Do you make your bed every single morning? How many times have you been told to make your bed by your parents?
I have never been great at making my bed; I would sporadically make it, but the majority of the time I would just leave it in its unseemly state. Since coming to college I make my bed even less frequently (in my defense, lofted beds are very difficult to manage!) However, both at home and at college I noticed that when my bed wasn’t made, the rest of my room became disorganized and the floor quickly disappeared under a mass of clothes, homework, and trash.
In response to the disaster that was my room, I was more stressed, especially when I was running late, and less productive. Coming home to a messy room and an unmade bed instantly put a damper on my mood. This experiment of living was definitely not working out for me.
On the occasions that I did make my bed, I found myself not wanting to mess up the rest of my room, it just didn’t seem right to have a messy room with a neatly made bed. I felt more relaxed and happy when my bed was made. However, I didn’t change my bed making habits, despite the fact that making my bed obviously positively affected me. What made me determined to change my bad habit was looking at people who did consistently make their beds.
This past month my roommate was talking about her cognitive science class. Apparently when you make your bed you are more likely to be happier and more productive. No matter how bad or unproductive your day has been, at least you accomplished something. A small win can have a huge impact on your life.
People who make their beds every single morning are on to something big. Founder of the happiness project, Gretchen Rubin, advocates for people making their beds everyday saying that, “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” Charles Duhigg, who wrote “The Power of Habit”, expresses the importance of making small habit changes because they lead to larger life-altering changes and improvements (such as becoming a happier and/or more productive person.)
As it turns out, it is worth it to make your bed. People are catching on to this phenomena. There are numerous articles and blogs about the positive affects of starting to make your bed every morning, and many people who were former non-bed-makers write stories about converting because they see how happy those bed-makers are!
However, I think that in order to really appreciate all the good things that come with a bed-making habit, you have to make the decision to make your bed by yourself, rather than just doing it because your parents tell you to. You may come to see that it is a good way of life by looking at how and why this experiment of living has worked for others. As philosopher John Stuart Mill says, “though the customs be both good as customs, and suitable to him, yet to conform to custom, merely as custom, does not educate or develope in him any of the qualities which are the distinctive endowment of a human being.” Hopefully most people can realize why making your bed is a logical “custom” without having to make the mistake of not making their bed.
So, I tried an experiment of living by not making my bed for most of my life, and I have recently realized that it is not the way to live. My little sister saw how I was living, and the abyss that was my room, and this led her to start making her bed (almost) every morning. She has been spared the downward spiral that comes along with not making your bed. Perhaps I did my little sister a favor by not making my bed, as she now knows that this experiment is not good. Mill would appreciate this occurrence, because my bad experiment of living had a positive impact on other people.
Making your bed is a superior experiment of living compared to not making your bed. It is an experiment of living that involves self-discipline and benefits both the individual and society.
After looking at the happiness other people receive from making their beds, and my wretchedness that comes from not making my bed, I have made a new resolution: I will make my bed every single morning. *Fingers crossed*