I have to laugh every time I think of moving our daughter (our first born) to college. Young women have packing demands that far exceed those of young men. In our case, we chose to use our Honda Accord as the only “containment” vehicle to transport all her needs for that crucial higher education beginning.
So, being the expert packing engineer that I am, I calculated the available space volume and realized that I would need a bit more, so I borrowed from a friend one of those so-called “clam shell” roof-mounted carriers. Once that was in place, we began filling the Accord’s trunk, back seat, and clam shell with darling daughter’s needs.
As the process progressed on that special late-summer day, I soon realized that her needs would soon outstrip my careful planning. The clam shell was jammed and locked shut. The truck was filled so full that I had to be sure that closing it would not crunch any delicate beauty aids or CDs. The back seat and rear shelf were full of clothes and odds and ends piled high. I had to draw the line about being able to see out the rear and side windows.
We had to do a test “seating” to make sure that there was enough room for our daughter, who was no doubt the most important item we were transporting. So, with more “stuff” to move, and literally no more car or clam shell space available, I approached my solution by thinking of Manhattan. I wondered how they got so many residences and places of business into such a limited geographical space. Then the light bulb went on — they went vertical!
Fortunately, our clam shell had a flat top, rather than curved, like a true clam shell. So, we began stowing the remaining items atop the roof carrier. I always keep a fairly large inventory of various-length bungee cords on hand for situations similar to this one. Thus, I was able to lash everything securely to the clam shell’s mounting straps. By the time we were done, we had what looked like a mid-sized Manhattan sky scraper on top of the old Accord.
Always anticipating negative possibilities (in this case, rain), I wrapped everything, clam shell and sky scraper, in a new green-plastic tarp that was waiting for a chance to serve. We have a hilarious picture of what we dubbed “The Honda High-Rise.” The height of my design was so imposing that I called our state police to ask if there was any prohibition to the height of items piled onto a car roof-top carrier. The trooper with whom I spoke responding that he was unaware of any height restrictions for family cars. I detected a note of amusement in his voice as he asked me why I was asking. Once I explained, he seemed satisfied that I was within the law but cautioned me to watch out for low-flying aircraft. Gotta love public servants and their senses of humor.
Our five-years-younger son added the icing to our clown-car cake when he suggested that I put a sign on the front side of the clam shell high-rise’s green tarp: “Your Ad Here!” His wry sense of humor was the perfect antidote to the mounting anxiety we all felt about bidding farewell to our daughter that day.
If you’re still awake after reading The Adventures of Dave above, allow me to share some perhaps more sane moving-to-college wisdom with you.
In doing research for this post, I found a very helpful article that may be of value for those families who are doing their first move to college: 65 Things to Pack for College covers just about everything. Here are some highlights:
Packing for college doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right move-in list, you’ll be living like a king on campus.
To ensure your dorm room’s equipped with the essentials, forget everything you’ve learned about packing up till now, like the time you stuffed your suitcase only 24 hours before spring break in Barbados. That’s because packing for college also means shopping for college. And by shopping we mean stockpiling (effectively of course). For most incoming freshman without a car, you can kiss those quick trips to Bed Bath & Beyond goodbye. Before you shop, you need a tried-and-true, solid list. That’s the hard part. Since you already have enough on your mind from coordinating with your roommate to planning your class schedule, we took care it for you.
Your parents can only guess what you’ll need and they won’t be there to hand you a pack of earplugs when your roommate pumps up his EDM at 1am after chugging a couple Red Bulls. Check out our move-in packing list created by students who know what you really need …
[Here is just a sampling of this helpful collection of suggestions. By all means scan the entire list for items, many of which you may overlooked.]