my bed as a college student. It wasn't out of laziness; I just considered it a waste of time. But my wife makes the bed every morning. As I suspect most people do (??).

Anyway, is there a practical reason for making the bed? Or is it simply done for aesthetic reasons?

Paul in Qatar
01-17-2005, 04:46 AM
Simple, the bed is large and can be easily tidied. Nothing else can be done so quickly and make such a difference to a room's appearance.

Caught@Work
01-17-2005, 04:54 AM
I do it because it's nice to get into a wrinkle free bed at night.
Sure after I'm asleep I wrinkle it all up again, but until then, it so smooth.
I hate the bottom sheet with wrinkles. Can't stand (or lie) it.

Kolak of Twilo
01-17-2005, 04:56 AM
I have to go with the aesthetic reason. It's always nice to walk into a bedroom, see a nicely made up bed and then climb in and muss it all up.

HMS Irruncible
01-17-2005, 05:05 AM
I remember when I was in the Army that the top blankets were sometimes called the "dust cover" which suggested to me that making the bed had something to do with keeping the linens a bit cleaner. I tend to think that a nice tightly made bed with fitted sheets or hospital corners would do just a wee bit better job of keeping bugs out of it. I agree with other posters that in modern times that the practice is kept alive more for aesthetic reasons than hygeinic ones.

Joe Random
01-17-2005, 06:22 AM
As I suspect most people do (??).Not me. I will make my bed for only two reasons. First, if I have just finished a large-scale cleaning of my bedroom, and want to be able to say, "There, now the room in completely cleaned." Second, if I expect that I'll have company over. As neither of these occur on a daily basis, the majority of the time my bed is unmade.

kiffa
01-17-2005, 06:30 AM
1. sweep away crumbs so I won't have to do it when I collapse into the bed at night.
2. keep the dogs from sleeping on the bed during the day; making it necessary to sweep away their hair etc when I collapse into the bed at night.
3. pulling back coverlet off bed removes all the junk that gets put on the bed during the day so I won't have to sweep away stuff when I collapse into the bed at night.
...

I guess there is a fourth: it looks nicer to have a straightened up bed rather than pillows, blankets, etc shroun all about [two people sleep in my bed so there's usually an IPOD, magazines, books, itty bitty light amongs all this clutter.

bob_loblaw
01-17-2005, 06:54 AM
i made my bed because i got sick of sleeping on the floor.

Shakes
01-17-2005, 06:58 AM
I blame my Dad.

I remeber asking him this same question once.

His response was "It's a metaphorical thing son. You make your bed because you got to sleep in it. blah blah blah.."

He even did periodic inspections to make sure I didn't do a half-assed job.


And god help me if I did..

He wouldn't give me an ass-whupp'n but he would go through that whole long speech as descibed above.

Some times I just wish he'd give me the ass-whupp'n instead. :rolleyes:

But for some reason it stuck. I still do it today.

Don't ask me why...

Diceman
01-17-2005, 07:22 AM
I make my bed when I change my sheets (on Saturday mornings) and when company is coming over.

The rest of the time, it's unmade.

Philster
01-17-2005, 09:12 AM
Don't underestimate the importance of "aesthetic reasons". "Just for aesthetic reasons" implies that aesthetic reasons have little value.

Aesthetics are powerful.

Lord Ashtar
01-17-2005, 09:16 AM
I also only make my bed if I just washed the sheets, if company is coming over, or I'm cleaning the bed room. My mom used to tell me that a nicely made bed was good Feng Shui. Eh, whatever.

Dragwyr
01-17-2005, 09:28 AM
1. sweep away crumbs so I won't have to do it when I collapse into the bed at night.
2. keep the dogs from sleeping on the bed during the day; making it necessary to sweep away their hair etc when I collapse into the bed at night.
3. pulling back coverlet off bed removes all the junk that gets put on the bed during the day so I won't have to sweep away stuff when I collapse into the bed at night.
...

I guess there is a fourth: it looks nicer to have a straightened up bed rather than pillows, blankets, etc shroun all about [two people sleep in my bed so there's usually an IPOD, magazines, books, itty bitty light amongs all this clutter.Those are all great reasons, but there is one reason we make our bed. We have a heating pad that was made for our queen-sized bed. We turn it on at about 9 PM so that when we go to bed at 11, our bed is nice and warm. If we didn't make our bed, all the heat that we generate from that heating pad would be lost and the bed would be colder.

