A couple of weeks ago, I was at a gathering of mothers. The discussion of child-training was among us, and one of the examples used was the age at which a child had the ability to make their own bed.

There was much nodding and murmuring of agreements as one Mom shared her own experiences with bed-making as a benchmark in personal responsibility and effort.

And I sat quietly, trying to blend in, to not lie with my body language, and to still appear to be a decent mother being.

Because my children do not make their beds.

Nor do I.

And, to be more shameful, (because that’s what I do here at this blog), the only time any bed in our household gets made is when our fantastically angelic cleaning fairies visit us every other week.

Except for Ali’s – because she has actually asked them to not ever make her bed. Because it would ruin her painstakingly-created Fellowship of Cotton-Filled Friends.

Bed wih Stuffed Animals

And I’m okay with that.

(As is Noah anytime he can sneak into Plush Paradise, where he could go for days without being detected.)

Toddler with Stuffed Animals

Let me know when you breathe again now that you’re fully aware of my severe lack of household discipline, then we’ll continue.

Okay. Ready?

Here’s my bed-making negligence excuse: Motherhood is engorged with jobs that have to be repeated over. And over. And over.

Diapers MUST be changed.

Dishes MUST be washed (unless you want to use all paper and plastic and have an Environmental Task Force knocking down your door.)

Children MUST be bathed (thank goodness not as often as diapers need to be changed.)

Food MUST be cooked (or at least thrown on a plate and pitched to the children.)

Bedtime songs must be sung, teeth must be brushed, books must be read, toys must be picked up, naps absolutely must be sought, clothes must be washed, shoes must be found but good luck with that, car seats must be buckled and unbuckled and re-buckled, and noses must be wiped.

It’s a job of rinse and repeat. And as such, I prefer to eliminate any and all unnecessary repetitive parts of my life.

And bed-making is the flagship derelict of this group.

Because who sees my bed? How does it benefit me or anyone else to have a made bed between the hours of 8am and 11pm?

(Yes there’s another shameful admission in that last sentence.)

And how many compiled years of my daughter’s life would be wasted if I made her move 156 stuffed friends every morning simply so that she could pull her blanket smoothly across the plane of her mattress?

Or maybe I’m just lazy.

So tell me. What do you do? Do you make your bed, do your kids make their beds, and at what age did you begin to require it? I think we might just need a scientific study.

85 thoughts on “The Bed-Making Conundrum.

  1. The only time we make beds is after we wash the sheets or when company is coming over! Another admission, I don’t fold my kids clothes. I stack the shirts and pants in the drawers and let them deal with it. They don’t refold the 5 shirts they pull out while looking for their favorite and just shove them back in there…so why bother folding them when all my hard work will be destroyed the next day. I do hang up their nice clothes, but only to avoid having to iron. ;-)

  2. My kids do not make their beds (oldest is 3, second is 1.5 (will barely stay in the bed), third is in utero for approx 4 more weeks). I do not make my bed, unless some one is coming over that cares (i.e. my mom). My husband didn’t even know what “making a bed” meant when we got married.

    I DO however have to make sure my sheets are straight when I get in the bed at night… pet peeve.

    In all honesty, as long as the sheets are off the floor I’m good with it. There are MUCH bigger issues to address than making a bed look pretty (for a few hours at a time between naps and bedtime), and I am way more concerned that I don’t have child building sandcastles in the litterbox or attempting to jump down a full flight of stairs.

    :) You’re a great mom that loves her kids – that’s what matters!

  3. Im more than a little jealous of Ali’s zebra pillow friend. Team Zebra is gonna have to find us some of those! Tendai has just started being given the job of making her own bed- bc it is SOMETHING she CAN do- and she only sleeps with one stuffed animal so making it isnt such a mammoth undertaking. There are not many chores at her age she CAN do, aside from her bed and cleaning up her toys, so I like to make sure she does have SOMETHING she does daily- more for a sense of discipline and doing “her part” than because the bed actually NEEDS to be made or anything.

  4. You must be my twin sister! I could have written that post word for word. Except that you have fantastic angelic cleaning fairies. Could you send them to my house please? I try to make my beds when company comes, but I don’t even know why? They never go into our bedrooms.

