This seems to be a common idea among most, minimalist or not. And I get it! I’ve always been a big reader, and as a homeschooling family, I most definitely value literature and books as a resource.
We actually have quite a few books, and I’m okay with that. My children are young and ready to absorb so much information. It would be a travesty to NOT offer them a decent book selection.
But here’s where I feel I may differ from others.
We are at max capacity for books.
There is no more room for books.
I will not be making anymore room for books.
Are you freaking out yet?
Here’s how it works in our home.
For every new book that comes in, an older or less favorable book goes out. It gets gifted or donated, never sold. I don’t even take books to Goodwill or yard sales to be sold. Books are one of those things that should be given freely if you’re able. And often, in my opinion.
As impressive as it is for one to say they have a bazillionty books in their possession, it’s not for me.
I want to own a bazillionty books too. Just not all at once. I want the books to come into my home and then pass through. I want them to be here, be loved, be read…and then be spread out into the world.
The number of books you own doesn’t say anything about your intelligence or your emotional depth. If a great quantity of them makes you happy, then I’m happy for you too! But far too often a family would be looked down upon for having 20 books while a family with 2,000 would be awed. A mom stressed out by books strewn across the floor every. single. day. is urged to keep them no matter what lest her children become idiots without that copy of Sesame Street… These perceptions are flawed.
How many books do you keep out of passion for the story and love of their intellectual value?
How many do you keep just because they’re there?
This is not a slam to those of you that love a large book collection. If you’re disagreeing with every word I’m saying, then this isn’t about you.
But if you’re out there feeling completely overwhelmed because “you don’t just get rid of books“… If you feel painfully obligated to continue shoving books into corners and underneath beds… If you’re worried you’re somehow doing your family a disservice by destashing books… Take heart.
You’re not obligated to keep jack squat.
The number you possess is far less important than the effort you put into the continuation of the cycle on a grand scale. Push the reading loop forward by letting the oldies go. Maintain exciting interest. Make it well known in your home that the things books contain are global yet personal, ever changing, evolving, endless, uncontainable.
They’re not only objects to collect. Books are stories, histories, education, comfort, memories, fantasies… We just pay for the paper and ink used to hold them until they fill our minds.
Passing on the books while keeping the contents is okay. Minimal books with maximum reading is an acceptable option.
Remember that your happy doesn’t have to look like someone else’s happy.