Why I Try To Furnish My Home Like I Furnish My Mind By Nathanael Blake for The Federalist
Conservatives proclaim the important of the Permanent Things. We should also, in a throwaway culture of plastic and particle board, value permanent things.
I spent most of my undergraduate years sleeping on the floor. It saved space, which saved money because my roommates and I stuffed our lodgings with more people than we were probably supposed to have. The rent was very cheap.
After graduating, I loaded up my car and drove across the country for a new job. Before marrying my lovely wife a few years later, I moved from the East Coast to the Midwest, again hauling everything in my car.
In short, I didn’t think much about furnishing a home until I was married. As a child, that was my parents’ task. As a single young man in school or working, I got by with whatever was cheap or could be scrounged; the rooms I lived in were just places to stay, rather than home. When I was an undergraduate, I lived like an undergraduate.
Marriage was time for the accoutrements of adulthood to replace those of youth, to grow up and think about what we wanted in our home for the rest of our lives. Over the years we have slowly furnished our home with things that will last. It is a work on progress (the wall of cheap bookshelves has only recently been replaced by shelves made from real wood), but matters are much improved from when I slept on the floor and kept clothing in plastic tubs.
My youthful shabbiness did not arise from asceticism; I was just a student who did not care much about my living quarters. This was fine at the time, but I knew that it was not a model for the whole of life.
Conservatives proclaim the important of the Permanent Things. We should also, in a throwaway culture of plastic and particle board, value permanent things. In an age of utility and ugliness, we should value beauty, including in our homes. For example, getting a real desk was a functional improvement over the plastic folding table I used to work at, but I also enjoy the aesthetics of quality hardwood, well-crafted and beautifully finished.