I’ve long been a minimalist. Way before it even had a name, I was one of those people who just preferred less. Less stuff crowding my spaces, less stuff to look after, less stuff to move from house to house, just less!
Unless that stuff was books.
Books hold a special place in my heart. As a child books were expensive and going to the library was the norm. We had a precious collection of books from my mum’s childhood and received books at Christmas and on our birthdays. But there wasn’t the casual ability to pop to a bookshop to buy a book let alone an entire series.
Then sometime in my young adulthood, the publishing world changed and books became affordable. Bookshops were plentiful and I delighted in buying the tomes I desired. My bookcases groaned under the weight. But still the books kept coming. I married a reader and we gave life to the next generation of voracious readers. In short, this family loves books.
But how many books are too many?
A few years ago I read Marie Kondo’s book – before she was a worldwide sensation and everyone was konmaring their stuff – and what she said about books made sense. We had amassed a huge collection of crime fiction that we were never going to read again – we knew who did it. Our books had been shared amongst family and friends, they were dog-eared and well-loved but they had served their purpose, they’d given me joy and it was time to thank them for their service and let them go.
I originally purchased and read this as an ebook but my father in-law saw this copy in a bookshop recently and thought I’d like it.
My family was not ready, in fact they were horrified when I packed up several boxes of books and sent them to a book-loving charity. Marie advises that you should never get rid of anyone else’s stuff and she’s right. I had to be very careful only to jettison my books.
Fast forward to 2017 and Marie Kondo is a household name, minimalism is the new black and almost everyone knows what a professional organiser does (which is lucky or I’d be unemployed). Suddenly my husband and daughter were ready to take the leap and move their books on. Suddenly there were boxes of books jostling for space in our garage. And their readiness gave me licence to get rid of the books that were shared or of unknown providence. Unused recipe books and how to guides soon joined their fiction counterparts.
Books going begging
But fear not, we are still at the very core of our beings a book-loving family. Our cherished childhood books still have homes along side classics that will be reread with pleasure. And to an outsider our home still looks like it is weighed down with books but those books lift us up not weigh us down.
An empty shelf!
Today I packed the car to bursting and took all those boxes of books to Lifeline where they’ll begin a new life bringing joy to another book-lover and really it doesn’t get any better than that.
Surround yourself with things that bring you joy or perform a service that brings you joy and your life will be more with less.