Improve Your Life Right Away — Get Dressed!

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Do you want to get out of debt? Do you want to get your house organized and have more control over your life? Do you want your family to respect you more than they do? Then get dressed!

I realize that for some people, like those with newborns and toddlers, this can be a challenge to say the least, but do what you can. At first it may mean only getting dressed during the baby’s first nap of the day, but keep working at it until you can comb your hair and put on your make-up.

Getting dressed may not seem important but it really is at the top of the list of things you can do to improve your life. I had a woman once tell me she never got dressed in the morning, but that she could do her housework just fine. This same woman in the next breath was bemoaning the fact she couldn’t get her family to help her or show her any respect. Take a good long look in the mirror at yourself and see what your family sees. Is it a woman perpetually dressed in pajamas or sweats, with hair sticking out all over and without any make-up? I know they are your family and are supposed to love you no matter how you look. They would never ever say anything to you because they do love you, but there is a difference between love and respect.

I know several women who never ever put on make-up or get dressed unless they are going to work or out someplace fancy. How do you think that makes their husbands and children feel? The message that a family receives is that they are not as important as the rest of the world. Many of these women wonder why their families don’t respect them! If your boss showed up each day to work in her pajamas, without make-up and combed hair and then proceeded to sit down at her cluttered desk before demanding that you keep your desk spotless, wear pantyhose and a skirt and keep your nails manicured, how would you feel? Would you respect her? Would you want to even introduce her to your friends? You might do what she says, but you wouldn’t respect her.

Do you think your husband and young children don’t notice how you present yourself? Do you remember as a young child seeing your mom all dressed up to go to church or out for the evening and being so proud of how beautiful she looked? If your mom never dressed up, do you remember seeing your friends moms and wishing yours looked like that? Children notice even the littlest things. One day, my 5 year old granddaughter hugged me and said “Nan, you and Great Grandma always smell so good!" Even something as small as using a little perfume makes an impression and leaves a lasting memory.

I’m sorry, but it’s a fact of life– you have to earn respect. The dictionary’s definition for earn is “to receive something for work done." The definition of work is “sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result." Translated, that means to get respect you will have to put forth some effort — sustained or continual effort, even when there are Legos — um I mean "obstacles" in your path.

One time I had to have major surgery. It was complicated by the fact I had a chronic illness and I was just plain worn out. The doctor insisted that I get some major rest. She told me that I was not to get out of my pajamas for three weeks. Why? Because once I got dressed, it was a signal for my friends and family that I was up to working again. Sure enough, the minute I slipped my clothes on, they were all over me. Now you may be reading this story and saying “If that’s the case, I’ll never get dressed again!” Trust me, I was tempted to stay in my pajamas for the rest of my life. But the point I’m trying to make is the way that you dress does send a signal — to your family and yourself.

If you have been neglecting this part of your life and have been frustrated with a general lack of cooperation from your family, could it be that you have been giving them mixed signals?

For more tips to make cleaning, laundry and homemaking easier, check out our Keeping It Clean e-books.


Reader Comments About the "Get Dressed" Article



  1. says

    This is my favorite article! It’s so true! The days I don’t get dressed until 10am because I get sidetracked with the computer or just don’t feel good are the days that my house is messy, I spend more money, and my kids drive me crazy! The days I get up and get dressed right away are the days I get the most done, feel better and stay on top of my budget.

  2. says

    Being ready for the day really changes the atmosphere in the home. It is easier to feel like you can actually do “something” productive with the day when you look presentable. yes, a bit of makeup and a cute outfit can do wonders !

    • says

      So true Nay, plus if I get dressed, with make up I always feel like I’m one step ahead for the day instead of always one step behind. I also don’t have to worry if someone decides to pop in unexpected. That was one reason I had to start getting dressed. I never knew when unexpected customers would show up at my door first thing in the morning. It forced me to get in a good habit.

  3. Carol Barney says

    I an almost 60 and I have always gotten up, brush my teeth, wash my face, shampoo/conditioner my hair, put on my makeup and fix my hair. Always make my bed with 12 pillows and I feel like I had such a good start. Thanks, Carol

    • says

      This is so true Carol. If I am dressed bed made and dishes done then it seems I can handle the rest of the day better. Plus I hate getting into an unmade bed. I don’t know why. I guess we all have our little pet peeves.

  4. homeschool mom says

    This is SO true.. I’m a homeschool mom and sometimes it’s hard to get dressed in the morning with all that’s going on. BUT, If I do get dressed. I find that my day goes so much smoother and I feel like more was accomplished. And besides all that if we decided to go out on an unplanned field trip all I have to do is say come on and we are out the door.

  5. Rachel says

    Have to admit I struggle with this. I have driven far too many kids to school in my bathrobe. I like to shower, dress, do hair and makeup about noon.

