Simple Kind of Life

A good many of my conversations with The Boy have lately begun with “about your dorm room, I was thinking about _____fill in the blank”. Because I am a heavy packer and like to have what I want on vacation, I feel the need to help him carefully think through his needs. Which by the way, I find to be spartan. Spell check is insisting that word be capitalized, but I am just as insistent that it does not. I am not suggesting his tastes have anything to do with coming from Sparta OR Michigan State. I just goggled it and I am correct, so take that spell check.

1. Of or relating to Sparta or its people.

2. also spartan

a. Rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained.

b. Simple, frugal, or austere: a Spartan diet; a spartan lifestyle.

Back to the spartan room. Or sparse, or austere, or simple, also good describing words that spell check finds inoffensive. Anyway, The Boy, he is resisting me greatly. He says he doesn’t want to have much stuff, he wants to control the clutter, he wants to have few possessions. I must say, this strikes fear into my soul.  I defer to him in these things because he has to live the life, and realistically, he will not die of need in the 5 months he will be there. He can also buy what he may come to determine is reasonable and necessary, or come home and get it.

While I find it admirable that he wants to cut back on all the stuff at college, I find it ironic how he has not changed his consumer ways here at home. When I retire to my bedroom for the night, I like to have the kitchen cleaned up. You know, sink emptied, counters wiped, dishes washed. It is my way. This is what I wake up to.


And this.


And sometimes, after he has a gaggle of friends over it is much worse. Mac and cheese pot and noodle strainer, many coffee cups. These were just from him.

I hope his new spartan lifestyle will make it impossible to leave these sorts of messes, considering he will have no sink in his room, and except for a few coffee mugs, no dishes. And I’m pretty sure it is not socially acceptable to leave this sort of debris in the common area. He will have many challenges at college, academically and……. otherwise.



  1. warren said,

    December 6, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    My room started spartanish when I went to college but it always seemed to grow into a jungle…not messy but just full. Our first apartment was not much bigger than a dorm room and it was even worse when wife and I combined our stuff…spartan may be good if he can hold out!

  2. Laurie said,

    December 6, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Spartan (that is only capitalized because it starts the sentence) is good if you can do it. My problem is returning to the more spartan lifestyle and what to do with all the stuff that needs to go.
    I, too, like a clean kitchen at night. Waking up to a mess would make me a little crazy! But, boys will be boys– they must eat. And having a mess at home is way better than raising havoc on the streets.

  3. Marlene said,

    December 6, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    I am a heavy packer also; I need what I need. Oh the days of having a cooking boy in the house. I remember it well…….
    It is good for them to go way; they learn that they really do like their home at home; spartan or otherwise. And when they get married and come home; they are on VACATION!!!!

  4. Nan C said,

    December 17, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Let the Boy be spartan – less stuff to leave in the sink,.. or on the floor. I am hoping that when my boys go away they will have times that they say to themselves the next day, “How come these things aren’t cleaned up? Oh yeah, Mom & Dad aren’t here to do it.”

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