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Slices of Life: Learning to tidy up

Jill Pertler

We all wake up in the morning — unless we work the night shift. Then we go to bed in the morning and wake in the evening.

But despite differing schedules, we all have some sort of beginning to our waking hours each day/night. We all have to wake up. The alternative isn't pretty.

Further, the vast majority of us sleep on a bed, with a pillow and some sort of covers to keep us warm and help us feel secure (at least that's how it is for me).

When our sleepfulness comes to an end, we open our eyes and hop (or drag ourselves) out from under the sheets. (Unless you are part of the 20-something generation that believes top sheets are an unnecessary detail to the bed. It's a trend. For real.)

For most, morning routines ensue as we try to scrub, straighten and brush out the dishevelment that eight hours of dream-filled shut-eye produces.

During this routine, two types of personalities emerge. This pertains to the details you pay attention to first thing in the morning. You probably have habits that involve personal care, but do you also pay homage to your sleeping space (whether it is with or sans top sheet)?

There are two types of people in this world: those who make the bed and those who don't. You are either one or the other, but not both.

People who don't make the bed may be realists who are concerned with time management. If you make your bed in the morning, you are only going to mess it up again at night, making the bed-making process necessary again in about 24-hours. Doing the same thing over and over, day after day may not seem like the best use of time.

I beg to differ. We do lots of things day after day, time after time. Showering. Changing underwear. Eating toast. Charging our phones. Worrying about things we can't change. Avoiding the laundry. Making the bed.

It takes less than a minute and lasts much longer than that. You can't say the same about other things pertaining to the bed.

You may have guessed: I am a bed-making advocate. I have my reasons.

Making the bed gets your day off to an orderly start. The pillows are in place, the sheets pulled taut. All is right with the world.

It is a quick and easy task that provides benefits and surprising repercussions — throughout the entire day. It's a good way to impress yourself. Each time you walk into the room you are reminded: Hey, I made the bed! I'm a doer. I get things done! We all benefit from feeling a little better about ourselves. We hold our heads a little higher. We walk with a skip in our step.

Brushing our teeth doesn't accomplish this and most of us complete that task at least twice each day.

Conversely, leaving the bed unmade reeks of disorder. Every time you walk into the room you will be reminded of the bedraggled state of your bed and perhaps your life. It will only serve to remind you of your shortcomings. None of us need that.

If you happen to get visitors, you don't have to rush to the bedroom to shut the door to hide the imperfection and disarray of your messy bed.

Finally, a made bed gives you something inviting to return to at night. Crisp covers are inviting. They are cool and sleek. There's no need to bend over and look under the bed or across the room to find your pillow. It will be right where you need it.

And you know where that is. On your neatly made, orderly and tidy bed.

Sweet dreams.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.