Podkayne
01-17-2005, 09:53 AM
Philster's right. Making my bed was an important step for me in starting to get my extremely messy house under control. All I do is stack the pillows and spread out the comforter so that it's nice and square and smooth. It only takes a few seconds, and it instantly looks orderly and . . . well, peaceful.

The bedroom used to look like a disaster area. The thought of cleaning up all that clutter was just too overwhelming. I'd see nothing but chaos everywhere I looked, and feel like a failure. Having that be my experience the first thing every morning and the last thing every night was taking its toll on me, even though I wasn't consciously aware of it.

But when I started to make the bed every morning, every time I walked into the room, my eye would immediately be drawn to the bed. At first, that was the only thing in the bedroom that was at all tidy, an island of calm in a sea of chaos. But instead of looking around at the chaos and thinking, "God, I'm such a LOSER! I can't keep anything nice!" my eye was immediately drawn to the bed, and I'd think, "I've made the bed every morning this week! Good job!"

It only took a few seconds each morning to take to a messy-looking bed and make it look neat and orderly. I would then enjoy that the calm I'd created every time I walked into the room. This inspired me to tackle the next small thing, like clearing off one of the dressers, or picking up a load of dirty clothes. Little by little, our bedroom became clean and tidy.

I really believe I never could have cleaned it up, and kept it clean, if I hadn't started by making the bed every day.

Finagle
01-17-2005, 09:56 AM
The only reason I'm ever in my bedroom for more than a few seconds is to sleep. Sadly, only other living creature that ever enters my bedroom is the cat, and she's pretty indifferent to the state of tidiness of the coverlet. So the bed never gets made.

ParentalAdvisory
01-17-2005, 10:03 AM
The only time I'll make my bed is when the sheets have just come out of the dryer. As long as they're not wet or dirty, and keep me warm, I simply do not care. I wouldn't say this makes me lazy or anything like that. The rest of my room is actually in pretty good shape. But hey, if it makes you happy, and it makes you feel like you're making a difference, go for it.

vetbridge
01-17-2005, 10:48 AM
In an attempt to lower my gas bill I keep the thermostat turned down, and turn it even lower at bedtime. In order to be comfortable, I began sleeping in a sleeping bag (rated at minus something Fahrenheit). When I have sleep-over company I join two bags together. There is something erotic about that...never had a complaint. Anyway, I never "make the bed" as there is really no bed to make, just shake the bag straight. In the summer I sleep in a slovenly unmade sheet covered bed.

tremorviolet
01-17-2005, 12:44 PM
I only make my bed to keep the cats from sleeping on the sheets and leaving behind pet hair and the occasional flea. I suspect that has a lot to do with the traditional reasons for making beds (i.e. pest and dirt control). 'Course, what I do, isn't really making either, I just pull the quilt and/or comfortoer up so the sheets aren't showing.

NinjaChick
01-17-2005, 12:50 PM
At home, I make it to keep the dog hair off of my sheets.

At school, I make it because I often lie on my bed to do homework, read, etc, and it's more comfortable when the sheets and blankets are smooth.

pasunejen
01-17-2005, 12:54 PM
I don't generally make the bed first thing in the morning, but:

If I'm going to be in the bedroom (not sleeping or reading prior to sleep) for any amount of time, I make the bed. First of all, it looks nicer and makes me a lot happier about the state of my life (little things--the tidier my surroundings, the better I feel).

Second, if I'm in the bedroom that long and it's not night, it generally means I'm a) dressed for the day and b) going to be sitting on the bed, and I cannot bring myself to sit on sheets while I'm wearing pants and socks. Even if I just want to nap, I have to either undress or nap on top of the duvet with a throw blanket on top of me. I don't know why. Maybe it's got something to do with feeling like worn clothes aren't clean; maybe it's to do with the way sheets vs. comforters feel against cloth. But either way, it's just not comfortable.

So. There you have my take on the matter. I don't really expect anybody to share the second concern.

Kolak of Twilo
01-17-2005, 12:56 PM
Philster's right. Making my bed was an important step for me in starting to get my extremely messy house under control.

