The philosophy of an unmade bed

Published January 21, 2014 by livinggraciously

Every “clean up your home” book tells you to make your bed every day. And for a long time I thought that was silly. In fact, I started this post almost a year ago from the presumption that it was silly.

Notice that “a year ago” thing. That’s important. Because two years is about how long this journal has lain fallow, gathering cobwebs.

It’s not that a lot hasn’t happened. 2013 was one of the most eventful years of my life. Some of it good, much of it bad.

I ran a bunch of 5ks. I completed 2 triathlons. We went to Hawaii. We got a dog.

Ferrett had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. A number of family members died. Our 5-year-old goddaughter was diagnosed with brain cancer.

And I had pretty much stopped journaling. Some of these events are recorded in my almost-equally-neglected Live Journal, but most of my internet interaction had moved over to the quicker but less permanent annals of Facebook and Spark People.I felt sort of bad about not following through here, but it was too much work, and took too much concentration. I was spending way too much time on the computer, and not really getting much constructive out of it. It was casually addicting, letting the hours slip by.

I wasn’t baking bread. I wasn’t quilting. I wasn’t reading books. I wasn’t gardening or doing as much cooking as I’d wish. I was, honestly, in the face of many crises, sort of just holding on. Getting enough work done to keep getting paid, but letting a lot else that made my life a good place just slide.

Then sometime in November, I started making the bed. Every morning. If I was out of the house before Ferrett was up, when I got home I would go and make the bed. It was suddenly, after many, many years, important to me. On the morning after my stepdad died, I made the bed. On Christmas morning, when we were all in crisis because my 6-year-old niece had seized the evening before and was lying unconscious in a hospital, I made the bed. On the morning when we got the good word that she was going to recover, I made the bed.

And then other things started happening in life. I began putting together menus again so that I can actually do the cooking I want to do to keep Ferrett and me healthy. I started quilting again. My workouts got more consistent. I have the next bread in the BBA Challenge, French bread, rising in the kitchen right now.

I can’t say for certain that it isn’t me kind of recovering from a tough year and regaining the energy to do all these things, but I know that starting the day with that one small ritual of making the bed causes me to then pick up any laundry or detritus in the bedroom, and I come out of it with a feeling that I’m starting out on the right foot. Now excuse me, I have French bread to make.

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4 comments on “The philosophy of an unmade bed

  • Amazing how one small thing like making the bed can set you on the right path. Welcome back, hon…and feel free to stop by with that bread 🙂

  • There’s a nagging service called “Flylady” you can subscribe to with daily housekeeping suggestions. I had to unsubscribe because it was too relentless, but one of her many bits of advice was the bed thing, along with “don’t go to bed with a dirty sink.” I have found that walking into a room and having it be neat and clean does wonders for my mood. Walking into a cluttered room brings me down. And it’s not guilt; I went years not making the bed because I thought it was a stupid waste of time. Now I make it every day, because it lifts me up.

  • Christina, I also can’t do Flylady because I would get too obsessed with it–I already spend too much time online as it is! But I know that the days when I don’t manage to empty the dishwasher and clean out the sink before I go to bed lead to mornings where everything feels overwhelming. So I totally get the “lifted up” aspect.

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