Intent on making 2017 your Best Year Ever? We can help with that, thanks to our 2017 Coach of the Month series. Here, Rachel Hoffman — who authored the just-released book Unf*ck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess — shares her no-nonsense, actually realistic approach to cleaning up your clutter.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make a big impact on the overall neatness of your bedroom is to just take a few minutes and make your bed. I know, I know — pretty much everyone hates making their bed. You don't see the point, since you're just going to get back in it later. Or you're rebelling against a childhood of being made to make the bed every morning. Or you think your bed needs to "breathe" and not making it is the way to accomplish that. There are a million excuses not to make your bed, and I have heard them all.
Taking a moment to straighten up your bedding creates an orderly and neat focal point in what might be an otherwise messy disaster.
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But consider the potential positives: for one, taking a moment to straighten up your bedding creates an orderly and neat focal point in what might be an otherwise messy disaster. And even though a made bed doesn't magically turn the rest of your bedroom clean, it can help you to focus on the potential of a clean room, as well as giving you a home base to work from when you do start working on everything else in the room.
There's also the fact that seeing a made bed can serve as a kind of reassurance that your mess isn't permanent; it's changeable, and it's entirely under your control. Exerting a small amount of control over the chaos by quickly straightening up your bed can be pretty empowering as an indication of what you're capable of accomplishing with just a small amount of effort.
Those who make their bed reported getting a good night's sleep at a higher rate than those who don't make their bed.
There's even scientific evidence that suggests making your bed is overall better for you and your sleep habits. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that those who make their bed every day or most days reported getting a good night's sleep at a higher rate than those who don't make their bed. And if you needed any encouragement to wash your sheets more often, the study also reports that a majority of people say they get a more comfortable night's sleep in a bed with fresh sheets.
Part of the reason so many beds remain unmade is that a lot of people think of bed-making as something a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Hospital corners only belong in hospitals and the bedrooms of people far more meticulous than most of us. Making your bed doesn't need to be any more intricate than just pulling up and straightening your top bedding and putting the pillows back where they belong. That's it. Don't make it any more time-consuming or annoying than it needs to be.
No matter how easy or straightforward bed-making is, there are always people who resist doing it. There are those who are anti-bed-making because they were forced to do it as children and now refuse on general principle. This is really quite common, and if that's where you are, that's totally fine! But at some point, you might want to try making your bed when you get up, not because you're being made to, but because you want your surroundings to be a little bit nicer for you to look at. Knowing that you can do it by choice, rather than by force, just might be enough to push you back into the habit.
And there are those who are convinced they need to let their bed "breathe." I've heard arguments that the way to prevent everything from dust mites to mold to bedbugs is to leave your bed unmade every day so it has the chance to air out. This doesn't really hold up under closer examination, though. Crumpled bedding doesn't increase the surface area exposed to the air at all, unless you're pulling everything off the bed completely. The best way to combat dust mites and to keep a clean mattress is to wash your sheets and mattress cover frequently and vacuum your mattress periodically. If you're concerned about air flow to your sheets, folding the top bedding neatly to the end of the bed helps to accomplish that while still looking nice and tidy, and totally counts as "making" your bed.
If you don't see the point in making your bed because you're just going to get in it later, well, yeah. We continue to use most things after we clean them, but we still do it. There's no denying that not only does a made bed look nicer than an unmade one, but there's something so satisfying about getting into a nicely made bed instead of a tangle of bedding. Who knows? You might even sleep better!
Now go forth and rediscover bed-making!