STRIPPING: Opinion Wanted

Some people get weak in the knees at the sight of some hottie…not me. There could be a tall-dark-and-handsome holding a lamp and you know what would make me drool? The Lamp. I have this weakness for decorating, decorations, an eye for color and scheming and feng-shui and balance and (sigh) drippy candles, throw pillows, serving platters, those little balls made of twigs that sit in a dish or a vase, art prints, mirrors and let’s not even START on my passionate love of stripping (not only myself) but old furniture as well – painting and staining it to perfection!

I moved from a fully furnished living rental home to my not-at-all furnished, white, stank apartment building only 8 days before becoming a Stripper. (I’m getting panicky just THINKING about this – paper bag, quick…inhale, exhale, much better) I spent 2 months feeling very, very cranky about the state of my home. I would walk in and not even FEEL at home, but this challenged me greatly. And I ask you, reader, your personal opinion on what I write below:

If you’re following this stripping venture of mine, I ask you to remember my Motive Check a few posts ago where The Little Angel & The Little Devil bickered on my shoulders as to WHY I was doing this. Part of my conclusion was that I was giving up buying things I DON’T NEED (and all “new” things, at that). But in the beginning, I quickly checked myself when I was buying “used” things I didn’t need. So I stopped. And I was miserable in my white, pathetic, completely not-homey home day in, and day out. I waited…and have the super awesome pics to prove some sweet FREE furniture! But, when talking with a friend, we discussed the “need” to feel at home in our homes. I ask YOU – is this truth? Is it truth that decorations that make a person feel “at home” is a need? I am struggling with this one.

To be honest with you, I made a simple list of specific things that would make my white apartment feel like home and I will tell you, I question if these “used” purchases I made at Thrift Stores were actual needs or wants. I’d love you opinions (as much as I love what my apartment looks like after curtains, a centerpiece, a wall mirror and a tablecloth!) Does this so-called-passionate-love for decorating, space and color I have qualify as fulfilling a human need, or is the truest test to live without that which I love?

I know “decorating” seems like a weird way to stumble, but I’ve thought a lot about it. Especially thinking of non-Americans…do the huts of Africa need “Feng Shui” to feel at home? Do the poor in Asia need a splash of color to create comfort and livability? Or are these things non-essentials? Seriously: I’m torn!!!

10 comments On STRIPPING: Opinion Wanted

  • Jenny- I love this series. it is exactly how I have been thinking lately, and I enjoy hearing your two cents on it! Here are few more musings:
    1)Maslow’s heirarchy of needs…esteem and self actualization are the least of the basic needs, and creativity is a major part of self actualization. Something to think about.
    2)On the less psychological side of things, God created the garden of Eden to be a beautiful place…we crave beauty in our surroundings b/c God made us that way.
    3)Does a comfortable/attractive home enable you to be more effective at hospitality or let you bless others?

    Of course, we always need to reconsider the quantity of stuffwe have, and the hold our desires have on us…
    just my ponderings :)!

  • Great question! Especially timely for me as I just spent a couple of hours this afternoon decorating the inside and outside of my home for fall. Did I NEED to do this? Probably not. Was it good for me? I think so. For me it is kind of like my blog. I do it to release some creative energy and because in the writing or in the “beautifying” I sense a closeness to God. He is creative and I like to think that he takes pleasure in our making beauty out of nothing (or almost nothing). Can we over do it? Of course! Just like everything else in this life we can tend to excessiveness. The point where we go over board is probably a little different for everyone. Like I said–great question! Can’t wait to see what some others think.

  • I don’t know how to answer! I’m torn too!!!

    Sorry 🙁

    But when/if you come you should dig through my MANY totes of unused decor, I KNOW you’ll find something of value!!! Maybe even curtains!

  • I love this question. As we have talked 1000 times…WHERE is that line? The thing that I always feel very clear about is where is our heart in the matter? Are we decorating our home to be “better” than or impress a friend? Or is it simply to provide a place that allows you to let your guard down. To really dig in deep in your time with god, a place that feels like you can just BE.

    Knowing you, its the latter…in which case I say, find a way to decorate. As you know, I have hated my basement for 10 years. Since we painted it this summer we are down here ALL the time…and are loving it! It does make a difference.

  • So funny, Jenny. I have actually been thinking about this lately too as I’m settling in (another) new home and wondering how much to invest (both monetarily and time) in decorating.

    I don’t have an answer but I think it’s a good thing to ponder.

    Fashion is another very similar vein. Do we NEED to keep up with the latest trends or do we simply NEED to be clothed? I’m all for looking great and taking care of one’s image but there’s a fine line that, when crossed, allows one to focus too much on outward beauty and not enough on inward. What a balancing act!

  • Jenni, I want you to live simply. I want you to get rid of all the things in your life that distract you from what’s truly important. I want you to succeed at this goal you’ve placed in front of you. But, I don’t want you to accidentally get rid of something that is important to you while you’re in the process. If you aren’t buying “things” this year, but you need your apartment to be your creative outlet, try finding things for free and refurbishing them. You could learn to re-upholster the free couch you found on craigslist (or the couch that is currently in your apartment)! You could learn how to make a lamp shade! You could get a canvas from an art shop and create your own one-of-a-kind masterpiece. I have a magazine called Ready Made that teaches you how to make a chandelier from old plastic hangers. No joke. This is your opportunity to stop consuming and start creating!

  • p.s. as soon as I spelled jenni with a “y” I felt funny about it – I knew it was wrong… and this won’t let me edit.

  • i’m with k-yo. or maybe now, k-jo? needs come first – so if you’re clothed, fed, sheltered, and bills are paid, then what you do with the rest of your money is between you and God. and really, it is all just stuff- material things, you know?

  • Thanks you guys! I’m amazed and blessed to be finding out how many other people are really working hard to reflect on this topic as well…it encourages me to keep moving in the right direction when its not always the easiest!

    Feedback: appreciated! 🙂

  • I don’t really know what the answer is. I am just happy that your are challenging many of us to think about this. Motives are an interesting things. I don’t really know if there is such a thing as a pure motive. Why do we do anything? Usually there are mixed motives. We are human. I certainly applaud you for trying to do the right thing. It shows great maturity and character. Keep us posted.

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