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In Defense of the Pile of Clothes on My Side of the Bed

I get while it annoys so many others — my girlfriend most of all. But for me, it just feels right

Every night before bed, I place the clothes I was wearing that day in a small pile atop the sock drawer on my side of the bed. Sometimes there’s an extra pair of pants already there. Other times, there’s a T-shirt or a sweater that wasn’t quite dirty enough for the laundry basket. Nothing’s folded per se, but I do drape the largest, thickest item over everything else so as to better cloak the turmoil underneath.

My rationale to my girlfriend Sunny is that we have a single closet in our bedroom — hers. My other rationale is that it’s my side of the bed. I also submit as my defense that I’m not am otherwise messy guy: I don’t leave hair in the bathroom sink. I help make sure the shower and toilet stay clean. I always wash the dishes. I do laundry. All of which is to say, I certainly don’t expect anyone to clean up after me.

Not that any of these excuses pass muster with the women in my life. Sunny’s issue with my little pile is that it makes it so that our room never looks or feels clean. “We have closets and dresser drawers,” she says. “The least you could do is fold your clothes.” To her point, my colleague Lindsay Schrupp says that even a small mess of clothes “brings unnecessary chaos into the bedroom.” She also thinks it’s gross, especially when left on the floor instead of a nightstand. 

Isabelle Kohn, MEL’s senior editor, tells me that the piles of clothes her significant other leaves around the house — “on the floor, on the bed, on every chair, etc.” — is the one thing that makes her genuinely unattracted to him. “Why are there piles of anything when there are places to put things called closets and hampers?” she asks. “It honestly makes me so depressed. Like I’m just living in this trash heap of chaos.”

“I’m not looking for a Patrick Bateman level of cleanliness,” Isabelle continues, “just like, what if you made an effort to keep our room semi-nice sometimes.” Meanwhile, Lindsay’s revulsion cuts much deeper: “Making little piles on the floor will make me question if I ever loved you in the first place.”

“A lot of clothes that have been worn but aren’t really dirty end up on the floor,” she adds, growing more disgusted with every word. “Because they aren’t dirty enough for the hamper, but for some reason, they can’t go back in the dresser?”

To which I can only offer, I don’t see the issue with a few items not being in their rightful place. For better or worse, it just makes sense to me, particularly because I more or less rotate through the same five pieces of clothing over and over again. Why take the time to put away a pair of jeans if I’m going to wake up and wear them again in less than eight hours? 

Also, in my house at least, there is some degree of harmony. Just now, I walked over to the bedroom, where unsurprisingly, I had sweats, pants and a single sweater strung across the sock drawer. No surprise there. But on Sunny’s side of the bed, there was a sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants as well — hers, not mine.  

I won’t say that’s happily ever after. But it’s close.