I can second this. For years I was one of those people who always had to keep the bedroom door shut because it was in an embarassing state of disorder. Once I started making the bed it seemed to help keeping everything else in order.

I hadn't really thought about it like that before.

bibliophage
01-17-2005, 04:41 PM
This strikes me as more of a survey than a factual question, so I'll move this thread to the IMHO forum.

bibliophage
moderator GQ

Cunctator
01-17-2005, 04:52 PM
I make mine every morning. I do so for a host of reasons:

1. Certainly general tidiness is the top of the list. I don't like getting into an unmade bed.
2. Habit. My mother taught me to do so every morning when I was a child.
3. I do it as soon as I get out of bed and I actually find that the activity and movement is a great wake up/stretching routine.
4. I don't want people seeing my unmade bed and thinking I'm a lazy slacker, since that's inevitably what I think about anyone else whose unmade bed I see.

dangermom
01-17-2005, 05:12 PM
I do it because it makes the room look so much better, and to keep it cleaner. I like to turn down the sheets in the morning to air them out--I open the sliding door to get lots of fresh air--and then I make the bed so the sheets don't get dusty or icky from kids jumping on them, etc. One day when I forgot to make the bed and it was still turned down, I went in the bedroom to discover my 4-yo daughter and her little friend jumping on the bed--and he was wearing his cowboy boots. Bleah.

People with pets, of course, have even more reason to make their beds. But the simple fact that it makes the room so much more pleasant is worth the 20 seconds of time it takes to do the job. And really, isn't it a great feeling to turn the blankets down on a nice neat bed and anticipate snuggling down in there? Mmmmm.

By now, I associate unmade beds with unaired, frowsty sheets and blankets. It feels unhygenic to me--I know that's overdoing it a bit, but it's true.

kunilou
01-17-2005, 07:01 PM
I couldn't care less, however, the missus insists that a nicely made bed is much more comfortable to sleep in -- no wrinkly sheets to lie on, the blankets spread evenly across the bed, etc. In fact, if she doesn't have a chance to make the bed in the morning, she'll straighten it out immediately before crawling into it at night.

nivlac
01-17-2005, 07:25 PM
When I was in college living in a very small space, my bed was also my sofa, my couch, my dining table, my space for throwing stuff on. So it was made to be used for something other than sleep. Now I do it out of habit.

StGermain
01-17-2005, 07:36 PM
I'll make my bed before I sleep in it at night. I don't mind looking at an unmade bed, but I can't stand sheets that aren't nice and tight. Sometimes in the morning I'll pull the sheets and down comforter up to the top of the bed, but at night is when I really make it.

StG

Podkayne
01-17-2005, 07:45 PM
For years I was one of those people who always had to keep the bedroom door shut because it was in an embarassing state of disorder.

Me, too. I was talking to a friend a while ago, and said, "You know, I mean daggy orange 70's carpet, like we have in our bedroom," and she said, "I've never seen the carpet in your bedroom." That threw me for a loop, because she used to visit all time time. Then I remember, that was the Bad Old Days. She moved before I got my act together.

Now I leave my bedroom door open without giving it a second thought. (Credit where credit is due. (http://www.flylady.net))

movingfinger
01-17-2005, 07:48 PM
I leave the covers open to "air the bed out", i.e; to let all the nocturnal farts dissipate. Also, my GF always worked a night job and is used to sleeping during the day, and still does. So, there is no motivation for us to make the bed.

Oh, hell; let's face it: we're lazy slobs and not especially bothered by the fact.

Mauvaise
01-17-2005, 08:24 PM
I'll make my bed before I sleep in it at night. I don't mind looking at an unmade bed, but I can't stand sheets that aren't nice and tight. Sometimes in the morning I'll pull the sheets and down comforter up to the top of the bed, but at night is when I really make it.
StG

Heh! I do the exact thing. I can not fall asleep in a bed where all the bedding is askew. I always make my bed right before I get it in every night. And that's pretty much the only time I make it.

notfrommensa
01-17-2005, 09:24 PM
My first evil step-mother used to complain when I didn't make the bed.

She used to ask me: "How can you even get into an un-made bed?"

