How to Make Your Bed Like a Soldier

updated May 7, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I love the look of a tightly made bed! And who makes a neater bed than the men and women of the military? Luckily, I stumbled upon a guide for making your bed like a solder — no basic training required.

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While the military uses bed making as a disciplinary act, it cannot be denied that a tightly made bed is also quite aesthetically pleasing. Now, thanks to the folks at The Art of Manliness, we get a tutorial in making a bed you can bounce a quarter off of.

The secret to a really tight bed is to forgo the fitted sheet in favor of a making hospital corners with a flat sheet. I’ve never quite been able to achieve a neat hospital corner but perhaps if I start following the advice from The Art of Manliness I’ll be able to do it at last.

First, start at the foot of the bed and tuck the end of the sheet under the mattress, keeping it smooth rather than simply bunching it under there. Now, move to the head of the bed and pull the sheet taut before tucking it under the mattress as you had at the foot of the bed. Now that the sheet is laying smoothly on the bed, secured at head and foot, it’s time to make those hospital corners. First, grab the sheet draping from the side about 16 inches from the foot of the bed, place one finger on top of the corner, lifting the sheet with the other hand, and then tuck the lower drape under the mattress. Then, hold the corner in place and bring the sheet over, making sure the fold creates a 45-degree angle. Finally, tuck the rest of the sheet under the bed, smoothing wrinkles as you go along. Repeat on all four corners of the bed. (There’s an illustrated version of this tutorial at The Art of Manliness.)

Now that the bottom sheet is on, it’s time to spread the top sheet and blankets on the bed. Again, smooth the sheet and blankets as you go along and then, using the same hospital corners as with the bottom sheet, tuck the sides under the mattress. Finish off the bed by folding the blanket and top sheet down from head of the bed and place pillow on top.

This may seem like a lot of work and, in the absence of a drill sergeant breathing down your neck, it may be tempting to leave your messy bed as is until you crawl in again after dark. With a little practice, however, this bed making routine will become second nature and you’ll be greeted by a tidy bed when you return from a long day fighting the battles of the real world.