What if I told you that there’s one simple household chore that helps you get things organized, improves the quality of your life and generally makes you a happier person? You may already be doing it without knowing its benefits, or if you’re not doing it, you might be alarmed by what the consequences may be.
May I ask, do you make your bed in the morning?
I ask this as I find myself taking yet another time management course, perhaps in a different package than the many versions I’ve taken before, but still, it’s the latest in a lifelong effort to handle a next to impossible work schedule. I had always thought that the main keys to effective use of time were to make lists and set priorities, but little did I suspect that all of this could be aided and abetted by simply making my bed in the morning.
A while back, I read something about a survey that demonstrated the significant differences between people who make their beds and people who don’t. The findings seemed to say that we were saints if we did and bums if we didn’t. Not finding the time to look up the research for the piece, I just let it linger on my mind, content in the knowledge that I was indeed a bed maker and therefore a virtuous person.
Certainly it wasn’t always that way with me. I must have been a little prince when I was a youngster because I’m pretty sure that my mother always made my bed for me. But when I packed myself off to military school, that life of luxury came to an abrupt end when I was required to make a bed with hospital corners that you could bounce a dime off.
By the time I returned home to go to public high school, it was required that I make my own bed, but my mother had to remind me to do it each and every morning.
Then came the independence of college when my bed was mostly a lump of tangled sheets and blankets. After graduation, as a bachelor in New York City, I may have been more focused on the possibility of making it in bed, rather than making it.
But once I abandoned that dreary lifestyle when I found the lady of my dreams, my resident ”neatnik,” making the bed became de rigueur. Now I can’t imagine leaving the house with a bed unmade.
When I finally found the time to research the “make it” vs. “don’t make it” survey, I traced the study to an interesting blog, blog.hunch.com, self-described as “the decision-making tool that’s better than fortune cookies,” with its findings on every subject based on surveys among its users.
The responses of some 68,000 users teach us some interesting facts about bed making, or not. We learn that only 27% of people make their own beds, while 60 percent don’t. The remainder are the lucky stiffs who get someone else to make it for them.
The differences between the “make it” and “don’t make it” populations are intriguing.
Those who make their beds tend to be in relationships, while those who don’t tend to be single. Bed makers most likely own their homes, while their counterparts rent. Makers are more likely to have a graduate degree and like their jobs, while non-makers don’t.
Bed makers do things in advance, are most productive in the morning, have photos of friends or family at work and are more advanced in their careers, while non-makers are more likely to not like their jobs, they procrastinate, don’t have photos of friends or family at work, and are closer to an entry level at work.
Bed makers make a grocery list and have a neat closet, while non-makers have library books that are overdue and a messy closet. Further, they eat meals in front of a computer and eat more fast food. Those who make their beds exercise more, feel well rested in the morning, prepare their own coffee at home, are better organized at both work and at home, and are optimistic. Non-bedmakers exercise less, wake up tired, buy coffee at a deli, are less organized and are pessimistic.
Whatever the status of my bed making, I do feel fairly well-organized at work but my home life would definitely leave much to be desired were it not for having a life partner who somehow manages to do all the things I find impossible to do.
Don’t hate me because I’ve rarely washed a load of clothes, shopped for groceries, or operated the dishwasher. But, if this research is valid, you can bet that I do take great pains in making a mean bed.
Bill Primavera is a residential and commercial Realtor® associated with Coldwell Banker, as well as a publicist and journalist writing regularly as The Home Guru. For questions about home maintenance or to buy or sell a home, he can be emailed at Bill@PrimaveraRealEstate.com or called directly at 914-522-2076.