Does it make a difference if you make your bed in the morning?

BedI once did a consultation for a family who asked me to do a healthy home survey for a property they were thinking of buying. We met at the family’s current home and drove from there to the proposed new home.

What was so interesting about the day was how messy and cluttered the current home was, with clothes and children’s toys strewn all over the floors of just about every room and passageway, and how neat and ordered the new house was. Both were occupied by families of two adults and two small children, and both mothers were full-time mums, but the way they ran their homes and brought up their children was so different.

‘Ah, yes,’ said the mother of the beautifully tidy home, when I commented on how well organized it was. ‘Even when my children were too small to make their own beds, I taught them to at least try to pull the covers up even the tiniest bit.’ She mimed a toddler attempting with all their might to pull their bed cover just a few inches up the bed. ‘It begins with something as simple as that.’

I recall another occasion when I was discussing teaching a residential space clearing course at the most elite hotel chain in Bali. I met with the Regional General Manager in person (it was he who had sought me out to lead an event there), and together we viewed the possible meeting rooms and residential suites. One of the suites he wanted to show me had only recently been vacated by hotel guests and had not yet received Housekeeping’s magic touch to restore it to a state of cleanliness and order. I remember to this day the look in his eyes as he surveyed the array of carelessly scattered towels and bedding.

‘You see, I was not brought up this way…’ was all he said, but it revealed so much about how structured his life was, and how he had been able to transpose that into his career and rise so rapidly to the top of his profession at such a young age. He was the warmest, most caring, and most hospitable hotel manager I have ever met, who took immense pleasure in catering for his guests’ every need and whim, but this did not mean he condoned slovenly behaviour. We became firm friends, and I led two very successful courses at one of his hotels before I left Bali to move back to the UK.

These two examples highlight not so much the value of making your bed each morning, but what it can lead to. When you begin your day in this way, it sets a certain structure in place for everything you subsequently do, and creates a clear and welcoming space for you to return to each night. When you leave your bedding in a messy heap, you will tend to muddle through the day until it’s time to fall back in to bed again. It’s good to peel back the covers to air your bedding for a few minutes each morning before making your bed, but leaving it that way all day doesn’t air it much more!

Taking this to an even deeper level, it is an undeniable fact that people with structure get things done. They are able to navigate life’s challenges, find solutions, and achieve great things. They are people of will. Conversely, people who lack structure are buffeted about by the winds of change, and tend to lead less satisfying lives, always wondering how to find more fulfillment.

And how do you build will, I hear you ask? In my Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui book, I explain that this is one of those million dollar questions, with no single or simple answer. Will has to be deliberately cultivated, a thousand times a day in every little way. Begin small and work your way up to great acts of will, which are sure to have a resounding effect in every aspect of your life.

So can making your bed really make a difference? When you do it with the express intention of creating a more structured start and end to your day, it most certainly can. Try it yourself for a few weeks and see.

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014

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12 Responses to Does it make a difference if you make your bed in the morning?

  1. susie says:

    I do try and make my bed most days, I dont always manage it. Out of interest what happens for people who have staff making beds for them, is that energy lost because they didnt make it themselves?


    • Hi Susie

      For most of the 20 years I lived in Bali, I had staff who did most of my household chores, including making my bed each day. From my experience of this, I concluded that it didn’t matter who made my bed each morning, as long as it got made.

      But I already have plenty of personal structure. I was lucky to be born that way. The reason I wrote this article was to help people who generally lack structure and are not so able to navigate life’s challenges. For this type of person, something as simple as making their own bed each day can help them to bring more structure to their life, which in turn can help them to achieve greater things.

  2. Mary says:

    I wholeheartedly agree! I was raised to make my bed as I was getting out of it. It’s such an ingrained habit that I still do it even today…after retiring from 35 years in education!

  3. Moreen says:

    I’ve not heard the comparison of bed making and life structure–certainly food for thought. Thanks for bringing that to light!

  4. Nicola says:

    Yes, most definitely!!

    I air my bed while I wash and dress and then make it nicely and clear my bedroom of any clutter. Takes 10 minutes max and makes the day go to plan and is lovely to come back to. On a rare day not done, the day spins out of order accordingly.

    My teenagers are a work in progress though

  5. Gillie says:

    I have been married for 20 years to a wonderful man who is the most untidy creature on the planet. Every morning I make the bed, if he is up after me I go back up and make it. If I get back later in the day I will go up and make it. I cannot bear the idea of an unmade bed and who would want to go to bed in an unmade bed? Twenty years on he is finally starting to make the bed. Not to my exacting standards (!) but the thought and the will is there. Only another twenty to go :)

    (and we are both products of an English boarding school education where our hospital corners were checked each day so I’m not sure about the nature/nurture debate!)

  6. Caroline says:

    I’m afraid I don’t make my bed in the morning when I get up (though I do plump up the pillows and leave the room tidy). I always fold back the duvet and leave it to air (as well as leaving one of the small windows in the bedroom open). If I’m home all day, I make it after lunch; but if I’m out all day, I make it when I get home. But I don’t leave the bed in a mess.

  7. Michaela says:

    I was raised making my bed every morning, and I considere myself a reasonably ordery person. I stopped making my bed after reading and seeing on TV – quite often over the past 20 years – that doing so created the perfect climate for all kinds of little “animals”. I feel much more comfortable now since my bed has all day to air out, and I have a good feeling every night I go to bed.
    Your point is well taken, but sometimes there are more options to consider. In this case, I prefer having a “cluttered” bedroom 😉

  8. thefolia says:

    This is the one place in my nest, that I let go. I reasoned that if I was structured with everything else in my nest, then I could let one area go a little messy. After reading this, I am curious to see how my days will be different. So far they are all carefree with no structure, I wonder how productive I am? It has been bothering me lately, how everyone can call on me at anytime to help out with their needs and I jump! I am also exhausted by the end of the day and prefer to get into my messy bed when the day is over. I will start the experiment today! Happy Nesting!

  9. Sian B says:

    Hi Karen,
    I always make my bed each day!! To leave it disheveled makes me feel that way myself! Every Monday I make bed with fresh ironed sheets and do the bed whacking you taught us in the workshop I attended in Bali! It was to whack the energy of whoever slept there before out if staying in hotel rooms etc! In my case, I whack away any stagnant energy I’ve left in past week in the bed and air the duvet out of the window and give it a good shake! I then sprinkle with lavender oil and it all feels so luscious to slip into. Feels a great way to start the week!

  10. Keri says:

    I totally agree with making your bed every morning. I have two grown children and they made their beds every morning growing up. I think it is a perfect start to the day and provides structure to children in such a simple basic way. I feel this so much so that I recently wrote a children’s book based on it. It is my first book and not yet published but I’m hoping for the best. Loved your thoughts on it as well.

  11. pandora G says:

    I consider making my bed, as getting my bed dressed each morning. I had been raised that “everything had it’s place”. Years ago when I was not feeling too well I would still make my bed, even if I could get out of bed. To me personally, a made bed represents feeling good, because I don’t have to get back into bed again during the day due to extreme illness.

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