Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Decline of Western Civilization (or, The Lost Art of Bedmaking)

I know it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well, but I like things a certain way. There are multiple tasks, procedures, and methods of which I am absolutely certain that the world would come to a screeching end if there were no one on Earth to do them properly. Folding towels, hanging clothes, and making beds are my top 3.

I cringe when I hear a wife/mother say with a giggle, "Oh, I am a terrible housekeeper. I just can't keep up, so we live with the disorder and chaos!" Would we find it so funny if she were talking about a paying job? As if any profession that paid money could be as pivotal as being a SAHM. Children need order. Our husbands deserve a tidy, well-ordered home. I know that I function better when the house is picked-up. We bless ourselves and our families when we learn how to do our job properly. It isn't helpful to anyone when there are no matching socks in the drawer, or the beds are so untidy and dirty that they're not a comfort at the end of the day. I wholeheartedly believe that keeping house is pivotal to being civilized. It's as necessary as table manners and Great Books.

That brings me to the heart of my post - How To Make a Bed Properly. This is the way civilized people do it. ; )

First, we start with a fitted sheet, with the elastic snug UNDER all four corners, and all four sides pulled down, under the four sides of the mattress.

Next, we put on the flat sheet. The deepest hem goes at the head of the bed. The sides of the sheet that are hanging down on each side of the mattress are equal in length - no lopsided sheets! (A little trick for that: if, when you store your sheets, your first fold is lengthways in half, you'll have a fold-line right down the middle of the flat sheet to guide you when you put your sheets on the bed.) You'll notice that the print on the flat sheet faces the mattress, NOT the ceiling! There's a good reason for that!

Because when you fold your top sheet down over your blankets/comforter/quilt, or you like to turn down the bed to warm the sheets before getting into bed, the attractive side is visible. Also, this is usually the side on which the nap is on a flannel sheet. You'll be warmer this way.

Now that we have the head of the bed tidy, let's look at the foot of the bed. (You've smoothed out all the wrinkles in your sheet, right? Everything's pretty?) At the foot of the bed, you will tuck in your sheet. I don't care if you like to put your feet out at the end of the bed! We are civilized human beings! We tuck in the sheet at the bottom! Stick your feet out the side, if you must, but keep that sheet tucked. We are not bachelors living in squalor. We are the mistresses of households! We are the keepers of civilization!

Now, you'll notice in the picture below, the corner isn't exactly perfect. We can fix that, easy-peasy. I've always called it a hospital corner, the fold I'm about to show you. You call it whatever you like, as long as you do it.

From the foot of the bed, eyeball about a foot or so toward the head of the bed. Grasp the bottom of the sheet there, and ...

flip it up to the top of the bed. Tuck in whatever still hangs below the bottom of the mattress. (Pay no attention to all the bedding on the floor. It was wash-day for linens, and it all ended up in the laundry. I had to take pictures before I was interrupted, so I didn't have time to make things pretty for my pictures. Such is life.)

Now, flip that bit of sheet back down, smooth your sheet again, and do the other corner.

I'm guessing that you don't need me to show you how to put on your top blankets. Just pull the quilt up to right below the top hem of the flat sheet, with both sides of the quilt or blanket hanging down equally on each side of the bed. Tuck in middle-layer blankets, hospital corners and all. No need to tuck in the bottom of a quilt, as it will pull the stitches of the quilt. Besides, we want to see all of the quilt. It's made to be enjoyed for its beauty. (Don't tuck comforters, either, unless you like bending your mattress and sleeping with your feet elevated.) At the head of the bed, fold that deep hem of the top sheet over the edge of the quilt at the head of your bed. It protects the edge of the quilt, and lets you show off your pretty sheets. (And since you put them on the right way, we can see the print, if there is one!) Fluff your pillows, pile them on, and you're done.

A word on daily bed making: I firmly believe in the need to let the bed "air" before making the bed for the day. Some people feel just as firmly that a bed should be made as soon as it's vacant. I like to, weather permitting, open the windows in the bedroom, leaving the bed unmade, while I feed the hordes and take my shower. When I come back to my bedroom (about an hour after I wake), I make the bed. That means I do ONE LAYER AT A TIME. Pull up the sheet, then the blanket, then the quilt. We do not do all the layers at the same time - blankets and sheets shift overnight. Husbands steal bedding and untuck sheets! (True. I've seen it.) It takes me about 3 minutes to make my bed every morning. But I enjoy getting into a made bed at night - smooth, unwrinkled sheets, with flat, pretty blankets. If I just pulled all the covers up together, in about 2 days I'd have a mess that would need more than 3 minutes of attention. If my sons (ages 10, 7, and 5) can make a bed properly, (and they can, because I taught them to) so can you!

There you are. My bed-making manifesto. I feel so much better having gotten that off my chest.

1 comment:

Annie said...

the lab instructors are going to love you :)