I responded "The same way you crawl into your bed when nature calls in the middle of the night"

Gfab912
01-17-2005, 09:28 PM
I wonder how many of you who don't make up your beds in the morning don't brush your teeth in the morning if you're not going out and/or expecting company? Hmmm....

butter pie
01-18-2005, 12:12 AM
I generally make my bed, unless I'm sleeping in catnaps and expect to be getting back into it soon. I have a 4-poster bed with a canopy and it just looks neat when it's all made. Plus, I'm a neat freak, and I also like having the covers straightened when I go to bed at night. I have sleeping problems from time to time, and will wake up with pretty much everything ripped up off the bed.

It usually only takes a couple of minutes to do, and just looks so much neater and keeps the covers from just completely migrating to the floor.

InternetLegend
01-18-2005, 12:18 AM
I wonder how many of you who don't make up your beds in the morning don't brush your teeth in the morning if you're not going out and/or expecting company? Hmmm....My bed is not susceptible to gum disease or tooth decay. And I don't believe that the sheets I've slept in for the past week would be any cleaner for my having straightened them out conscientiously every day. I make my bed when I change the sheets or when I clean and vacuum the bedroom, which means it's usually made on two days of each week. The rest of the time, I'll pull the comforter up so that the cats can't shed on the pillows, but no one would mistake that for actually making the bed.

Risha
01-18-2005, 12:21 AM
I wonder how many of you who don't make up your beds in the morning don't brush your teeth in the morning if you're not going out and/or expecting company? Hmmm....

Ick. I brush my teeth every morning, thank-you-very-much. I just find making the bed to be an incredibly repetitive chore that I don't get anything out of. I hate doing something just for the sake of doing something. A messy bed doesn't bother me aesthetically, it makes no difference in my experience when I go to bed at night, the bedroom isn't generally used except when we're in bed so it doesn't get particularly dirty, and I could care less if my friends or family notice through the open door that I don't make it.

Ironically, I married a man who can't sleep unless his bed is made just-so. (A mild touch of OCD, I think.) So I've ended up making the bed everynight, right before we go to sleep, as an act of kindness to him.

jabiru
01-18-2005, 01:53 AM
What odd timing:

Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.
Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4181629.stm

Fern Forest
01-18-2005, 02:07 AM
I find sleeping in a neatly arranged bed difficult. It's just too voluminous. I like my pillows up against me and my comforter tucked under me.

In fact if I could get about 168 cubic feet of pillows to stack on my bed I would worm my way in leaving only my mouth and nose exposed. It's very womb like,


side note: How weird, womby means roomy.

Tapioca Dextrin
01-18-2005, 03:47 AM
Anyway, is there a practical reason for making the bed?

Apparently, not making your bed is practical, if you suffer from allergies (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4181629.stm).

Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe. Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

Tapioca Dextrin
01-18-2005, 03:48 AM
Or, what jabiru said :smack:

Smeghead
01-18-2005, 05:34 AM
Never done it, never will. Couldn't care less how it looks, as long as it's comfortable when I get in it.

Zebra
01-18-2005, 02:02 PM
I only make my bed to keep the cats from sleeping on the sheets and leaving behind pet hair and the occasional flea. I suspect that has a lot to do with the traditional reasons for making beds (i.e. pest and dirt control). 'Course, what I do, isn't really making either, I just pull the quilt and/or comfortoer up so the sheets aren't showing.


I heard on the radio the DJs discussing the results of a study saying an UNmade bed is better pest control. The warm and moist environment of a made bed helps the dust mites. (bed bugs) But an unmade bed promotes dryness and kills off the bugs.




Of course, since I'm alone in my bed there is a distressing lack of wetness. :(

CrazyCatLady
01-18-2005, 02:59 PM
Minor nitpick--dust mites are not bed bugs. Bed bugs are related to kissing bugs. They have piercing/sucking mouthparts and feed on blood. Dust mites are mites, which are a totally different group of insects.

Anyway, I make my bed because it reduces my stress and helps me sleep better. Partly for the sense of peace others have described, partly because Dr.J can mangle bedcovers worse than any other human being I have ever met. If I make the bed every day, the covers are still reasonably straight when I come to bed. If I haven't made the bed that day, by the time I get in there he's got one blanket shoved mostly off the bed on one side, another mostly shoved off the foot of the bed, the topsheet turned completely sideways, etc. I need my blanket cocoon intact in order to fall asleep, so that means I've got to try and untangle the mess in the dark when I'm tired and ready to go to sleep. This is a right pain in the ass, and it makes me irritable. Becoming irritable as you get into bed is not conducive to a good day's sleep. Not sleeping well makes me irritable when I get up, and that makes dealing with the house hideous, and going to work hideous, then I'm all pissy when I come home and go to bed, and I'm even less likely to sleep well that day...you get the picture.

