Till Dust Do Us Part

How to Convert a Bed-Making Denier in 5 Easy Steps

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There are loads of reasons to make your bed in the morning. We could actually be here all day talking about all the reasons to make your bed in the morning! But that’s not exactly what we’re here to talk about. Because you — yes, you, you right there reading this! — you’ve already chosen to read something about cleaning, so I suspect you don’t need to be told about all the reasons to make your bed in the morning. You are a Bed Maker.

What we’re here to talk about is this very specific thing that happens to so many people: You want the bed made. But you wake up and leave the house before the other person who sleeps in the bed with you. And that other person? Isn’t so much of a Bed Maker.

What to do!?! Well, there are a few things you can try, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.

Just Ask

This sounds too simple to be true, but I promise it may very well be the solution to your bed making problem: Try asking your partner to make the bed before he or she leaves the house for the day. “Hey Pookie, would you mind taking on the bed making? I would do it, but I leave before you wake up and I don’t want to toss you out of bed just to fluff the pillows.” You might be very pleasantly surprised by the answer!

The key to asking is the way in which you do it. “I have to get up before you do [pout, footstomp] so you have to make the bed,” is much less likely to garner a positive response than is, say, something like this: “I know mornings are always hectic, but since you get up later than I do, can I put you in charge of making the bed?”

The thing about any kind of household task is that communicating about how and when and by whom the job is going to get done is really the key to keeping both parties content.

Give a Reason

But maybe Pookie still isn’t buying what you’re selling. “What’s the point of making the bed? We’re just going to get back in it!” is a pretty common refrain. And it’s tempting to respond with, “Because grownups make the bed!”

But that response is based in opinion rather than on facts, whereas something like, “So the cats won’t roll around on our sheets while we’re out of the house,” or “Because coming home to a made bed provides a sense of orderliness that makes me feel calmer after a long day at work,” is much more concrete.

Make a Deal

Sometimes when you’ve given reasons, the other person still won’t budge. So act like Monty Hall and make a deal! Ask what chore your partner really hates and offer to take that one on. Cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry, taking out the trash — it could be anything, but offering to take ownership of a dreaded chore in exchange for the daily bed making might just be the ticket to motivate an otherwise unwilling person to straighten the covers.


Another common complaint about making the bed is that it takes too long. (It really doesn’t, and I would encourage you to set a timer, make the bed, and check to see exactly how long it took. My bet? 30 seconds!) But think about ways in which you might streamline the process: Do you really need five decorative pillows? Why are there so many throw blankets involved? Can you do away with the top sheet and move to a launderable duvet cover?

Here’s the thing: There are no rules you need to follow in terms of what sort of bedcoverings you choose to use. Think outside the box spring! I’m fond of saying that if you want to sleep under a burlap sack, that’s A-OK. Just as long as you straighten that sack in the morning before going on about your merry way.

Buy Good Sheets

Think about the most expensive item of clothing you own. Maybe a coat, or a pair of dress shoes. Or whatever, really. Now think about a similar piece you own that’s of much lower quality or that you didn’t spend a lot of money on. I bet you take much, much better care of that pricey item than you do its cheaper counterpart.

You can apply that same line of thinking to your bedlinens — the higher quality the sheets (and the more money you two spent to own them!) the more likely you guys will be to treat your bed like the special place it should be for you. And that includes being much more prone to make the bed up in the morning.

Plus, then you’ll have really nice sheets and everyone knows that the best feeling in the world is sliding in between a set of fresh, crisp sheets at the end of a taxing day. And you can’t achieve that fresh, crisp sheet feeling unless the bed has been made!

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and the author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.