    1. I am a huge proponent of Cleaning Fairies. They’re way less expensive that you might think (at least in my city), and I long ago realized that I cannot even come close to “doing it all”, and that’s one thing I’d rather not do.

  5. I like for our bed to be made each morning. I think it makes the room look like it’s cleaner than it actually is. As for the kids bed, if they ever sleep in their own beds, I’ll try to have them making the bed start about age 6. It will probably be more like 14, when they actually sleep in their own bed. Oh well! Maybe at 6 I’ll have them making our bed.

  6. Hooray for not making beds! I do not make my bed – nor do I make my son (who is 9) make his, unless of course we just washed the sheets or company is coming over. I just don’t see the point – no one sees our beds, anyway. And I agree – if I can eliminate one more repetitive thing from the day (and this helps us get out the door in a timely manner), then I am all for it and won’t feel bad about it, either! :-)

  7. I do make my bed because I hate climbing into a messy bed at night. It feels like the sheets are dirty. I require my kids to make their beds if I can see them. So – the ones in the basement and the ones that are lofted probably don’t get made – and the world doesn’t end!!

    Also, if we were to compare cleaning chore lists – there would be things you do that I don’t.. When my kids were toddlers, my floors were much cleaner. You really could use the 5 second rule. Now – 2 seconds might be lethal. It’s all about seasons of life and choices/priorities. No science needed!

  8. My little one is still in a crib, so no bed-making there. But I NEED my bed to be made. I am not a neat person. At all. My house is almost always a disaster (do cleaning fairies deal with clutter, and find places for things that have no place??) (seriously, do they?), but I can’t have my bed unmade. It makes me cranky. Amidst all the chaos of my house and my life, when I come home from work at night, there’s a nicely made bed waiting for me.

    1. Cleaning fairies deal with some clutter, and the other clutter I’m forced to deal with so that they can actually clean. So all in all, yes – cleaning fairies are helpful to the clutter problem!

  9. My husband makes our bed, which I really appreciate.

    My big girls have bunk beds and “communities” on their beds…you know, an organized bed/pillow/blanket/stuffed animal thing. Rattle baby has to be by butterfly pillow who has to be by Dora who needs to be by striped blanket who has to have star kitty on top…

    Changing the sheets on bunk beds literally makes me sweat because it’s like exercising, so I feel like making the actual bed every day wouldn’t be the best way for my girls to start the day. Also, I don’t really care ;)

  10. Totally give yourself a break! Who has time for that? We definitely do not make beds around here, unless we’re going to have company- then, the bed serves as a handy place for visitors to stash purses and coats (since we don’t have closets in our old house).

  11. No bed making here. Jenna has the same furry friend problem. Too many to worry with. The kids beds are only made after washed sheets or company as well. And ours is adjusted at night before bed. I can’t stand for them not to be tucked in at the bottom and at least a little straight.

  12. I only started making the bed because that’s one thing that my husband hates, an unmade bed, Oh, he will have his clothes strewn about the room, leave lights on, let the dishes sit in the sink till I give in and wash them, etc, etc but the bed., HAS to be made in his eyes. Come to think of it, I might boycott that to get him to do things that bug me! haha thanks for the idea. And my little one can’t make his bed, he has a loft bed type thing going on, unless we want him falling off, it’s not getting made.

  13. No bed making around here except when I wash the sheets or if company is coming. And I wish I had those fairies to show up here once and a while! I completely agree with your reasoning, there are enough repetitive tasks in Motherhood. :)

  14. I completely believe it’s up to every family.
    I used to not make my bed but there was one day where I forgot my wallet (cause it was hidden in the blankets) and I drove 2 hours to the nearest airport to fly out, and no ID!
    So I make my bed out of sheer panic of the what if. :)

  15. My bed absolutely must be made (can’t fall asleep if the bed’s not tidy), but I’m not judge-y when others don’t make their beds. I make mine as soon as I step out of it in the morning, and I’m a very still sleeper, so it only takes a second. When I was a kid my mom didn’t require me to make my bed, but I knew she preferred it that way, so I did it. Left up to the husband, it would never get done.

  16. The only time we make the bed is when we wash the sheets. In fact, I prefer an unmade bed. I don’t like the restricted feeling of sheets tucked in by my feet. In fact, when we stay in a hotel, the first thing I do when I get in bed is untuck the top sheet and blankets.

