OMG! I just left my lil 6ft. 1” 170 lb. son Luke at college! AND, now two boxes of tissues later and my eyes swollen from crying like a baby (thank god for sunglasses!), I’m realizing the words ‘empty nester’ apply to me! Yikes, where did the last 18 years go! Wasn’t it just the other day that Luke and I were sitting in an empty kiddie pool laughing and being silly?
Now, here he is smiling and all and happy with his roomie Nick….
And, here I am sitting and writing this in a pool of happy/sad tears reminiscing about those days…Along with another box of tissues and a really, really big glass of vino!
The good news is the vino’s working and I’m thinking about the visions I had as I shopped for Luke’s dorm room of it looking like a scene from the classic flick Animal House. As a result, I outfitted his room with just enough items to keep it clean enough. So if you too have a bird leaving your nest read on so that when you visit your ‘lil one you don’t have to wear a bio-hazard suit or gas mask - A glass of vino while reading is optional!!
1. SURFACES: Two words: Disinfecting Wipes! I use them like tissues at home and have a container on my bathroom and kitchen sink (and even one in my car!). Hoping he’ll use them at least when and if he calls me (SEE P.S. at end) and I remind him to clean his doorknob, Game boy remote, mini-fridge handle, etc as we talk…NOT! And, yes a mother’s work is never done, I used a wipe to hopefully sanitize the mattress!
2. AIR: Given all the allergens, odors and other yuck that will be floating through his pint-sized space for deux. I went to Walmart and got him the Homes Personal Space Home Purifier (less then $34 and comes with a filter too!) which is a space-saving air purifier which traps and locks up to 99% of the germs, odor, dust and allergens in his room and uses my fave multi-taskin product: Arm & Hammer baking soda. So all he’ll have to do is turn on…did I say ‘all’? I meant all I had to do before I left!
3. DRAWERS AND CLOSETS: God knows what’s been in there or will be so first I cleaned his dresser drawers with a disinfecting wipe and then put in cedar and lavender drawer liners. The cedar repels pests and the lavender absorbs odors. Check out the ones at www.containerstore.com which are only $9.99 for a package of 6 and also get some hanging cedar blocks for their tiny closet.
4. MATTRESSES ‘N PILLOWS: I don’t even wanna know who nor what’s been on that mattress, but I do know dorm room beds are notorious havens for dust mites and even bed bugs! GROSS! So I bought CleanRest’s Zip ‘n Lock mattress and pillow encasements. I really like them since mites and bed bugs can enter where the zipper closes and these have a cool little plastic closure over the zipper so nuttin’ can get in. They’re avail at Bed Bath & Beyond www.cleanrest.com And, yes that’s Luke helping with his eyes closed!
5. BEDDING: Microfiber is what you want to buy for sheets, blankies and comforters since they’re STAIN resistant (and your child’s bed is going to be their dining room table and chairs not to mention the venue for other activities I’m trying not to imagine). They’re also WRINKLE resistant and dry much faster when and if they ever wash them. My son did volunteer that he thinks they’re incredibly comfy too!
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6. STORAGE: As you can see in the pix above, I went for those that are clear, stackable, and on wheels so they’re easy to access. I opted for the type that close tightly like these Sterilite ones from Walmart since who knows what will be crawling around his room or if it’ll ever be cleaned. I put warmer clothing in one and extra toiletries etc in the other. Doesn’t Luke look thrilled that I did LOL!
7. LAUNDRY: I know lots of peeps suggest collapsible laundry baskets cause they’re space savers, but pre going off to college I used Luke as my very own lab rat and found that if the bag was folded i.e. not in obvious site-the floor became his laundry basket. Thus, I got one that is mesh i.e. ventilated since he will be throwing sweaty, damp stuff in there and mold ‘n mildew will come to roost quickly. I also attached with a string to the stand a sprinkle container of Arm ‘n Hammer Baking Soda which he can sprinkle into the bag to help absorb odors…
Ok, will he do this? Probably not, but ‘tis nice to dream and remember I am having that glass of vino! Oh, yes another idea to increase the possibility that they will throw it into the basket vs. on the floor is to make a sport of it and place a basketball hoop over the top. I’ll let you know if that works!
a. DOING IT! OK, so when they actually do laundry make it as idiot proof as possible: Get them TIDE PODS which I love and use as well. No mess, no measuring since one pod has detergent, stain remover, and brightener so all they’ll do is toss one of those babies in before putting in a load. Wish they made one that we could toss in their room to clean it…Hmmmm now maybe that’s my ticket to fame and fortune…or maybe it’s time for me to stop drinking!
P.S. PHONE HOME: Couldn’t resist this pillow and red ‘hot’ phone that plugs into his IPhone from www.dormify.com as a gentle reminder to buzz dear ole mom. Of course that probably will only happen when he needs money, is flunking a course or that he’s coming home for the weekend with laundry for yours truly to do! And, as a loving gesture that the pillow was not going to make the cut in his room, he threw it into the garbage…
Ouch!!! Clearly, twas time for me to leave…But in the spirit of Carly Rae Jepson’s hit song “Call Me Maybe”, hope springs eternal that Luke will call to just say ‘hey’ J
Visit my website www.juliestips.com and click on ‘BLOG’ top menu to see pix of Luke and I during the big day! And, PLEEEZE if you have any tips, questions on cleaning, organizing, home repair, manicure-friendly decorating or want to know what type of wine I paired my empty nest misery with please leave your comments right here!
Til next week’s Post from Hysteria Lane…Spread the glove!
The Accidental Housewife
Julie is working mom and the go to gal for easy; real life time, money, and energy saving tips that maintain our home, family, sanity and manicure. And, though her solutions and tips cause Martha, Heloise and Ty to cringe, she brings a sense of calm, humor and camaraderie to millions like her who live on what she lovingly calls Hysteria Lane.
Julie appears regularly on the Today Show with Kathie Lee ‘n Hoda, and The Doctors. She is a New York Times best-selling author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time and penned a second book “The Ultimate Accidental Housewife”-Your Guide to a Clean Enough House’. Julie is a bi-weekly featured columnist for Scholastic’s Parent & Child Plus iPad app; hosts a webisode series for FOXNEWS.COM, has her own site, www.juliestips.com and serves as a spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity. She tweets and Facebooks with her fellow (or is it feline!) accidental housewives regularly.