There are not too many things in this world that I love more than books. It is rare to ever see me without at least one and there are always stories bouncing around in my head. However this doesn’t mean that I own shelves and shelves of books, in fact it is the exact opposite, I keep getting rid of books.
This was not always the case with my life. Throughout my teenage life I amassed a large collection of books, many of which were classics that I thought I needed in my life. I always got books for birthdays and Christmas and I never got rid of a single one of them. My dad had to keep building my bookshelf taller and taller until it reached the ceiling and I needed a step stool anytime that I wanted to reach any of the books at the top.
My first real book declutter happened when I was about to move across the country and out of my childhood room for the first time. It made sense that I wasn’t going to take all of the books with me, but I really only got rid of the books that I felt like I was too old for, kept most of them on that same bookshelf and took a few of my favourites to Ontario. Now I don’t think I missed a single one of the books that I left behind and I got used to having a smaller and more quality book collection, so when I returned home for the first time last Christmas I got rid of a lot of books. I got rid of even more this past week when I was moving the last few of those books over to my new place and my new bookshelf. I even got rid of a few of the ones I had kept with me over the past two years.
I liked having a large book collection and I know part of it was because I thought it made me look sophisticated and smart. The entire top row of books were classics such as Oliver Twist and Wuthering Heights that I was sure that I was going to get to one day, but guess what. I hate most classics and I was never going to read them. I couldn’t imagine getting rid of books and if you had told me that now I would be happy with a small collection of my favourites I would have thought you were crazy. But that is what I like now.
Now there are a lot of reasons why this is the case, but the main one is that I don’t need them. I have found that I get overwhelmed with too many things and I prefer a more minimalist approach to my possessions. Even though books are wonderful, marvelous things, they are also clutter and can fill up spaces that I prefer to keep empty.
Now because I am such a quick reader I go through a lot of books and if I was to buy all of them, even at thrift stores I would be spending a lot of money each month on books. At the library I worked at last summer, the receipt for the books even told you how much money you had saved by taking the books out of the library. The library also has pretty much every book that I could ever want and if they don’t have it, they can just bring it in from a different library.
Just for those curious, my husband did the math. If I were to buy a paperback version from Amazon of each book that I read in the month of June, I would have spent $549.19. That’s just one month of reading!
I am also not a re-reader of books unless it is one of my absolute favourites like Harry Potter. So if I have read a book, I am probably not ever going to go back to it. Knowing this about myself means that I have a short pile of books that I got from conferences and other places that as soon as I have read them, they will be donated. I don’t pretend that they will have a use on my bookshelf besides taking up space and I would rather that someone else got the chance to read the story.
When I set up my new bookshelf this week I looked at it and smiled, loving every book that was placed upon the shelves and knowing that I didn’t want anything else there.
I never imagined that my minimalism would extend into my book collection, but it turns out that this makes me happier than shelves of books ever did.
Just don’t ask about the amount of children’s books I have saved up in boxes for the future….