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There have been times in my married life, where I have looked around my house and thought… where do I even begin?
Every time we’ve moved.
The time we crammed all of our possessions into a tiny upstairs apartment where the second bedroom was my son’s nursery, my husband’s office, his “garage”, and a storage unit all in one… and because everything didn’t fit in there, it was like an oozing monster that kept creeping into my living room, master bedroom and kitchen.
There was a period of time two years ago where I slowly emerged from an invalid state into a house that had not been kept in months. The dishes… the trash… the laundry… the clutter… I can’t even describe how horrifying the scene was. I shudder just to recall it.
And of course, there was the season after birth, where a combination of a cross-country move, colicky baby, no sleep, and poor health left me in a shaking heap on the verge of mental breakdown. The cycle of feed, console, pump, feed, console, pump, made clean dishes and clothes seem like the pinnacle of achievement.
Circumstances vary for all of us, but we’ve all been there at least a time or two, and unless you have someone that leaps in and saves your house for you while you can’t, you’ve surely stared Goliath in the face and felt the defeat and shame of an unkempt house.
In those times it is so easy to get frustrated, burnt out, and overwhelmed. We have a temptation to spend so much energy tackling the glaring issues that everything else unravels while we work.
So, what do you do? Where do you start?
The answer may surprise you.
When everything is out of control and the house feels like it is closing in on you…
Just stop and breathe. Don’t marathon. You’ll only crash and burn.
Go in your bedroom, and do this one thing.
Just make your bed.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make it.
I know it doesn’t seem important when you can simply close the door and no one will ever see or know that it isn’t made… but before you write it off, hear me out.
No matter what happens. No matter what kind of chaos ensues. No matter how the day starts… just make the bed.
I’ll tell you why, right now.
It’s a simple, doable accomplishment that makes a fairly large area of your home look clean without a lot of effort. It jump starts your day with a productive frame of mind. Before you even leave your room, you’ve achieved something, and the sight of it can remind you all day long, that you have accomplished a task. It sets the tone, not only for the room, but for the day. It inspires, motivates, and initiates an attitude of cleanliness for the rest of the room.
The bed is the central focus in your master bedroom. When it’s made, it demands respect. A sloppy bed goes hand in hand with a sloppy room. And this isn’t the only room where this applies. Every room actually, has a “bed” even if it’s not a bedroom. It’s the thing you focus on when you step foot inside. For the kitchen and bathrooms, it’s the sink. In the dining room, it’s the table. In the office, it’s the desk. Think about your home and your rooms and what the “bed” in each room is. When these central focal points of the room are kept clean, it takes the ‘edge off’ the rest of the room, even if it’s still in shambles. They set the mood and the standard.
Bed-making also establishes and reinforces a habit of maintenance. I have a major struggle with maintenance when there’s a big glaring issue in front of me. When we moved to Arkansas, Zane was still an extremely high-maintenance newborn and it was all I could do to manage him between the briefest winks of sleep. All of our possessions were in heaps and boxes in the living room. Running on fumes, I would spend all of my energy tackling that mess. After a day of hard work I would feel like I was getting somewhere only for Mark to come home in a state of panic because I didn’t have his uniform ready for his early shift the next day. Whatever I accomplished that day was lost in the utter defeat and failure I felt as I stayed up late again, when Zane WAS sleeping, to wash, dry, and iron Mark’s uniforms. In my rush for perfection, I was overlooking my husband.
Making your bed is a beacon of light in your home, steering you to what is most important.
It is an anchor into the world of habit, keeping you grounded in the understanding that your family and their immediate needs should come before your personal need to have a presentable house.
And…. how could we leave this out? A made-up bed is welcoming. It’s a comforting and restful sanctuary that feels good to climb into after a long day. And listen… don’t get embarrassed about this… it’s important. The bed is the “hub” of marriage. It’s the place that you and your hubby snuggle down and spend the most intimate times together. Making the bed is making a statement to your husband about the value of your marriage and this time together and if no other room in the house can sparkle this instant, the bed should!
Where you start your cleaning is a testimony of where your priorities are. It’s the trumpet of declaration to your family about who comes first. If your first concern is about the surface and what people will see and what they will think of you, you’ll neglect the most intimate spaces of your home in favor of entrances and rooms where you entertain guests.
Who are you trying to impress?
Is it about what people will think about you? Or is it about blessing your home, your family, and your marriage.
When I make my bed, it’s a daily reminder to be productive, to set a standard, to maintain a habit, and to put my family…. especially my husband, first.