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Bunkbed Sheets Are Evil

May 19, 2007

This weekend we’re all doing the weekly house-cleaning rounds. It’s an entire family effort because, well… we have an entire family. A household of six does not lend itself to maintaining cleanliness on a daily basis, even though we’re all gone for the better part of every day. So when the weekend rolls around, this is what we do–floor vacumming, bathroom scrubbing, laundry sorting, dust busting, dish washing, room cleaning, sheet changing duty.

There are some chores that I don’t mind doing. Some are even relaxing and don’t really merit the title of “chore”. Others I dread as much I ever dreaded taking four kids between the ages of 2 and 6 to Wal-Mart right after payday. I can feel the hives coming just thinking about it. The chore I dread the absolute most, the chore of putting fresh sheets on not one, but two, bunkbeds is enough to drive me to drink… heavily.

Who came up with the idea of putting sheets on a bunkbed–a bed that is pushed up against a wall and is within three feet of the ceiling? Why not the throwaway mattress? Why not the paper they roll out on the exam table at the doctor’s office? Why not anything other than a fitted and a flat sheet on a bed that reminds me why I’m afraid of heights? Have you actually performed this fantastic feat of flexibility, patience, and defiance of the laws of gravity?

The bottom bunk is not as bad as the top, although most bunkbeds are placed up against the wall (yes, our bunkbeds are like “most” bunkbeds) so stretching the sheet to the wall and getting it tucked in appropriately entails flinging my entire body across the bed at the same exact time that I’m pulling the sheet in that direction, avoiding the bad fortune of having the entire sheet bunched up under my body.

Once it has actually reached its fully-stretched-to-the-wall potential, I have to pull the corner of the mattress up far enough to get the sheet underneath it, despite the fact that the entirety of my body weight (not what it once was) is pushing against it. Should I actually accomplish this feat, I have to stretch the sheet down far enough to fit around the underside of the corner, all the while praying that it has not bunched anywhere, will indeed stretch far enough, and I won’t have to do the flying-leap-sheet-stretching exercise again.

As if this humiliation is not enough, two separate corners require this maneuver. Then comes the flat sheet. That’s even more of a nightmare than the fitted sheet. Not only do I have to do the flying-leap-sheet-stretching move, but I have to tuck it in, all the way along the wall, and under the end of the mattress (recall the body weight issue). By the time I’m finished with the bottom bunk, I’m sweating like I’ve been on the treadmill for thirty minutes, my hair is doing the static-cling-after-being-rubbed-with-a-balloon-thing to the bottom of the top bunk, my shirt is bunched up underneath my armpits and I’m trying to figure out a way to save space in this blasted room without the bunkbed.

On to the top bunk. Climbing up the ladder in my bare feet, I remember that this particular ladder really requires that my feet be protected by shoes, and by the time I reach the top I’m ready to scream in agony. I’m sure that I climbed many a ladder and tree as a youngster without this issue. I’m not sure why my feet are so tender now, but the narrow, metal rungs of the ladder hurt… bad!

Once I finally reach the top, I have to do the flying-leap-sheet-stretching maneuver, without the benefit of using the floor as a launchpad. This means four corners require this special attention, not just two. Usually the wadded-up sheet is not conducive to the flying-leap-sheet-stretching thing, and it takes fifteen passes to get it all the way to the end of the bed, under the sea of five thousand stuffed animals. If I’m lucky enough to actually get it down there, I have to stretch my whole body out on the mattress again, reach my arms underneath the aforementioned stuffed animals, take a deep breath and plunge my face into the sea of furriness, pull the mattress corner up against my body weight again, and pray that I’ve blindly been able to get the sheet under said corner far enough that it won’t come out and snap me in the face when I tuck in corner #2.

Back to the flat sheet–fly, stretch and repeat. Up and down the ladder fifteen times to get the comforter, retrieve the fallen stuffed animals, get everything tucked in completely, pluck stuffed animal fuzz from my mouth, and I’m finally finished. I want to throw my hands up in the air like the cowboys at the rodeo who’ve just roped and tied a calf. I’ve now gotten my workout in for the entire week, my hair has gone from static to flat, stringy and damp, I feel the need for a shower, and my last nerve has long since gone, although there is a small sense of relief in knowing that another week will go by before I have to do this again.

