I guess I should have expected that since everyone I know would be moving at the exact same time, most with the same amount of cluelessness about what they needed and how much it would cost, trips to WalMart and Target would be the norm.

However, the multiple trips back to these stores was a little ridiculous.  Necessary.  But ridiculous. It goes like this.

“Hey guys, we’ve just moved into this new house in a state that none of us are from and all we have are teacher clothes.  We should probably buy some new stuff like furniture, clothes, and all the basic things an empty house needs.”

“That sounds like a great idea!  Let’s go!”

Little do we know what we’re in for.

Part 1: Target.  Buy one bookshelf that might look nice in your room, buy a comforter and blanket so you have something to sleep on tonight, and a bathmat.  Buy a few more shirts, and a nice pair of pants for fun.  Consider yourself fairly well prepared.

Part 2: Ikea.  Buy one desk chair, two pillows and a duvet.  Think: sleeping on the floor won’t be any problem at all tonight with two comforters and a blanket.  Give yourself a high five, and move on.  When we get home realize you’re hecka glad you only live on the second floor because you just helped your roommate carry his desk up to the 4th floor, and failed to get your other roommate’s queen box spring up to the third floor.

Part 3: Matress King.  Wonder why beds are so expensive and think “Maybe I should get a futon.”  Do not buy a bed.

Part 4: Target Again.  Buy another blanket because while hardwood floors look beautiful, they are one thing: hard.  Look at the laundry hamper, but decide you’ll probably be back later and if so, you’ll pick it up then.  Then think “Maybe a bed wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”  Then think, “Nah, a futon would be a much better option.”

Part 5: Realize you’ve only bought a bookshelf, a desk chair and blankets.  You still have no dresser, no desk, no bed (or futon), no bedside table, no comfy chairs for guests, no bike to get around the city, no couch, no loveseat, no TV, no nothing.  Freak out a little bit.

Part 6: Run into a friend on the way to the grocery store.  He happens to be going to buy a queen sized mattress for $15 and it just so happens to woman selling them has two queen sized mattresses she’s selling for $15.  Think “They’re probably crap, but I’ll look.”  Look and realize it’s awesome, only $15, and have a friend point out that the girl living on the third floor has a currently unused box spring hanging out in the living room, and Presto!  You just bought a whole bed for $15.  Feel accomplished.

Part 7: Walmart.  Buy a pillow, some tailgating chairs, key rings and pens.  Wait for the better stuff at Target.

Part 8: Target…again.  Buy sheets, mattress pad, another pillow, and another bookcase.  Think that the whole room is starting to come together until you realize you just spent $130 on stuff that’s going to sit on your bed.  At least it will be comfortable.

Part 9: Ikea.  Return other crap that didn’t work from Ikea.  Try not to buy too many potted plants.  Avoid the children’s section where you will want to buy all the decorations for your classroom, and make a 9th grade English classroom feel like a Pre-K delight.

Part 10: Best Buy.  Think about buying a TV.  Go over to movies to mull the idea over, and pick op three movies you know you will buy.  Go back to TVs, and noncomittally say you’ll come back and buy the open box special.  Leave the movies you were going to buy behind the TV.

Part 11: Sleepy’s.  Buy supports for your bed so you don’t scratch the hardwood floors.  Find out that people love dealing with teachers and usually give (a) condolences, (b) advice from their relative who was a teacher, (c) discounts, or (d) free stuff.  Get s nice discount on very wheely-support things for a bed.

Part 12: Learn how to actively use craig’s list, and buy a dresser and desk for less than you spent on your mattress pad.  Feel only a little sorry for yourself.

Those steps are just the beginning steps.  There are many more because you’ll soon realize you’re going to need to fill your bookshelves with books music and movies, and you don’t even have a lamp yet, or a comfortable chair for guests to your room.  You’ll feel just a little disheartened, but hey, we’ve got the basics.  And oh crap you still need a laundry hamper.

And then, because all of my other friends are moving in, I’m helping them with their shopping (which, if you can’t see the bad advice I give myself when I shop, is a complete mistake for them to take my advice) which usually results in more trips back to the same stores to return what we just back.   And I’m also helping people move.

The moving process takes several steps which I don’t think I have the time to write out but it starts with signing on to CraigsList, massive amounts of emails, information exchanges, renting PhillyCarShare, going to goodness knows where, load up the car, driving back, unloading, taking the apartment apart (read: remove banisters), a lot of furniture finagling (“No. OK.  Now twist it to the left. THE LEFT, THE LEFT.  No? That’s not working?  It should work.  Now, just twist it a little more to the left.  MY left.  MY LEFT.  OK.  That’s not working.  Hmm.  I think we might have to have the couch on it’s back instead of at an angle…”), and the final placement.

And my school’s freshman orientation starts tomorrow (orientation?  why?) and I’m still just on step 8.