Five seconds can save a bunch of time, a twisted back, frustration and maybe even some cussing in the future.

Easier Bed Making

Just making the bed on most boats requires you to be a bit of a contortionist.

Changing the sheets? Definitely a job for an acrobat!

And if you’re like me, all too many times you’ve wrestled that fitted sheet onto two corners only to discover that you’ve got it on wrong. No matter how I’d lay it out in the v-berth in Que Tal, I’d always somehow manage to do it wrong and have to start over.

Now, I don’t know how to make it easier to put sheets on a bed that you’re crawling around on, but I finally did figure out a simple way not to have to do it multiple times just to get them right way around. And when I thought of it, all I could think was why hadn’t I thought of it sooner.

Once you’ve got the fitted sheet on correctly, mark the top (or the bottom). I used a permanent marker (water-based will come off in the laundry) and simply made a T on the top edge of the fitted sheet, where it will be tucked under the mattress. No one will ever see it unless they’re making the bed (yeah, I keep hoping . . . ). On dark sheets, where felt marker would be hard to see, you could sew a couple of stitches with white thread.

That’s it. Just a couple seconds can save a bunch of time, frustration and cussing in the future. Why didn’t I think of it oh, say, the first time I made the bed??

Got other tips for easier bed-making? Please leave a note in the comments!

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28 Comments
  • Marie H
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    Carolyn, I just did this. We are getting ready to put our boat back in the water in lower Michigan. We actually brought our mattress home over the winter and I custom fit my mattress pad and sheets to FIT the mattress. Our mattress is kind of oval and I always had waaaay too much fabric in the corners. I had a brainstorm while fitting them and actually sewed a tag on the top. I was so proud of myself. LOL

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

      🙂 Maybe labeling sheets is a Michigan trait — I’m originally from Michigan and I grew up spending summers on a small lake just outside of Albion.

  • Tammy Swart
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    Haaa! I marked mine head and foot months ago! Sorry for not sharing…

  • Rebecca Hammond Vaughan
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    The sheets we bought from target a year ago come with tags for top/bottom and sides! Genius!

  • Cari Gunsaulus
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    I found rolling the flat sheet and blanket at sides of the V and tucking much easier. I also think of changing the sheets as exercise 🙂

  • Annie Griffin
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    I’m with Rebecca. Bought Target sheets a year ago. Line is called Threshold. Best ever on a boat. Double rows of elastic at corners adjust from a 9 in to a 14 in mattress. Gave me just enough versatility to fit a five sided athwarts queen (say that quickly lol) snuggly. Soft 400 count, can be bleached and top, bottom and sides are marked. Nice sheets. Reasonable.

  • Belinda Wolfe
    Posted at 07 May 2014 Reply

    I use an egg turner in my v berth to tuck in the sheets because the mattress is so tight my hand won’t fit. For convenience I just keep it on the shelf above the berth. My quests always ask (with a whimsical look) what is this for??? But it works great. I also marked my sheets on the bottom – P and S. Port and Starboard.

  • Susie Burall
    Posted at 08 May 2014 Reply

    I did this last year after nearly 30 years of cursing. When I fitted out our new boat 6 years ago I also hemmed each bottom sheet in a different colour thread. Aft cabin port mattress – red, starboard – green. Pilot berth – yellow, Forepeak starboard – light blue, forepeak port – dark blue. I can’t tell you how much time and frustration this has saved. The simplest solutions are always the best! Love the tips. Keep them coming!

  • Annette
    Posted at 08 May 2014 Reply

    I like all these ideas – marking, using different colored thread and tags. i bought white sheets with a damask stripe (white on white). That way I can tell which way the sheet runs. Also with white I can bleach them and not worry about them in the various quality laundromat washers and dryers. So far so good. Will watch for the Target brand in the future. Thanks.

  • Barbara Lowell
    Posted at 09 May 2014 Reply

    I also thot of this but never got around to it … I have a futon and it is unweildy so I am going to do this tomorrow once and for all and everytime I use a different sheet I will mark them. Honest, I really will this time!!!

  • Colleen Fitzpatrick
    Posted at 10 May 2014 Reply

    All great ideas. I have discovered a way to make the bed daily in our forward queen. I climb into the bed and pull all of the bedding up (much easier than “pushing” from outside the bed). Still under the bedding, I roll to one side, straightening the opposite side. I climb out to the now even side and straighten the side I was in. Then, once off the bed, I can fine-tune. Takes me half the time it used to.

  • Patricia Leat
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    I actually sew my fitted and top together. Can’t mix up top and bottom and no more pulling the top sheet out from being tucked under.

  • Tricia
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    Our bed in the v-berth is narrow at the head and queen size at the foot. I use a queen size fitted sheet and purchased some of the elastic clips from Amazon to keep it fitted on all corners. We struggled for years with it bunching up at the top and coming out on the sides. Now it stays tight! Simple, cheap fix and no more purchasing and refitting/tailoring the sheets.

    • Georgie Moon
      Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

      Tricia, can you tell me what the elastic clips are like that you bought from Amazon? We have a really big aft cabin mattress which is narrow one end and queen size at the other. I have adapted queen size sheets to fit but they always seem to come loose!

  • Frances Liz Fernandez
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    this is a great idea even with my sheets at home

  • Yvonne McRobbie
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    Brilliant idea! Never mind the boat, I’m forever stuffing up with our king sheet at home. I’m buying a permanent marker pen pronto.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    Agreed. Our custom sheets came with a label at the foot. It was a good enough idea that I duplicated the idea on the sets I made. Custom-fit sheets are definitely easier to make the bed with than conventional rectangular linens. There does seem to be a moment when levitation is required.

  • Steven Kolesar
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    Dawn Hendriex has a Patented method for bed making onboard

  • Lauren
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    I totally get this! I had cot & toddler sheets at home that were identical, until you tried making the beds with the wrong one! Once I labelled them with vivid marker it was so much easier! I’m still using a regular fitted sheet in our v-berth & it seems to fit any which way, phew!

  • Susan Lynn
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    Clever…You are so smart Carolyn.

  • Al Hall Sr
    Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

    Ann Marie Rodgers Hall

  • Beth
    Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

    We are now adding side, head and foot labels to our sheets starting a a couple of weeks! They will be on all of our V Berth and Custom Boat Sheets too!

  • Beth Allen McLeod
    Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

    We are now adding printed labels that say Head, Foot and Side to all of our sheet sets starting in two weeks! It’s going to really help customers with crazy shaped Berths!

    • Shelley Stevens Ruff
      Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

      Especially in Ranger Tugs! Oh my! Our master berth is shaped sort of like a mushroom! Lol

  • Rebecca Hammond Vaughan
    Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

    Target has sheets with these tags and they changed my life

  • Laura Kohl Dare
    Posted at 06 October 2017 Reply

    I sewed a button on the top left corner of the sheet for our six-sided mattress. Makes it easy to find by feel.

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