As I head down the stairs, wiping the sweat from my face and mumbling a few last ugly words under my breath, I determine that we’re taking a trip, as soon as possible, to the nearest furniture store for beds that sit on the floor. We’ll find a floor plan that works so that no beds have to be up against the wall, and I can retire the flying-leap-sheet-stretching maneuver. I calculate the cost in my head of all new beds and grumble a little more. I feel the hives coming on again.

Maybe I’ll just teach the owners of these beds how to make them on their own.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2007 4:52 pm

    Well, my husband and I were just talking about getting bunkbeds. Maybe I should give it a second thought. I never considered the acrobatics required to make them. Ugh. This was hilarious!

  2. Grand-gran permalink
    May 19, 2007 7:34 pm

    Hey, you should have known. As a recall you spent a full year of college on the top bed of a bunk-bed. You knew what is involved. R E M E M b E R

    As for Jill, well “my husband and I were talking about getting bunk-beds”. Now that sounds un-interesting to me. What-Ev e r.

  3. May 20, 2007 4:37 pm

    I am thinking kid slave labor here. I have broken a nail or two, and flipped ’em backwards doing a stunt nearly like this. Making beds is next to the bottom of my entertainment list, along with picking up dog poo and cleaning cat boxes.

  4. May 20, 2007 8:14 pm

    Ohhhhhhhh my gosh that ha-stinkin-larious!!!! I’m CRYING I laughed so hard. Flying-leap-sheet-stretching move…that’s funny!

  5. January 20, 2008 11:18 pm

    This is a very funny and well written post – it definitely makes me want to reconsider ever purchasing a bunk bed in the near future.

  6. Lisa permalink
    February 21, 2008 6:49 am

    This had me laughing uproariously, as I do the same maneuvers with mine!

    So, did you ever figure out a solution? Care to share it with the rest of us?

    I make the bed from the headboard to the footboard, all layers, and lay them flat as I move down the bed now. It helps a little, because I’m not having to lay on them. Then at the footboard, I tuck everything in.

  7. Summer permalink
    March 9, 2008 6:19 pm

    I loved your post! I struggle with the same problems making our bunk beds. I’m currently in the market for some bunk bed sheets that are sewn together and a comforter called a bunk bed cap. Hopefully they will help with the whole mess!

  8. Tracy M permalink
    March 24, 2008 1:31 pm

    I Loved your post, I found it whilst trawling for tips on how to avoid just this scenario, but I also found this
    http://www.blanketwarehouse.com/cat.cgi?s=RP01SH_ct&c=BUNKBEDS
    Now that looks like something ene I can do with the sheets we already have and my trusty ol’ sewing maching :o) HTH

  9. Noni permalink
    April 14, 2008 9:32 pm

    Good Exercise!

  10. Gigi permalink
    August 5, 2008 8:51 am

    That was so funny and so true. I hate making the bunks, especially the top. I take a deep breath everytime I step on the first rung of the ladder and pray “Please don’t break”. While searching for bunk caps (which I just learned about) I found that most of them just come in plain solid colors. With persistence, I found a great website called http://www.familybedding.com that has tons of beautiful material options as well as you can have things made to match – all custom-made. For instance, in my spare bedroom I will have a single bed as well as a crib. I can have both the twin comforter and the baby crib bumper set – AND curtains – all made with the same material. Granted, its a little pricey but if you plan on keeping the room the same for several years, its worth having something you really love.

  11. August 19, 2008 2:57 pm

    Funny, I found this blog because “Gigi” bought bunk bed comforters or “huggers” from me, I am an owner of http://www.FamilyBedding.com

    I actually was so frustrated with doing this in my son’s room, that I god rid of his bunk beds and brought them to our store/warehouse to display our bunk bed bedding. And I then bought him a platform bed with a trundle underneath. I still have huggers on the bed, but I couldn’t handle the “flying-leap-sheet-stretching maneuver” as I have a bad back.

