If I had to rank household chores in order of the most hateful, I’d find it hard. All tasks are drudgery – from dusting (dead skin cells, ugh) to cleaning the fridge veg box (fact: old coriander sticks to plastic like superglue) and, the best of all, wiping cold wee off a loo seat in the middle of the night, discovered only after I’ve sat on it and got a wet bum (I have teenage sons).
For me, however, there’s one chore that gets the slight edge over all of the above and it’s putting on a new duvet cover, mainly because it is an utter pain, especially if you delay doing it until bedtime. Finding the corners; losing them; finding them again; which is top; which is bottom? Oh, for God’s sake, now it’s in sideways and it’s one o’clock in the bloody morning!
All this faff and all before you even get round to the blimmin’ undersheet with its “convenient” elasticated edges that ping back every time you think you’ve nailed a corner. I’m not alone in my bed-changing hatred, of course; in fact with the notable exception of deputy news editor Zoë Beaty – who is 6ft tall and gleefully admits she “doesn’t mind doing it because she has long arms” – it is pretty much unanimously loathed here at The Pool. Co-founder Sam Baker even admits to playing a waiting game with her husband when it comes to laundry day. It’s a battle of wills in the Baker household: who will be the first one to relent, empty the dryer and go upstairs?
I am fan of dispensing with the duvet altogether and going for a combination of top sheet, a couple of blankets and an eiderdown for extra warmth in winter
So, what is the solution? The internet is full of speedy “hacks”, from the “burrito roll” to the “folding it in half method” – although is it just me, but do they take just as long to do? News assistant Emily Baker swears by H&M’s covers that have holes in the corners so that you can pull the duvet corners through more easily. Me, I am fan of dispensing with the duvet altogether and going for a combination of top sheet, a couple of blankets and an eiderdown for extra warmth in winter. It avoids the nightly (sometimes quite bolshy) duvet tussle with husband, as there are more blankets to fight over and I get colder than him. Plus, sheets are easier to wash and dry than covers, freeing up your radiators faster. I also love flat undersheets over elasticated ones. I learnt how to do hospital corners years ago when I worked as a chambermaid in school holidays – they are the only way to make flat sheets stay on a bed and this trick isn’t really all that hard to learn.
If you’re not a fan of blankets and quilts, there is also now another option for you – from this month, you can also buy a new “coverless duvet” from Marks & Spencer. This is basically both a duvet and duvet cover combined, which you can bung in the washing machine and dryer and then put straight back on within the day.
Must say, I’m sold. The duvet is warm, snuggly and not at all slippery or synthetic. It also means – and here’s the bonus bit – that you will spend less time making the bed in the morning. Hurrah! It’s also a good solution for spare bedrooms and teens’ (because getting teenage boys to change sheets is nigh-on impossible and, let’s be honest, it’s not something you’d relish doing, either).
A coverless duvet is one step closer to a bed that makes itself, which would be the absolute dream. So, over to you M&S – and if you could find a bin that empties itself, a veg box that cleans itself and a loo seat that shouts at wee-happy teenage boys, I’d be very, very happy.