In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

How to Make Your Bed Every Day

So Allison's 21 Rules for Living an Organized Life include making one's bed every day. This is not always possible for me, because I generally am not alone, nor the last one to leave the bed. By this I don't mean I am a slut. It's always the same guy. But on those occasions when I am alone, here's how I do make my bed.

1. Arrange the pillows across the headboard.

2. Get back in bed. (really)

3. Sitting up, pull the sheets up to your chest, and fold them over.

4. Slip out of the bed like a will-o-the-wisp, trying not to disturb things too much.

5. Standing next to the bed, quickly smooth the sheets.

6. Shake the duvet out, and fold it at the foot of the bed. Done.


Duvet covers are a pain in the ass to get back on after laundering them. Here's how to do it. It's like magic.

1. Turn the duvet cover inside out.

2. Reach in the opening with both arms and get your hands in the far corners -- the short end opposite you.
3. Using your hands through the duvet cover, grab the short end corners of the duvet itself, and begin pulling the duvet into the cover, gradually turning the duvet cover from inside out to outside in.

4. When the duvet is covered -- it will be a little disheveled -- spin the duvet around and grab the bottom (short end.) Holding both the duvet and the edges of the now right-side-out duvet cover, give it a shake. It should be perfect. The only way this can go wrong is if your duvet cover wasn't inside out when you started, or you grabbed the long rather than short end of the duvet.

I found that picture here: which has a far more detailed explanation of the process and some strong indications of a couple with an obsessive compulsive disorder about ironing polo shirts (do people iron them?). I learned this tip not here, but from Robert Verdi, the designer who used to have a decorating show with a short blonde gardener. Wouldn't you do anything this guy told you? Look:

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