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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S Who Gives a Sheet?

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Growing up a military brat, for me, resulted in a fair bit of regimentation in my childhood. I am not certain it would have been the same had my father chosen a civilian occupation. I feel the structure he and Mom gave our family, helped my siblings and I lead relatively productive lives. A lot of the regimentation manifested in chores around the house and family.

Making my bed each day was one of the chores I did to earn my weekly allowance. One day each week was wash day, when the sheets were laundered. This was my favorite day because Mom did them while I was at school so I didn't have to make my bed that day: she did it with fresh sheets.

I can still remember learning how to make my bed. It seems like a simple task now, but back in the day, there was a lot to remember; at least for a young, active brat like me. There were certainly a lot of other things I would have rather been doing. To this day, I think a lot of people have still not fully mastered this task. You will be able to tell if you are one of them by the end of this post. If you are one of those who seldom (if ever) make their bed, after all, you're only going to mess it up again tonight! Right? You are not automatically in the group of those who may be linen challenged.

Fitted sheets were invented just before I was given this task so, when I started, they were not in common use. My early bed was made with two flat sheets. This meant I had to master 'hospital corners' to help achieve that nice, flat, tidy look to the bed. This skill would come in quite handy wen I joined the military were, at least while in recruit training, everything was done the most difficult way possible.

High and Tight

I learned which side of the sheet is the up side, or as I imagined it, the polished side. I don't know if it is true that the up side of the sheet is smoother than than the down side, but in my mind it is. Being smoother would allow me to slip into the sheets easier and the rougher down side would help keep the sheet from moving around on the mattress so much. Makes sense to me, so I will continue believing this is true. Mom taught me that the up side of the sheet has the smooth hems. The down side has the folded hems. I bet you already know that!

Then I needed to know which end of the sheet goes to the top of the bed. For the bottom sheet, it didn't matter much since all four sides end up being tucked in, but for the top sheet, this part is important. You want to have the side with the wider hem (cuff) at the top of the bed.

Now we get into the complicated part, where most people mess up. Since this wide hem of the top sheet is meant to be folded back over the blanket. If you make the bed with the down side down, when you fold it back over the blanket, you will be exposing the raw hem edge, the rough side, when the bed is finished. Also, when you slip between the sheets, you will have the smoother side below you but the rougher side on top. The trick is, with the top sheet, it goes polished side down. This way, when you fold the sheet over the blanket, or merely turn down the bed, you are exposing the best, finished side and allowing yourself to slip between two smooth sheets.

I have spoken to many people about this oddity and, invariably, have run into much resistance. It seems some people just can't get beyond the installation of the top sheet being done upside down. Of all the things in the world that need to be corrected, I am certain this one is pretty close to the bottom. Certainly below placing the knives and forks on the correct side of the place setting (a topic for another post?).

I am curious to know if you were aware of this matter of protocol prior to reading this blog. If you didn't know it, do you think you will change your ways going forward? I say, 'Give a Sheet!' but you are free to express yourself with 'Who gives a sheet!' I look forward to your comments/view points.

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