The Surge Begins
Your world for the past 9 months has been a 10’ x 15’ room that you’ve shared with at least one other person. For 9 months, you’ve lived in that room, socialized in it, studied in it, and decorated it. You’ve furnished it with anything you can find, every family member hand me down that you could get, and every milk crate and scrap of wood you could repurpose. You never really thought that much about leaving it, but now that moment is upon you.
You forgot how little room is in the trunk of the family car. It seems a lot smaller than you remember. Yeah, you should have planned to rent a storage unit over the summer, but you got busy and didn’t. And quite frankly, you’re still not sure it would have been worth paying to store some of this stuff. Maybe you shouldn’t have accumulated all this stuff but you did. You’re not even really sure how it happened. It just did.
Now that moment is here. The school didn’t leave you a lot of time to figure this out. It seems like exams just ended and now there are residence life staff pacing the halls telling you that you only have 20 minutes left to move out. Your parents are there to help you, but they are getting increasingly frantic. They’re double parked and worried about getting a ticket. They’re realizing that it’s not all going to fit. Everyone is starting to get tense. It’s decision time.
What Are You Going to Leave Behind?
Let’s start with some of the furniture. The repurposed lumber and blocks can go back into the trash from whence they came. And that old chair that came from Gramma’s basement – yes, it’s got some family history, but it doesn’t have much life left in it. You could let that go. That might free up some room.
Will you leave behind all of your old notes and reading materials? Maybe. Will you need any of those for your classes next semester? Not a lot of time to sort through stuff. Grab what you know you need. Maybe the rest can be left behind.
What about all of your old clothes? You need clothes. You like a lot of that stuff. Some of that stuff you never really wear. Some of it will be out of fashion next year. Some it was gifts and not something you would ever wear anyway. OK, let’s leave some of that, that will free up some room. No time to argue with increasingly tense parents about why you didn’t wear some of this stuff. Have to keep moving. Res life staff is getting increasingly impatient. Have to keep packing.
OK, that’s not enough, you still need to get rid of more stuff. Get rid of the desk organizers and all that stuff. That’s bulky and is likely to break when you cram it into the car. And someone’s yelling that replacing that next year is probably cheaper than the parking ticket you’re going to get if you stay double parked any longer. Just a little more. What else. What else would you leave behind?
This scenario is about to play out a lot of times this spring. There are over 1,500 4-year colleges and universities across the U.S. and almost all of them have some portion of their enrollment that lives on campus and has to move out at the end of the year.
When those students move out, there is a huge surge of trash that goes along with it. At more residential schools, it is not uncommon to see trash totals nearly double the month that students move out.
The surge is coming. What are you doing to get ready for it?