Millennials Don’t Give a Sheet

And They Don't Make Their Beds Either!

Millennials Don't Give a Sheet

I couldn’t sleep last night. As I tossed and turned, I read an article that got me in a dither: Millennials don’t give a sheet! That’s right – they are rejecting top sheets. So, of course, I got up on the wrong side of the bed today, and as I made the bed, I decided I wanted to vent about, of all things, all things bedding!

A lot has changed in the world of bedding since I was a little girl. First, there’s this sheet crisis!

Top Sheets No More

Apparently, top sheets are passé. People favor duvet – sans top sheets – instead of blankets. To this I say travesty! To this I say yuck! First of all, I don’t get the delight of a duvet. I always feel crushed under the weight of one.* Then, as the night progresses, I shiver as the comforter somehow always slides down to the bottom of the cover. And a duvet cover is a bear to launder, no less to iron.  Yes, give me my trusty top sheet, freshly and easily laundered each week, and a blanket for comfort, security, and a good night’s sleep if you please.

(* And now there are “weighted” “calming” blankets too. I cannot weigh in on those. It’s just a bedding innovation too far for my sleep-deprived mind.)

Speaking of Freshly Laundered

Changing the sheets weekly was an unbroken ritual in my mother’s home. And I do mean unbroken. Once, she broke her knee, a nasty injury requiring surgery. Nevertheless, that same week, cast on her leg, crutches under her arms, fortified by painkillers, she hobbled and hopped around the bed, yanking off the old sheets, replacing them with a clean, ironed (of course) set. Ignoring the pain, she folded perfect hospital corners and fluffed up the pillows. Finally, finished, she allowed herself the luxury of collapsing into bed and resting.

In My House

I only change the sheets every two weeks, but I do iron them (although admittedly I cheat, pressing only the pillowcases and the tippy tops of the top sheets). I think I’m safe in this admission. I don’t imagine there’s good Internet in Heaven … or if there is, my mother is probably already boycotting Muddling through Middle Age for some other awful housekeeping admission I’ve made.

Also in my house, I, like my mother, pile multiple “just for show” decorative pillows on the master bedroom and guest room beds. I’m not sure who the show is for, but you never know! I used to do this in my children’s rooms, but I got tired of picking up pillows off the floor and gave up. I guess the kids “showed” me!

More Bedroom Observations

While I’m on a ranting roll, how about the basic first-thing-out-of-bed ritual of making your bed? Today it is such a not-to-be-taken-for-granted routine that U.S. military leaders extol its virtue in widely viewed speeches. I kid you not!

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations, gave a speech, “Change the World by Making Your Bed.” Adm. McRaven’s speech has been viewed more than 4.5 million times on YouTube!

But do Millennials make their beds first thing? Not any that I know. (And it’s not as if they’ve got top sheets to straighten up!)

Beyond the Bedroom

And the bedroom is not the only place the super-clean ways of our mothers have gone by the wayside.

Step into the kitchen: clear-of-all-manner-of-clutter counters are supposedly the style, but au contraire! Air drying dishes and silverware overnight (and all-day-long) is apparently in vogue among the many Millies aka Millennials I know.

When I was growing up, my mother mandated I dry the silverware within an inch of its silver plating. Let the wooden salad bowl sit undried and damp on the drainboard! Unthinkable! A crime akin to today’s wanton destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest.

Let dishes “soak” in the sink for 30 seconds, no less an hour (or Heaven forbid overnight)? Not merely unimaginable in my mother’s kitchen, but a likely crime against humanity and an act of such reckless endangerment – one inviting cockroaches, the bane of a New York City dweller’s existence. Dishes soaking on the sink? Well, you might as well flee your apartment and start anew somewhere else!

Millennials Don’t Give a Sheet. I Do

Through the decades of my life, caring for the home has gone from exclusively “woman’s work” to a bit more of a shared responsibility; from a ’50s mix of unrelenting drudgery, boredom, and “House Beautiful” to in the ’70s, a symbol of woman’s repression; to today’s more of a “clean enough to keep the germs and kids at bay” attitude.

Mostly I take change in stride, but I am a clean freak. I like order and tidiness. I find it comforting. No, a world without top sheets, I cannot abide. I’m crawling back into my nice clean bed now. I need a nap!


Housekeeping Trivia

” Women spent 18 fewer hours on housework each week in 2005 than they did in 1900.”  The National Bureau of Economic Research

6 replies
  1. Jane
    Jane says:

    Wow – I think I may have been born in the wrong generation. I am far from being a millennial (way far) but have to say I dont think Ive used a blanket on the bed for at least the last 20 years. And as for all those pillows, Ive never understood the appeal. Give me instead the simplicity of the duvet – so cozy in winter and yet so easily tossed aside in the middle of the night when that hot flash comes (I told you I’m no millennial), or on a warm summer evening. Top sheet, yes (straight from the drier) but blankets and decorative pillows, no way!
    Oh yes, I’m also guilty of air drying my dishes for as long as it takes and grew up believing the only good way to clean a dirty pan was to leave it overnight to soak. I still do.

  2. Andrea Serra
    Andrea Serra says:

    My son Montana once told me he thought that “throw pillows” were called that because they were meant to be thrown on the floor. Growing up in Europe, I learned to appreciate the comfort of a duvet and later learned as an adult that it makes it much faster and easier to make the bed, which is something that I do do every morning.


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