Weekend Projects

Here’s a Simple Test to Make Sure You’re on the Correct Side of the Bed-Making Debate

published Sep 27, 2019
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Making your bed in the morning—even if you don’t do it—probably feels like one of those things you should be doing. Maybe it was on your chore chart as a kid, beside a row of empty squares waiting to be filled with gold stars. Or perhaps you saw this compelling YouTube video (over 7 million views!) of a Navy admiral delivering a speech about how making your bed can change the world.

We’re not here to finger-wag about a skipped habit or give you a pat on the back for sticking to a routine. There are benefits and downsides no matter where you fall on the bed-making spectrum, so it doesn’t matter what you decide. What does matter is intention—you should have purpose in whatever bed-making routine you choose.

There’s one simple way to inform your choice with experience: Do the opposite of what you normally do.

This Weekend: Change up your bed-making routine.

Trying out something new on the weekend is a low-commitment, no-harm way to test drive a habit that’s out of your norm without affecting the flow of your weekdays.

If you regularly make your bed, stop making it this weekend.

It may go against everything you’ve been taught and a habit that’s been ingrained since childhood, but not making your bed could actually improve your health. Dust mites, which contribute to allergy and asthma symptoms, thrive in humid, warm conditions—just like the conditions of an occupied bed. When you make your bed, these conditions persist, even though your body isn’t there. An unmade bed, on the other hand, allows your bedding to dry out and cool off, making conditions far less favorable for dust mites.

British scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home affect dust mite populations. One of the researchers, Dr. Stephen Pretlove, had this to say: “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.” If not making the bed ever needed justification, you can’t get much better than that.

If you never make your bed, make it this weekend.

If your daily routine involves rolling out of bed and leaving it lovingly rumpled, try making it. See if doing that one little productive task in the morning sets you up for a day of checking more things off your list. See if that tiny feeling of accomplishment gives you a sense of satisfaction and positivity. Does a crisply made bed bring a sense of order and calm to your bedroom, not only when you leave it, but when you return to it at night? There’s even some evidence to suggest that making your bed can boost productivity.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.