    It was so amusing to read this as I could not handle making these beds after a year. The worst was having to fess up to my husband, yes he was right when he said there were going to be difficult to make the beds when we bought them” 🙂

  12. mjo permalink
    December 9, 2008 11:27 pm

    I found your site searching for some kind of solution to my frustration over bunk bed making, and sat here laughing hysterically as you described so accurately the pains of making a bunk bed….a laugh which I desperately needed after injuring myself once again while tucking in a loose corner of my daughter’s bunk bed sheet. My bunk beds are definitely not going anywhere, and frankly, I’d buy them again just because of the many benefits that outweigh the horrid nightmare of bedmaking. But I did seriously need a good laugh tonight!

    Thanks also to Gigi and Tracy M. for great website recommendations!! I found the link to BlanketWarehouse.com did not produce exact results, but on the same site I clicked on “bunk beds” under “family” and found tons of cute bunk bed caps, plus a product that may yet save my sanity: inseparable sheets. (RP01SH200 200 THREAD COUNT BUNKBED INSEPERABLE SHEET SET) I’m thinking of buying one set, and see how they work out. The price isn’t really that high, esp if it solves even half of the struggle.

    And FamilyBedding.com is AMAZING!! What a beautiful collection of colors and what a great concept!!

  13. March 5, 2009 8:47 pm

    Yep. You pretty much summed it up.

    That’s why I DON’T do it every week. (Shh! Don’t tell!) 🙂

  14. April permalink
    April 2, 2009 3:01 am

    Thanks for this :). I can’t even climb to the top to make them as I far exceed the ridiculously low weight limit on the top. I do the pull out the mattress, tuck sheets on, slide it back and pray they stay, lol!

  15. Kim permalink
    May 19, 2009 7:05 am

    I was laughing so hard while reading this. My six year old kept asking me “What are laughing at?”
    We have been debating whether or not to get bunk beds – your post has been a concern for me. I am not sure I am up for the ‘flying-leap-sheet-stretching-move’!
    Thank you for a well written post!
    Blessings,
    Kim

  16. roe permalink
    August 26, 2009 2:11 pm

    http://bedlinensetc.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=BLE&Category_Code=Bunk-Bed-Side-Attached-Sheets

    This site has specialty sheets. I haven’t tried ’em, but after reading about the funny antics, I couldn’t help but send the site when I found it! Roe 🙂

  17. jen permalink
    September 6, 2009 10:33 pm

    omg!!!! i have the same problems. it is a nightmare making the kids beds. i still have not had any luck finding huggers, bed caps, or bunk bed comforters that i like. ugh!!!!!!

  18. November 9, 2009 5:17 pm

    I love this! It’s SO true and I experienced it yet again today. :oP

    I recently found out about inseparable sheets for bunk beds, but they’re so expensive! And I’d want two sets for each bed – just in case someone gets sick in the middle of the night…

  19. Timi permalink
    November 10, 2009 12:34 pm

    I also found this blog looking for huggers!! However, it’s not for the hastle of the flying-sheet-stretching thingy…it’s because there is such a tight fit between the matress and the bed, that once I get the sheets & blanket tucked under, the quilt won’t fit!! You may be wondering how I make the beds without the flying-sheet-stretching move…it’s pretty simple really. I pull the bunk beds out from the wall to make them, then I push them back. It’s still not the greatest fun to make the beds, but at least I’m not doing it while laying on them!

  20. yasmine permalink
    December 15, 2009 7:47 am

    hey, anyboby use just a bottom sheet and a nice sleeping bag on each bed…we have 6 kids.easy for them to streth it out and easy to clean? any thoughts? I am almost pushing the button to order 4. 2 sets of bunks in one room////

  21. Jim Sanders permalink
    May 12, 2010 11:05 am

    Hi, I just read your article. Very funny. I share with you and your readers the frustration of making the top bed of a bunk and/or loft. I understand to the point where I actually did something about it. Please check out the attached video. It shows an invention that makes changing the bedding on the top mattress easier.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZILBkpUQXg

  22. Jim Sanders permalink
    May 12, 2010 11:41 am

    Sorry Everyone:
    This is the correct video link. Showing an invention that makes changing the the bedding on the top bunk/loft easier.