  6. says

    Getting dressed up including the shoes, is a method mentioned by Flylady mentors.
    Flylady has also included a morning routine and before bed routine in her website. It is worth to check out

    • says

      Yes putting on comfortable shoes is important. I think we wrote an article about that once on just putting your shoes on and what a difference that can make. One thing though I want everyone to remember each person is different and they have different circumstances so adapt things according to your needs. I can’t expect a mom with a toddler and newborn to get up and have the same schedule as me who is an empty nester. It would be so easy for me to say you have to do this and this and this and exactly like this because I have no babies which have kept me up all night and woke me up at 5:00 am crying this morning and hasn’t quit yet.

      Take anything you read, use what you can and don’t feel guilty or like you have to justify the things you can’t do. Do the best you can at this stage of your life and don’t worry about the rest.

  7. says

    Shoes are not allowed in the house.
    sort of a Canadian thing I have been told.
    But almost everyone I know steps into the house and shoes come off.
    Saves floors and saves on cleaning.
    So dressed for the day just never shoes. Usually for me it is socks or moccasins or in the summer bare feet.
    I actually hate covering my feet and I don’t know why but I always preferred bare feet.
    oh well.

  8. rose says

    oh me too jill .. i dont like a messy lumpy bed when its time to go to bed .. my bed has to be made first in am too … then it does seem like i cant tackle the day adn things i need to

  9. rose says

    hehehe .. grandma .. my mom used to make us take off our shoes at the door too .. we had a chair to sit on and a box to put our shoes in ..
    and ur so right .. we didnt have to steam clean our carpets near as much as the others in the apts buildings we lived in … we vaccuumed every day (sometimes more than once, esp if we had company) ..
    thanks for sharing this and bringing back a childhood (teenage, too) memory .. 😀

  10. Da Mama says

    Love this article, I am a SAHM who provides childcare out of my home. It is so tempting to just stay in sweats all day, every day. But I never really thought too much about the respect aspect of it. I have occasionally made it a point to change and put make up on before my husband comes home from work, and the kids always ask me “where are you going?”:0) I will pull all the tricks to earn a little more respect around here though. Oh, and no shoes in the house for us either, but love my new mocassin slipper I found at Target for $3.oo a few weeks ago!

    • says

      I may have to check out target to see if I can find some of your moccasin slippers Da Mama. I love wearing moccasins and still have a “real” Indian like pair I got 40 years ago.

      The shoes in this article throws some people. Not you necessarily but others so I just wanted to say I don’t wear shoes either. I go barefoot 6 months out of the year and the other 6 I wear a shoe like slipper. In other words a slipper with a sole so it I need to run out quickly with the trash or something I can in my slippers. Tawra does wear shoes each day but is having foot problems now so may have to start going barefoot too.

      The main point we were trying to make which I think you understood but some others haven’t is you need to dress for the job at hand, as you would for any job and that doesn’t mean what you wear has to be uncomfortable either. Treat being a stay at home mom as seriously as you would any other job. Stay at home moms get frustrated because the aren’t respected or taken seriously but how can you expect others to take you and your “job” seriously and respect you if you are wearing pj’s or sweats all day.

      Now I didn’t mean this for you Da Mama I just happened to think of this as I was answering your post. :) :)

  11. says

    I totally agree with your post here!

    I had my first baby last year, and was SO overwhelmed and unprepared!! I remember the weeks of pj’s and once a week showering, lol.

    But I realized that I was MUCH more productive each day if I just took 15 minutes in the morning to do 5 minute make-up, 5 minute hair, and put on a “real” outfit.

    I invested in more stylish at-home clothes, since I’d be staying home with the baby for a year or so. You don’t have to wear sweats to be comfy. And even if you DO wear sweats, you can DEFINITELY upgrade to a cuter pair, with a nice top.

    I didn’t want to become that frumpy old mom…. And that’s how I was looking! It doesn’t take much… You don’t have to get all done up each day. But not only will those around you take you more seriously, but YOU will feel a million times better when you look in the mirror!! :)

  12. Pene says

    When i get dressed, ready for the day, I’m just that. I’m ready for that emergency, last minute/forgotten get together. Life can be more spontaneous.

    I know I get more things done when I’m dressed. I’m ready for my work day, being a mother, teacher, cook, nurse, housekeeper, etc.

  13. Teresa says

    I never really thought of this being an issue but I can surely see it now. In fact, stopping midstream of reading this article I went to get dressed and do my hair. How different I feel. I, too, do not like wearing shoes in the house but have my cute Avon (indoor/outdoor) slippers on. I love them and got them in a few different colors. 😉 Thanks again for a great article.

