By the 12th time you’ve moved a student into college housing, you and your kid have lowered your standards considerably.
Carefully annotated check lists? Not necessary! Labeled plastic bins? Clearly, a waste of space. (Thankfully, because I’ve never labeled a plastic bin in my life. I like the festive, scavenger hunt atmosphere of a frantic search through bins. “I thought it was in the pink one!” “Check the Christmas bin.” “Is the blue one still the Christmas bin?” Sometimes I think well-organized families miss out on all the fun.)
In 2005, our entire family drove five hours in a conversion van packed with items accumulated during the summer I spent obsessing over the idea that our oldest little bird (who stood 6-foot-5) was leaving the nest. We carried check lists, a first aid kit, freshly purchased sheets and a comforter, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, and sorted garments that had been folded to a crease.
We spent the whole weekend seeing him off.
This past Saturday I drove our younger son to Madison for his senior year. We shoved stuffed garbage bags and an old mattress into the back of the car. We filled in the gaps with armfuls of clothing, still on hangers, and with random non-perishable food items purchased during a hasty Sam’s Club run.
The entire move-in took 20 minutes.
I blame Sir Isaac Newton for the shocking difference in the two trips. At some point, the driver of the home-to-college run realizes that she’ll probably also be the driver of the college-to-home run, and what goes into those sketchy college apartments must come back out.
It’s not gravity exactly, more the grave realization that if you help your son haul a giant bed frame and headboard into his college apartment, you’re going to have to come back to help him haul it out.
Who wants to do that?
Not I, said the wily (you can read lazy if you want to) mother of four.
I favor a simpler, more feng shui design. Less clutter equals less sweat.
Molly is our youngest and she leaves for college in two years. By then, I intend to have college packing down to a hobo stick and a handkerchief.