  23. June 29, 2010 3:42 am

    You are an awesome writer. You should write a book if you haven’t already. I was looking for ideas to write about bedding for bunk beds and I stumbled on to this. I think if I went to all that trouble to make the bed and have it look nice, I wouldn’t want anyone to sleep in it. I love your idea of the throw away bedding like the sheets of paper in the doctors office.

    • Kristine Rider permalink
      June 30, 2010 11:09 am

      I just got bunkbeds in my home for my son and new stepson. I cannot stand to make the bunk beds(I hate the ladder also. I have only been married 3 months to my handsome but the ex wife has done everything she can to cause pain and suffering to our family. I would love to get your password so I can read more of what you have written. Take care.

      • July 25, 2011 12:01 pm

        Check out the new bunk huggers, bunk huggers on sale, and inseparable sheets that I have added to my bunk bed website. http://www.bunkbedsbunker.com. Many people have bunk beds but I don’t think the majority know anything about the special bedding you can buy for them. Huggers are perfect for bunk beds and other beds too. They make living with a bunk bed much easier and they look nice too. I am adding a number of images to a blog post soon that show these huggers on different types of beds. I am working on it now and hope to have if posted this week. Check my blog link on the website for those ideas.

  24. Elise permalink
    January 17, 2011 8:02 am

    I found this post while searching for bunk bed comforters that are narrow and won’t drape over the edge of the bed. I can relate to your problem – having changed bunk bed sheets many times.

    I’m happy to tell you there is a solution! Check out this website: http://www.cloudsandstars.com/ They have sheets that zipper on. It is hard to explain, so just read the site, but I have these sheets for my crib and now that they make them in twin size, I’m going to buy for my bunk beds. Ever since discovering these sheets for my crib, I have bought them as a baby shower gift for every pregnant friend/family member and they have thanked me later. It is genius! Hope this helps 🙂

  25. Cris permalink
    January 22, 2011 9:23 am

    We just purchased a bunk bed that does not have a ladder but steps instead. And while this is a convenience it is still difficult to make a bed against the 6 ft in the air. But at least i’m not hainging on a ladder. I would expect you need feet like a bird to do that. lol. We are expecting another baby and this chore is becoming increasingly difficult! Thanks for the blog lets me know I am not alone in the bunk world. ha ha.

  26. Gina permalink
    January 2, 2012 10:47 am

    My Mom would have us sleep in comfortable sleeping bags on top of the made bed. That way she would just throw the sleeping bags in the wash on the weekend.

    It really worked well! I never minded either. It was like having a sleepover every night.

    🙂 Hope that helps.

  27. ladykrystyna permalink
    July 22, 2012 10:16 pm

    Just read this post because I just purchased a bunk bed for my girls and just tried to make up the beds this afternoon. Luckily I had my mom’s help, but nonetheless we spent about 20 minutes laughing our butts off at the ridiculousness of the situation. We tried the flying-leaping-stretching thing, too! We wound up sweaty and tired as well.

    Then I found this post and read it to my mom and we were laughing so hard, we were crying and almost peed ourselves! 😀

    But in the end, we helped each other out by having one of us push the top bunk mattress up as the other one did the tucking. Although I like the idea of the specially made bedding as well.

    Perhaps that is the only way to do it with traditional bedding – it’s a 2 person chore. 😀

  28. March 17, 2013 2:01 am

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  30. September 15, 2013 2:27 pm

    Haha! What a lively string. People are tortured by bunk beds. I like the video pf the fold down mattress! I use drawstring sheets and the results are no more sheets popping off or needing to be remade I take the mattress down, put on the sheet and throw it back up there. since the sheet it tight as heck and the drawstring does not give at all it just stays. I let the kid take his own blankets and whatever up there when he goes up himself.

    http://www.drawstringsheet.com/

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