Your alarm sounds, you hit snooze, and you curl back up into the sheets, hitting peak comfort just as it's time to rise from your eight-hour slumber. It's like a form of torture: the adult responsibility of reluctantly getting up in the morning and making your bed. It's making your bed, however, that could set the tone for the day ahead, whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, exhausted and cranky, or you're ready to slay your goals with a smile and pep in your step.
Maybe you're the type of person who pays no mind to turning up the sheets before you head out for the day; maybe you're someone who can't get ready until the bed is made; maybe you wish you had time to tidy up in the morning, but you're consistently running late. To further decipher what your morning routine says about you, I spoke with Dr. Nikki Martinez, psychologist, LCPC, and organization expert Kelly McMenamin, co-founder of PixiesDidIt! and co-author of Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality.
As Martinez tells Bustle via email, "[Not making your bed in the morning] is not necessarily the sign of a lazy person, but of one who does not place an importance on this activity. Some people do this as a mental process that tells them sleep is over; things are tidied up, and they are ready for the day. Sleep is over, time to work. Other people view it as a useless activity, as they feel they are the only ones who will see it, and it does not represent that transition to them. Others, still, just run late and don't do it, and probably would if they were more organized and had more time."
Whether you do, you don't, or you wish you did, tidying up in the morning is a habit that sets the tone for the rest of the day, and likely reflects a greater majority of your personality traits. Here are seven things it says about your personality if you don't make your bed in the morning.
You're Relatively Unorganized
"[The non-bed-maker personality types] don’t need to-do lists to get things done, and their homes often are more cluttered. ... [They] don’t need the bed made to have their mind free and clear," McMenamin explains.
If you're someone who doesn't even consider making their bed in the morning, it's likely your lifestyle is characteristically unorganized. That doesn't mean, however, you're a scatter-brained hot mess. If making your bed isn't habit, it has no negative effect on your mental clarity.
To touch on the opposing personality type, McMenamin adds, "The people who need to make their beds to have productive days also need to keep calendars and to-do lists. They also tend to have less clutter and more things hidden away. The type [of person who] religiously does makes their bed in the morning almost HAS to do so to keep their mind free and clear."
You Like Not Knowing What Happens Next
"[Someone who does not make their bed in the morning is] someone who takes things as they come and flies by the seat of their pants. [Someone who does make their bed in the morning is] someone who places a high value on order and how it makes them feel, versus someone who puts little importance on it, and does not feel anxiety from that," Martinez suggests.
Not making your bed in the morning might be an indication that you probably don't follow a daily schedule, and you like it that way. Always knowing what happens next becomes monotonous and boring, and your ability to feel free of chains without added anxiety is a personal characteristic you value.
You're Likely Preoccupied By Many Things At Once
"There is something to be said for having an organized and clean living space. When I have had patients who are anxious at home, I have often asked about their living environment. Often, I find out it is cluttered, unorganized, things are not unpacked, and there is a general level of disarray. When I suggest ways to clean and organize the environment, they genuinely feel a decrease in their anxiety level, as their environment becomes more pleasing, more calm, and content, and more of the haven it should be," Martinez reflects.
If you've heard of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo, you're more inclined to believe that a clean environment and simplified lifestyle is the key to living without worry or stress. As Martinez mentions, an organized living space leaves you vulnerable to feeling calmer and less anxious.
According to McMenamin, however, "Leaving your bed unmade only contributes to the clutter of the space and mind if you’re one specific personality type which we call a Classic. [This type of person makes] up about 40 percent of the population. There are two other personality types that truly like to make their beds: Organic Structures and Smart Structures. But the rest could take it or leave it, depending on how they were raised and aesthetics." In other words, your specific personality type determines to what degree your mental clarity will be affected by your environment.
You Have Trouble Making Decisions
"An untidy space can be a sign of a person who has trouble making decisions about where things should go, [so] they default to just putting everything into one big pile or decisions pile up and a space becomes untidy," McMenamin writes.
Simply put, an indecisive person is more likely to skip over matters that aren't pressing in favor of those that are time sensitive. This pattern of behavior will ultimately contribute to a more cluttered environment and lead to a longer to-do list in time.
You Sometimes Struggle With Time Management
"[A person who maintains a cluttered space is] struggling with their time management, anxiety management, and organizational skills, or they are a person who placed little weight on their environment needing to be orderly. There are definitely some of each, and some people simply do not place weight on it. However, even those who don't, would likely feel better if their place were in a complete 'made,' fixed, and organized manner – something they would not realize until it is done on a regular basis," Martinez says factually.
The morning hours are some of the most stressful of the day, as most people attempt to juggle a number of things with aspirations set the night prior, like working out, preparing lunch, making breakfast, tending to pets, and even parenting. Time management has been proven over and over again to be the biggest stress reliever, but it's also the most difficult method to practically apply for someone who isn't great at it.
If this sounds like you, taking steps to slowly become more organized with your schedule, by doing things like making your bed in the morning in what takes all of two minutes, will help you feel less stress.
You're Most Likely A Procrastinator
"I do think you will see someone's work ethic reflected in simple behaviors like making a bed, and keeping a structured and tidy place. They are likely structured in their schedule and work, and are keenly aware of deadlines and tasks. They really believe the root of their being starts at home, and that a clean slate and structure puts them at ease. Their counterparts are likely not as schedule- and task-driven. They are often less organized, working up until a deadline, or missing them. They are running late, struggling to organize, and to prioritize themselves and their lives. While they may think they don't care, they will benefit from some activities of their peers," Martinez recommends.
Someone who does not make their bed in the morning, as previously mentioned, tends to put off tasks that aren't pressing, essentially adding to the future pressure of meeting deadlines and prioritizing. Procrastination is easy, but the consequences show no mercy.
You Like To Keep Things Interesting, Sans Structure
"[Adding routine to your life] simplifies it, as if you make keeping things tidy and in their place part of your routine, it is never a daunting task. You simply put things where they go when you are done with them. While the first time you organize might take some time, it is the only time this will be an issue, and it will be well worth the time and effort to have done it," Martinez says.
Sure, making your bed every morning and creating a structured routine would make life a lot easier, but that's not how you roll. You prefer keeping things interesting, meaning maybe one day you make your bed and the next day, you don't. Simplicity might mean less stress, but the hustle and sense of urgency keeps you on your toes, and you thrive off of that.
Despite popular perception, not making your bed in the morning doesn't make you a lazy person. At the end of the day, if you're crawling beneath the sheets with a clear mind and sense of achievement, an unmade bed has no effect on your success.