  17. No bed making here…unless people are expected. Most of our beds are in full view on the quick trip to the bathroom, thus my attempts at looking like I’ve got my junk together.

  18. We make our beds, every morning. I am not a meticulous housekeeper, but I do require beds be made. Our girls are 17 & 12 and have both been making their beds once they started school, age 5.

    As they turned 10 both were taught how to do their own laundry. Saturday is their laundry day, and they are expected to complete the task that day (washing, folding and putting their clothes away.)

    It’s been a long time since I have heard, “Mom, the shirt I wanted to wear today isn’t clean,’ now that it is their responsibility. :o)

  19. Nope, never make the beds except when we have company, and unless I think it’s likely they’ll see my bedroom (like when there’s an infant who may need a quite spot to nap, or if I host a winter dinner party when people may leave coats on my bed), I usually just make the kids’ bed and shut my own door. Interestingly, my parents who have religiously made their bed through 40+ years of marriage, recently told me they’d stopped, because it seems so pointless.

  20. My mom always tried to get me to make my bed, but it rarely happened. In college my roommates usually didn’t make their beds either. Now that I’m married I rarely make my bed. My opinion is that the bed is more comfortable when you leave it the way it is. When you make it all the blankets get switched around and then you have to readjust everything at night.

    I don’t know how I’ll teach it when I have kids. Because a made bed definitely makes the room look better, and I want my kids to be clean, but since I never do it how can I expect them to?

  21. Our beds only get made when I’m putting clean sheets on them. I feel the same way you do about all the repetitive tasks.

  22. I have never understood making a bed that will be unmade over and over again. Seems a waste of time to do something then have to undo it hours later.
    My two kids don’t even sleep under a comforter (much to my mother’s horror). They make a nest of pillows, stuffed animals, and blankies. They swear it makes them sleep better and as a mom we all know that anything that makes bedtime attainable is “good”.

  23. Its actually healthier to leave a bed unmade, with the top layers thrown back to air, than it is to make them. Leaving the bed to air dries off the moisture lost from the body in perspiration and makes the bed a less attractive environment for the house dust mites who live on shed skin cells. I know euwwwwwwwwwwww……well i am just sayin’

  24. Nope, no made beds here. They get made when the sheets are changed, and when we had the house on the market I kept them made in case of sudden showings, but that’s it. Otherwise, they just get straightened out once in a while when I crawl into bed and realize the blankets are too twisted.

  25. My whole house can be falling apart-and it usually is, but my bed HAS to be made. I guess it is just my thing. Our house is so small so making the beds really helps it feel less cluttered and crazy. I use my bed for my laundry surface to fold clothes so it has to be made. The kids don’t make theirs nearly as much as I would like, but that is my fault for not checking and following through.

  26. Nope. I don’t make the bed. Only when I change sheets or company comes over (like most other un-bed makers). I’m good with it.
    My kids didn’t make their beds either though my daughter does now. Go figure.

  27. I attended a conservative college where we actually had room checks each morning and our beds had to be made. So, I made my bed at the beginning of each semester and slept on top of the comforter. I covered myself with one blanket to sleep, which I folded down at the foot of the bed each morning.
    Now, I only make my bed when new sheets are put on the bed. Let’s not discuss the infrequency of that.

  28. I don’t make our kids make their beds unless I’ve just washed their sheets. I hadn’t really realized the scientific reason as you have put it! I feel so vindicated to know I’m not the only one!

  29. Hi, my name is Giann and I haven’t made my bed in 8 years. I would like to thank Middle and High school for helping me accomplish this goal.

    * * * * *
    But, really. Why do you have to make your bed?? You’re just going to get back in it for either a nap or to go to sleep! And I only allow close friends into my room so….

  30. The only time we make the beds is when guests are coming over! Because there are more important battles to be won over in our house! Looking forward to your Highly Scientific Study results. =)

  31. No beds made over here either, unless it’s a special occasion like clean sheets or company. In fact, at a recent hotel stay, my kids had to untuck all the sheets because they couldn’t get comfy. We all sleep with the covers only across our torsos, unless it’s cold, but Yay Florida!