    • says

      You are like I was Teresa. I never knew the difference until I started doing it and now it is so hard to go back and not get up and dressed first thing. My whole day seems off when I don’t.

  14. says

    I think getting dressed for the day really changes your outlook on how the day will go. Really truly. When I was working, I found this to be true..only here, spent more time to dress extra nice, and not just wear the status quo of what was allowed at work. That made a huge difference in my work performance, too. I thought your post was really interesting, because I’m sure it’s something that not a lot people really think too much about. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  15. Sheri says

    I like the apron article on Hillbilly Housewife! I think that was my first contact with your site! I printed that out and shared it with others. Now I have aprons for my work in the kitchen. Once they go on, they don’t come off until after dinner.

    That was the one thing I wanted after my Grandma died, one of her aprons. It took a few years for one to be found that wasn’t worn out, but I have it now! It’s one of my treasures! Not only because it was hers, but also because it started life as some other article of clothing that she adapted to be what she wanted and how she wanted. I miss my Grandma! I’m going to wear her apron for “When I Grow Up Night” at Awana next week!

  16. katy says

    I agree completely, and if you can get disciplined enough to get dressed , you are also more likely to stay on schedule so you can plan your meals and eat more healthy. I find that if I do plan ahead, I don’t end up eating fast food. Getting dressed early just starts the whole day off better.

  17. Jinna says

    I like others did not think of the difference but I see it now….I will try it. I homeschool my two kids and babysit a 1 year old and have a little ocd to cleaning….I always make my kids and home look good. I need to take better care of myself (I can see the respect aspect of it all….plus being able to pop out of the house a little more confident instead of hiding in the dark corners…lol…..priceless! ) plus my wonderful husband would probably appreciate it…..thanks again! Common sense thinking but never occured to me 😉

    • says

      Jinna, I know just what you mean about hiding in dark places. Even though I do get dressed, make up etc. each day, one time we were remodeling our house. It was July 104 degrees, no a/c and I had been staining woodwork and painting for a couple of days in this heat. When it was time for lunch I had no bread or anything so I had to run to the store a couple of blocks away real fast. No way was I going to try and clean up because I had to get back to work right away after we ate.

      You can’t even imagine how bad I looked. I arrived at the store and here I run into one of the gals from our church – the one who always kept her kids, house and self looking like a fashion magazine. I wanted to find a dark corner and die of embarrassment. She was really nice about it but isn’t it murphy’s law that someone like that is who I run into. : ) : )

  18. Melanie says

    So true – my mother was a SAHM and her clothes were the essence of convenience for that mode. She didn’t stay in pajamas, but she wasn’t invested in her appearance either. I remember she really liked “zories” (flip-flops) – bottom line even today’s Crocs are a slipper and you have to know when you’re under-dressing and why.

    Years later she followed my lead to pierce her ears, wear makeup (that was also when she went into the workforce).

    I still don’t always do my makeup, always put in earrings, and pick from my nicer casual clothes. But your reminder will help me get a little closer to the ideal.

    • says

      Melanie I haven’t heard them called Zories in a long time but that is what we use to call them too. I still have a hard time calling them flip flops. There was a time when they were called thongs but as we know that has another whole meaning now. And I wonder why I stay in a state of confusion all the time. I thought it was my CFS but it really is the fact that our language keeps changing. : ) : )

  19. rose says

    hehee .. jill and melanie .. when i was a kid .. we used to call them flipflops or if they were called flippers .. hehee .. 😀

  20. Heidi says

    So hard to get out of my warm pj’s and robe when it is 10 degrees outside and about 50 inside, before the house heats up in the morning :/ I should turn on the space heater in the bathroom and get dressed in there…

  21. Diane says

    You know, it is true! We wouldnt go to work in pjs would we? But if you feel good about yourself, you mood is improved along with everything else. And if you need to step out for something or the doorbell rings, you are ready!

  22. Jeni says

    This is probably my favorite post of yours! It is so, so true. Get dressed and look nice if only for your husband and children. Put on some perfume and make-up and who knows what might happen after the kiddos are in bed :)

  23. jaylee says

    Thank for this article — I need to better practice this. It reminds me of the sweet story you share from time to time, “When Queens Ride By”.

  24. Mary Jane says

    I don’t usually get dressed immediately when I get up, but I am dressed by 8 a.m. or so most days. I noticed years ago that when I started to just get over a flu, or bad cold, if I got up, showered and put on clean clothes and fixed my hair, I always felt so much better, even if I was still too ill or weak to do anything except lay on the couch. This makes me think about cut backs is health care here in Canada, and the situation some older people find themselves in when they go to hospital. Because of the shortage of care givers, elderly or frail people may go more than a week without having someone help them to wash their hair. Family members and volunteers are needed to help out. The patients enjoy this help, and really perk up when they get it.


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