And with the 12th college move in, this family chooses plastic garbage bags

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.

An old fan, a mattress
An old fan, a mattress and a couple of garbage bags…Really, does a fellow need any more than that?
This caution sign blinked helpfully as I headed out of town “Use Caution…”
Moving day
…”Moving Day.” It’s a mess but heed my advice, the quicker you dump the kid and his stuff, the quicker you can blow that congested popsicle stand.
Rommate help
It’s also helpful if your son’s really nice roommates and friends are willing to carry a load or two (or three or four).
Mattresses on the street
And, oh hey! If you forget your mattress, there are always a couple of lovely ones sitting on the curb (just shake ’em out a little before you lay them down.)
Move in day is festive...for the merchants.
College move in day is a festive day for…the merchants.
A man and his mutt
Vinnie and I took a break from the exhausting work of moving his seven items into his room, to take a look at this gentleman roaming the streets of Madison. Look closely, that’s a cute little dog wearing red goggles tucked into a shoulder strap on his arm.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.