  32. I don’t make my bed. Only when we change the sheet is it made. My husband likes to “make” the bed right before we go to sleep (just straightening out the covers), but it is normally after I’m already in the bed and it drives me nuts!

    We sometimes try to get our daughter to make her bed every day and I’m just waiting on her to call us out on our hypocrisy. In her case though, she normally has all of her toys on her bed and she sleeps on top of the comforter anyway.

  33. We are 50/50. I was raised with everything looking perfect like we didn’t even live there. {so annoying} But here I am hard wired that way, much to my dismay. We make beds and keep our rooms fairly presentable. Mostly, b/c as mentioned it makes the room feel cleaner and things less cluttered. I can’t stand clutter, it causes a nervous twitch in which meds are required. :) However, there are days like today that I couldn’t give a flip less if anything is picked up {well, within reason}. My daughter is 4 and she knows how to make a bed and clean a room, but does she? nope. She is a P-I-G! How she sprung from my uterus I will NEVER know! And my son is neat and tidy as 2.5 year olds go. It’s astounding really. All this to say I have found a middle ground of keeping the clutter at bay and the appearance of cleanliness, but just don’t take a white glove to my house. I don’t think any less of anyone who doesn’t make beds. I am actually proud of you and wish I could be more that way.

  34. Ok, I NEVER make my bed. In fact, it would not occur to me to make this a “thing” for Anderson to do in the future. I’ve heard that there are…hold on to your hat…ACTUAL HEALTH BENEFITS to NOT making up your bed. I’ll have to find a link to share with you. Anyway, I don’t see the point either.

  35. My kids are 2 and 3 months old. They are not at the bed-making age yet. I don’t plan on having them make their bed even when they do reach an appropriate bed-making age (what age is that anyway?). I was never made to make my bed growing up (except when I went to my Noni’s house – she made me make the bed). I’m fine. My sheets get changed as often as I can (the only time my bed gets made is when I change the sheets). I’m so glad there are other non-making bed people out there!

  36. I almost never make my own bed! However, I do firmly believe that every child (and adult) should know how to make a bed properly. I would never leave my grandma’s or MIL’s house without making the bed (or taking off the sheets and laundering). Someday your kids might have to impress their MIL/FIL. Once they pass the hospital corners test–then no need to do it at home.

  37. I am surprised by the number of people who don’t make their beds! I’m not judging, just surprised! I do make our bed every day. Like MamaHen said, our house is smaller and the room looks less cluttered if I make the bed. My bed is not made perfectly….no hospital corners! I just lay the sheets and comforter neatly over the bed.

    My 4 year old does not make his bed. He also has lots of stuffed animals and is hot at night, so he just sleeps with a throw blanket or two.

  38. My kids refuse to sleep under the covers which works fine for me because I never have to make their beds (or tell them to). I think it’s because I put them in blanket sleepers until they were two so they never had any sheets, blankets, or comforters for their first two years and got used to it. At least that’s my guess. They sleep on top of their quilts with their special “blankies”. I do make my bed because I read somewhere that if you have a small room and make your bed, 75% of your room is clean! It totally feels like it too. If my bed is unmade I feel like the room is a mess, and if it IS made I feel like the room is clean…even though it’s really not. :) I’m not talking nicely made, just the covers mostly pulled up and smooth. To me it’s worth the extra 30 seconds it takes!

  39. AMEN! I am with you on all of this–our beds are also only made every-other week when the house cleaning fairy arrives in all her Red Bull splendor. Heck, even when I change the sheets, I really only put the fitted sheet on nicely and figure the top sheet will work its way out when I go to bed later.

  40. We try to make the beds as part of an attempt to keep our physical environment calm and orderly. I naturally tend towards a rather “hectic” schedule, but if I allow the house to reflect our chaotic schedule we stop being able to cope after a few days. Plus Then no one can find anything!

    Just making the bed makes everything feel more under control. Also, I am deeply embarrassed if anyone else sees my unmade bed!

    Although I do only tend to make it once per day… (And I crawl in several times to nurse the baby!)

  41. I never made my bed… until I went to summer camp and learned that if we had our beds made and cleaned, we could win honor cabin… so there’s that. Now, I always make my bed unless I’m super rushed!(:

  42. Our bed gets made 2 possibly 3 times a week just because it feels better to get into a straightened bed at night. With a 6ft 3in husband the sheets get all messed up after a couple of days. The kid’s gets made after I wash the sheets because making a bunk bed that’s against a wall is frustrating. When we move they will no longer be stacked.

