Let’s start with the problem facing modern families: Time.
If you’ve got a household like mine that features two careers and three kids with ambitious extra-curricular schedules but no driver’s licenses, then you are seriously crunched for time.
The big time wasters: food and commuting. Eating and driving are the two most inefficient activities families undertake. Yet we do them every day.
The Pig Out: Between grocery shopping, preparing meals, and cleaning up, families lose whole swaths of valuable time. Not to discount the importance of family meals. Eating together is essential. It’s all that happens before and after the meal that is the problem. Even fast food is inefficient when shuttling multiple kids to multiple practices.
Overdrive: The car is a black hole of inefficiency. Driving kids to school, commuting to work, shuttling kids to practices and lessons — all of this time behind the wheel, and packed into the Family Truckster is an utter waste of time and resources.
But don’t worry, there is a simple solution to feeding and transporting your family.
And here it is.
Live and work at a boarding school.
You know boarding schools, right? Hogwarts. A Separate Peace. Well, you can live at one. We do, and it is super efficient.
Eating solved: The dining hall on campus provides three meals a day when school is in session for faculty families. No shopping, no cooking, no cleaning up. Go through the line, eat, put your dishes in the slot. Done. Pure efficiency.
Cars in Park: Kids walk to school, parents walk to work (one spouse working from home is also efficient — we’ve tried both). Sports practices are on campus. Allow non-school or club team participation only if the practices are on the residential school campus.
Can’t you just smell the efficiency?
Okay, there are some down sides.
A Village of Teenagers: While it’s not exactly “Lord of the Flies,” we are significantly outnumbered. Imagine for a moment, a town where the vast majority of inhabitants were under 18. While teens get a bad rap, they do have underdeveloped forebrains, and may wander, unannounced, right into your bedroom to announce they have locked themselves out of their rooms. Repeatedly.
The food is fine. It really is. The dining hall staff does a great job, given the number of people they have to feed. And the budget they work with. And if, by the end of the term, money is a little tight and they have to cut some corners, there is always PB&J. Three meals a day.
Your house is not yours, of course. And faculty housing is not exactly at the top of a school’s priority list. This isn’t really generally a problem if you are handy. Or an experienced carpenter. Some background as an electrician is helpful. Roofing skills, a plus. Sure, there will be days when the aging infrastructure collapses, and the poop of a couple hundred students floods your house, but can’t you just smell the efficiency!
Campus life is not like being in a cult. In most ways. I will confess that I live in “Austin” but have not actually seen the town in 10 years. I hear they have something called SXSW? Never been. Some music festival thingy that happens at the City Limits?
The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that the efficiency of life on a boarding school may not be for everyone. There may even be a rational limit to efficiency. Can anyone find the right balance of efficiency? simplehuman always seems to find the efficiency without sacrificing functionality. That’s why I admire the brand so much.
My step can saves me time, but never wanders into the bedroom. My rechargable sensor pump never causes sewage to back up into my bedroom. My son’s X-frame hamper is the reason he is allowed to live indoors with the rest of us (long story). These products just save time, work perfectly, and bring a touch of design elegance to a house that we love, that we don’t own, but is ours.
For all it’s efficiencies.
For better or for worse.
Disclosure: Well this is it, my final post as a simplehuman brand ambassador. It has been an amazing experience working with a brand that is so universally recognized for making incredible products. It has been inspiring to get insight into how much care they put into every detail, creating tools for more efficient living. I have been compensated for this work, including this post, and have been provided products for testing. Awesome stuff that I will probably be passing on to my grandkids.