Books & Minimalism & My Opinion

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.

Even books.

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.

Find your minimal.

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13 thoughts on “Books & Minimalism & My Opinion

  1. Oh my gosh! I love this! Since starting to live a minimalist lifestyle, I’ve felt guilty about my bookshelves full of books. I love my books. Reading has always been a passion of mine, and most of my books are like old friends. I got rid of the ones that I don’t ever plan on reading again, but I love the idea of passing books on to a new owner!

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  2. Love it! I just decluttered my book shelf about 2 weeks ago and had a friend ask me, “How did you convince yourself to get rid of books?”. I shrugged it off and told her most were books I didn’t like anyway, and the rest were fiction or something else that I knew I wasn’t likely to read again. She told me that she felt guilty whenever she got rid of books, and she felt like she had to keep/love them. She also rarely got new books anymore because she didn’t have room for them. I thought it was so sad that her love for books were keeping her from her love of reading!

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      • I think, if I were brave enough, I would have this tattooed on my wrist. After cleaning out my mother’s home in the fall of 2015 following her death, I realized how many things we keep out of obligation. Those things that are supposed to be sweet remembrances become burdens. I recently sat down and went through a box of letters and cards that I’d been keeping because my grandmother sent them to my mother in the 70s’. I was startled and saddened by how many of the letters basically said the same thing, and how many of them had an underlying tone of complaining. I loved and still love my grandmother, who passed away in 1987. But it makes me said to have read these and have that memory tainted by this new perception.

        I threw most of them away, keeping a few of the more cheerful ones because they are samples of her handwriting. But I definitely got rid of the ones that will bring no joy.

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  3. I worked in a bookshop as a student and I amassed an impressive quantity of books. I was one to think that it was impossible to own too many books. Then, I had kids. I searched for ways of making my life easier and purged every single room in the house of items that I didn’t need or want anymore. By far, the most difficult item to purge were my bookshelves. I ended up only keeping books that 1. I knew I would read again or 2. Held a sentimental value or 3. Were useful. I think I may have kept about 5-10% of my collection. I agree that books should be shared. In the region I live in, there are book boxes in every park. You can take a book from the box and bring it home and you can take books from home and place them in the box. It’s brilliant!

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  4. I am a huge advocate of using the library and passing books on. That being said, I did accumulate a very large collection of books to read, but after years of them sitting on my selves, it started to stress me out that I would most likely die before reading all of those books. It felt so freeing to let them go!

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  5. Interesting post I agree everyone’s version of minimalism is different. I pass on fiction books easily but my problems begin with my to read pile! My non fiction is an area of resistance as I will often revisit these so can’t let them go. Some books I find I get something different every time I read it. Having said that I enjoy clearing out now and then – gifting books is always pleasing

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  6. Wholeheartedly agree with this post 🙂 I am an avid reader, but in the past six months or so, I have gotten rid of a lot of my books. I have sold them on Ebay, and now someone else can enjoy them! I utilize my local library all the time now and read even more than ever and don’t have books sitting on my shelf that just are no longer being read.

    Liked by 1 person

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