College Move-in, Big Box Style


This post is dedicated to all you fellow parents out there partaking in the annual ritual of moving your offspring into the countless institutions of higher learning across this great land.

You know who you are. All of you flocking to the big box stores, veteran patrons of the Bed Bath and Beyond retail brainstorm: ‘pack and hold’. Consumers of everything that is not nailed down in Target’s ‘College ’09’ aisle. Walmart, Costco and Best Buy fans. If you are anything like me, around hour 36 you were resembling some sort of parental Night of the Living Dead character wandering around the aisles insisting on ridiculous items like shoe organizers and storage bins ad nauseam; the last shred of your sanity gone out the window with your third Starbucks of the day.

Seriously folks, we have surely lost our minds, have we not?

And if I were to guess correctly, most of you went off to college with some big ass ole Bose 901 speakers, a few cinder blocks and wood boards, a couple of orange and milk crates and an album collection that took up three quarters of your parents’ car.

There were no fashionable color coordinated canvas storage bins or over the door hooks, no shower caddies or must have bed in a bag sets. You had some clothes, a few towels, the old linens from your parents’ house an indian tapestry bed spread from the headshop and you were good to go.

Show of hands please, how many of  you had the coordinated dust ruffle for your bed? Yeh, that’s what I thought. Come to think of it, we did not even have bed frames, the fashion of the times was box spring and mattress on the floor. Anybody out there feeling like their college years were somehow not fulfilled because they did not own the ShamWow, or its pathetic copycat, the ShamEase (whose name is not nearly as cool).

So what has made us fall into this trap? Oh right, because we created it. We are the As Seen on TV generation of parents and damn it our kids’ will be organized and color coordinated even if it makes us broke!

Hey, I am not pointing fingers. I am as guilty as they come. You might recognize me as the woman who was wondering up State Street in Madison, WI muttering about the third curtain rod I bought that was finally the right size while searching for a hardware store to buy a rubber mallet.

Don’t ask!

(Stay tuned tomorrow for the funny stories)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, college, humor, Jana, moms, parenting

11 responses to “College Move-in, Big Box Style

  1. Liz

    LOL! You consumer you! Hope that the move in went smoothly. Welcome home!

  2. Dani Glaser

    By the 4th year… you’ll have figured it out! 1 hour in a big box store and 5 on the Union Terrace. Finally got it right!

  3. ronni

    Boys remember, I don’t even think Billy has a closet in his room at the frat….wait the closet is his room!

  4. Too funny. And you’re right – I went with clothes and towels = oh and music. Welcome home!

  5. Steve

    I have this down to a science…perverted as it is.
    I buy 2 of everything in different sizes / colors / styles (bedsheets, towels, rugs, etc.) and return that which is not the appropriate size. Can’t have my dainty, fragile child not have that which they (read: me) desire or need(?).
    This is the same fragile person that navigates the NYC subway at all hours of the night/day, knows which neighborhoods have the best stores for which bargains, can throw down Sake bombs with the bext of them, oh and is pulling a 3.8 at Columbia. (yes that fragile daughter)
    A few times I got lucky and started selling the extras in the hallways of the dorms to less ‘prepared’ parents (who gave them a parent pass anyways?). On occasion have turned a tidy profit. I subscribe to the entrepreneurial notion of ‘buy high, sell higher’.
    What I really want to bear witness to is this same process in the hands of our children as they migrate their offspring to whatever it is that college will look like 20 or so years from now. ye gads.

  6. joyce

    OK, so I am kind of one of those parents, but be rest assured ,NO DUST RUFFLE!!! How else would she be able to access the TWO plastic boxes of shoes/flipflops/moccasins/etc under her bed? No I didnt ‘make her bed,’ no i didnt put up pretty pictures, and no I didnt organize her closet. BUT I did set up her printer, installed the software,wired up her internet, the speakers and all things electronic.
    We did go to Walmart (and what a walmart it was! it had fresh fruit and vegetables!!!!) to get last minute things like a mirror and more towels, g-d forbid she only has 2 and they are on the floor, wet ,and she needs one….
    Somehow I know she will be fine and ALL the creatures comforts we have afforded (re: shoved) our kids will enable them to do the same for their kids!!!

  7. yes, boy version is: drop duffle in room, go out and socialize. unpack whenever.

  8. Paula

    I sure as heck hope the boy version is like that, because we leave in two days and all we have are piles on the floor, and no dust ruffles OR curtains. And we aren’t staying over, pretty much just dropping him off. Should I be nervous??

  9. Not only did I not get anything new when I went off to college, my sheets and blanket clashed. But as you said, I cared more about my album collection than I did bedding. Luckily, having only sons, the dorm shopping isn’t as bad. Boys don’t care about matching styles with their roommates and don’t want the extra frills. But, we need to rent a van to drive my son up to school each year because of all his video game systems, his guitar and keyboard, etc. I guess we are lucky we aren’t lugging the type of stereos that we had and all those albums.

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  11. Sam

    I know all about move-ins, having three kids of my own. As they move out, I feel like I’m carrying more and more every time. I’m not even sure where they accumulate all of the clothes and shoes, but I’m sure glad for milk crates, strapahandles and any other tools that help the move in. Ohhh, sorry, strapahandle is this tool my neighbor gave me – a cool carrying strap with a handle. I know someday I’ll fondly remember about all of these moves, but right now, I just can’t think of anything but a weekend of no shopping and no moving 🙂

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