Smeghead
01-18-2005, 03:03 PM
Never done it, never will. Couldn't care less how it looks, as long as it's comfortable when I get in it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should also point out that there's a large pile of dirty socks in my living room. I take them off when I get home and leave them there until laundry day.

Convenience >>> appearances.

FairyChatMom
01-18-2005, 04:05 PM
Not me. I will make my bed for only two reasons. First, if I have just finished a large-scale cleaning of my bedroom, and want to be able to say, "There, now the room in completely cleaned." Second, if I expect that I'll have company over. As neither of these occur on a daily basis, the majority of the time my bed is unmade.This would be me too. My husband made a feeble attempt to make the bed back when I left for work before he did, but now that we leave at the same time, neither of us really cares. I'll straighten it up in the evening before I turn on the electric blanket, to be sure it heats the whole bed evenly, but beyond that, I can't be bothered.

Cervaise
01-18-2005, 05:41 PM
Seems like we've got a couple of different definitions of "making the bed" going on here. I've got a futon, flannel sheets, and a comforter. For me, making the bed = straightening the pillows and pulling the comforter flat across the futon. Takes like ten seconds. (And yes, I do it, because the cat sleeps on the bed during the day and I prefer him on top of the comforter as opposed to nuzzling in between the pillows or wherever he finds when everything's all discombobulated.)

If I had a regular mattress and a different set of linens such that I had to untuck and retuck the fitted sheet and deal with multiple layers and folding and all that stuff, I probably wouldn't bother.

aaslatten
01-18-2005, 05:55 PM
I don't make my bed (because I'm lazy), but I can see its value as a philosophical, ritualistic type thing.

Making the bed may be "pointless," but that doesn't mean it doesn't have value. In fact, its pointlessness may be its value; much of life is pointless yet we continue to push on through our routines, striving for order and clarity, thereby giving our life meaning.

SamIAm336
01-18-2005, 06:06 PM
I make my bed in self defense, because every time I forget, someone, eats crackers in my bed.........has to be the ghost because my kids never fess up to it.

dangermom
01-18-2005, 06:40 PM
Seems like we've got a couple of different definitions of "making the bed" going on here. ..[snip]
If I had a regular mattress and a different set of linens such that I had to untuck and retuck the fitted sheet and deal with multiple layers and folding and all that stuff, I probably wouldn't bother.I suppose so. Many people do have bedspreads and fancy pillows and shams, which would take a lot longer, but I just pull up the sheets, tuck them in, and pull the quilt over them. 20 seconds.

kimera
01-18-2005, 07:23 PM
I have a gajillion blankets, stuffed animals and pillows on my bed so making the bed takes a half hour to make it actually look neat. That being said, I only make it when I wash the undersheets every three months or so. Orderly beds where you slide under the sheets can be nice and fun at times, but I prefer to sleep in a tangled, mixed up state. If I did make the bed every morning, I'd have make it messy again before I went to sleep and I hate having to do extra work when I am dead tired.

gfloyd
01-19-2005, 02:50 AM
At my parents', no one cares what I do. I generally throw the sheets and blankets over the bed before I crawl into it, as if I didn't, I'd freeze to death, as my room is ~10 degrees colder than my parents' room, where the thermostat is (not looking forward to going up there tonight, as it's five below zero outside). The only exception to this rule is if my best friend is coming over. She taught me how to make hospital corners along with every other cleaning task I know.

At school or when I lived in an apartment, I really can't make my bed. I have a top bunk with a sheet and two afghans. I used to watch my anal, psycho roommate in the apartment spend twenty minutes making her bed every morning, then bitch at me about how she didn't understand that I could roll out of bed ten minutes before I had to leave the house. She could deal with the thought of an unmade bed all day. Then again, she changed her sheets three times as often as anyone I know.

When I graduate and start living a real life, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.