  43. So we typically make our bed in the morning however I can not say it is complicated as some. We do not go for the decorative pillows, etc. It is the sheet and quilt pulled up, then of course a minion will come and sneak in under the covers and we do not bother after that. As for those 2 minions, ages 6 and almost 3, we do not require it. I can not stand sheet washing day. My oldest ends up with books and stuffed animals, woodland creatures, the kitchen sink, etc. in there. So when it is time to change the sheets I sift thrugh that, find the stuff that has fallen in between the wall and bed, and just end up pissy for awhile. I remake the bed nicely and she comes home and I will have to say always gets excited about how great it looks and then the million items go right back in. My youngest has that awful bedrail to deal with and she will only sleep with a quilt! Oh and the youngest does the same thing as your little one, she sneaks in, gets under the covers and surrounds herself with her sisters stuffed toys! I wish I had cleaning fairies… My husband does not understand that but then he does not ca about a little dust. My Mom is temporarily living with us and she does care about every freaking little bit of dirt. I need cleaning fairies.

  44. I get out of bed and Hubby gets in. Ah! The joys of opposite schedules. It’s an excuse for the few hour each evening when the bed is unoccupied and still not made. I do have to straighten everything out before I get in at night though. I do ask my kids to make their beds. It’s nothing compared to how I would make them but it just keeps things tidier. I would make my bed if it weren’t occupied most of the day…I think.

  45. I make my bed b/c my husband really wants the bed made and to be honest, it has grown on me. Now, I really like it made as well. Just, please, don’t ask me how often I change the sheets! My children deal with the bed making issue in different ways. 12 yo daughter simply covers up a huge mess by pulling her giganto comforter over top of it. Easy peasy. My little man (8 yo) sleeps on tops of the covers so that he won’t have to make his bed.

  46. This is one job that I do every.single.day, even when on vacation (if somewhere there is no maid service). I have my six year old do his on the weekends, but I get it for him on schooldays. I just like for the sheets to be neat when I get in bed at night, so I do it every day. Other than making sure the kitchen sink is not full of dirty dishes at night, this in the only job that actually gets done on a regular basis…. my house is not spotless by any stretch of the imagination!

  47. I’ve actually read that making your bed is worse than not making it because it gives bacteria a dark, oxygen deprived place to breed…and even though I’m not a germophobe, that’s a good enough reason for me. The only time a bed is made in my house is when someone leaves and I wash the guest room sheets and make the bed until the next guest arrives.

  48. Picture me singing this in whatever is your most exuberant church-singing song that uses it as possible: AMEN!!! (in my head it’s a long, drawn out with up-and-down-warbles ‘Amen!’). I agree (obviously) about not wasting time on things that are just not important. Of which I deem bed-making to be one of them. In my house I just throw the covers back over my bed and sometimes pass over them with my hand. It is never a must. I do find a made-up bed to look nice and lend a feeling of cleaned-up ness to an otherwise messy bedroom, but for me it just isn’t something I ever understood being made to do because ‘but MOOOOOOOM, I’m just going to UN make it when I get back into bed tonight!’ :) Also, love the photo of Noah in the pile of stuffed animals, he blends in so well!

  49. I don’t make the beds either. I’m with you for the same reasons. Currently my children’s beds are all piles of different sizes of blankets that defy order. They like it and it’s easy. I do make my bed once, right after I wash the sheets… and now that I think about it, my sheets need washed and I can’t remember the last time the boy’s sheets were washed.

  50. I have felt exactly this way since I was 13 years old, when my mom (finally) gave up on making me make my bed every day. I do enjoy a freshly-made bed, but not nearly enough to engage in the ridiculously repetitive and unnecessary task of doing it every. single. day, much less requiring my children to do it. I change the sheets when they’re dirty (which with two of them sleeping in diapers is actually more frequently than I would change them otherwise), and, at bedtime, I straighten their blankets enough to be able to cover them up and tuck them in. Every now and then, my husband and I get on a “reclaim our bedroom!” kick, and our bed always gets made nicely as part of that. But, every day? So. not. worth. it.

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