I am book lover. I prefer to buy books rather than ebooks, even though I have purchased a lot of ebooks as well. I just love the look, the feel and the smell of real books. I have a huge library too. And sometimes, I do have to declutter my books. And as a book lover, this is never easy. Books are to be cherished. They hold the a little world inside of them, they capture your imagination and heart and spirit you away into lives and places of peoples you’d never otherwise connect with. They deepen our ability to emphasize, and help us understand how to relate to others better. Books are magical, and powerful so decluttering them is really hard. Believe me, I know.
So where do you begin when it’s time to clear your shelves a little? This is how I have approached de-cluttering books in the past. And trust me, I’m no minimalist when it comes to books. If anything, I’m a maximalist but I am also aware that sometimes it’s okay to let go.
Start with the DNF
This is the best place to start. Are there books on your shelves you started and didn’t finish reading, as in DNF or did not finish? Look at those books and ask yourself, why didn’t I finish this? Will I finish this? Do I even want to finish this? Those questions are going to help you decide whether or not the book should go into the pile of books to declutter. If you didn’t finish the book because it was boring, or you just hated something about it, and you don’t care to finish it, then declutter the book. These books will be easier to let go which is why I recommend starting with them.
Related Post: Why I’m Becoming More Minimal and You Should Too
Books You Have Not Read
I have lots of books on my shelves that I haven’t read. I’m not the sort of person that only buys books when I’m looking for something to read. I often buy them just because. It’s a book worm thing. I know I will read them eventually. But, sometimes books sit on my shelves for years and I don’t read them. Why? Well, interests change. I was very heavily into reading romance novels for about five years. I read 100 plus two years in a row. Then I slowed down a bit, but was still reading a crazy amount. I love the romance genre, but I kinda burned myself out reading all those romance books. I bought many that are sitting unread on my shelves, and in my e-reader. And a while back, I realized, I’d lost interest in ever reading some of those romance novels. If you have books on your shelves you haven’t read, ask yourself will I read this? It’s totally okay to declutter books if you think you are not going to read them because they simply don’t sound interesting to you anymore.
Have multiple copies of books? I sure do. Especially of the classics, as I bought them in university, but then the ones I truly loved I later bought again in really nice editions. You know, hardback with a leather cover or something really fancy and pretty like that. I could technically declutter the older editions I had bought for my courses back in my uni days. I haven’t as of yet, because to be honest this idea only just occurred to me, but it’s worth giving thought to I think. If you have more than one copy of a book, keep the copy that is most special to you. You really don’t need three copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or Jane Eyre. Declutter books you have multiple copies of and free up some shelf space.
Do They Bring Me Joy?
I think the first three methods I’ve listed above are great for decluttering books, and are the easiest to start with. However, they are not likely to prune out a ton of books if you are really looking to declutter books in your home. I know it seems sad to reduce books. You always dreamed of having a huge library right? Well, the reality is, it’s easier to acquire a huge library than it used to be. What we ought focus on now as book lovers is curating a library of books we love and treasure. So my next decluttering tip is a bit Marie Kondo because I’m going to ask you to really look at the books you own and ask, do they bring me joy? Did reading a particular book really make you happy? How connected were you to the topics or characters? What did you learn from the book? Would you read it again? If you are like me, you might have tons books on your shelves that you read, liked, but don’t really value or love. These are books you can declutter. I know it seems like a shame, but you read the book, you liked it and while that’s great, if you aren’t seriously invested in what is between the pages, it is likely better to let the book go. Keep what you love best and always have books you love at your fingertips. That is the best kind of library to have in my opinion.
I myself have decluttered books, and while it was very hard, I can honestly say I don’t miss any of the books I removed from my library. I think that when you really sit down and look the things you own, whether it’s clothes, decor or books, you can identify the things you really love and want in your life, and those that you don’t. Being more minimal really brings joy as when you only have things you use and love, you are more immersed in your life and in living than you are when you are surrounded by things just because–just because they were a gift, just because you spent money on it five years ago, just because it might be useful. So even though books are powerful and magical, if they aren’t sparking that joy, it’s totally okay to be more minimal about them. Even for book lovers.
Are you journeying into minimalism? Is decluttering books hard for your? Share your thoughts in the comments below.