[Discussion Post] Do You Declutter Books?

As a minimalist, this is THE billion dollar question: do you declutter your books? Short answer: no, I don’t. Thus, am I still a minimalist? And why do I make this choice? Do other people act the way I do? Lets open the discussion!

You may also like : 10 Jobs You Can Do If You Love Books (other than author) & How You Can Get Them.

Books as a “special item”


I feel like most book lovers somehow share this idea: books are not regular items. Of course, they are inanimate objects, but they are different in so many ways from a mug or a spoon… aren’t they? Some of us even refuse to lend books, which might become the topic of a future discussion post if you would love to. I have heard several people say that books “have a soul”, and even though I am not sure of the actual meaning of that sentence, a part of me agrees in the sense that books are definitely “special”. I feel like they kind of inherit from a part of their author’s soul and feelings: that is how words make me feel. Thus, I think I can understand the point of view of the ones who say books “have a soul”.

Old books and Heritage


Another reason that explains why books tend to be so hard to get rid of is their value. I am not only talking about monetary value here but more accurately about their value as a piece of History. Of course, some of our books have been printed yesterday (more or less) and seem to be of no historical value – even though they will definitely become the “oldies” of tomorrow’s readers –, but some of our books are 100-200 years old and thus, they do embody History itself. As a woman who studies written Heritage in the context of her master’s degree, you must believe me when I say that I could never throw away an older book – even an ugly one. At the very least, I would sell/give it to a book shop specialized in old books. I can understand that some people are just not materialistic when it comes to books but regarding older books, please try considering them as the piece of Heritage they are . They may look bland and unimportant but know that for researchers like me, they do matter a lot.

The in-between option


I thus definitely understand why throwing books away may get tricky. However, I have an in-between option for those of you who would love to declutter but still can’t find a way to do it. Why not giving your books to a library? Let me explain: some of the books we buy are just not enjoyable for us, right? Then, why not only keeping – as the little treasures they are – the books we have loved, while giving away the books we have not enjoyed that much? As a librarian, I can tell you for sure that the book you did not love might be someone else’s favorite one – and we are always so happy when people bring us books. I think it is a great compromise as you still choose to keep the books that brought you joy, while getting rid of the ones that did not (but without having to feel the pain of throwing them away.

As you have probably understood, I am one those persons who struggle to get rid of books. The mix between my minimalist-self and my librarian-self is sometimes very hard to combine and thus, books are items I am the worse at decluttering. As I wrote in that post, I do not think it has to be a problem: minimalism is not supposed to feel like a chore. However, I find it quite funny to notice how hard it can be for me to get rid of that item even though getting rid of clothes (for instance) is the easiest task in the world.

I would really love today’s post to be a discussion post, thus feel free to tell us in the comments what you like to do with your read books. Do you throw them away? Do you lend them? Or do you keep them preciously? I can’t wait to read your answers,

Sincerely,

  1. I declutter my books because I’m the type who reads a book once and never reads the same book again. Very rarely will I re-read a book.

    One type of book I decluttered completely were the [insert topic here] for dummies books. I found the content shallow and that they only touched on beginner level stuff. I can find richer content on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing! When you de clutter, do you tend to throw books away, or to share them with friends/ a library? I am wondering as I have a pile of books I am considering trying to get rid of!

      So true! Those books about concepts and content I can find on the internet are also the first ones I feel good to let go. Even at the library, when we pinpoint which books need to go, it is always a consideration to have. Obviously, we do keep the best of them for people who do not have an internet connection but indeed, some books just need to go.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I donate my books! I couldn’t bare to throw them away 😓 sometimes there are book exchanges (pre-covid times). I got a lot of free books that way and when I was done, I would give them alway. Sometimes I donate to libraries.

      I often find that books tend to repeat themselves. For self-help books, it’s often regurgitated into from one author to another. I pick the book that resonates the most with me and let the rest go, especially if they’re teaching me the same things. Very rarely do I find a book that has original ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Exchanging books is such a good idea, I often do this with friends, and we do the same with a shared book recs system!

      That is so true, this is partly why I choose to listen to self help books rather than read them; I have my Scribd subscription and it allows me to consume that content without having to own the physical book.

      I wish you a beautiful day ✨

      Like

  2. So true! I find it really hard to get rid of books. I like to do book swaps with other bookish friends, so then it feels easier to part with a book or two. How do you like Scribd? I’ve seen it, but haven’t yet tried it out yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swaps with friends is also my very favorite way to part with some of the books I own; I know they will find a “loving home” if that makes sense.

      I absolutely love it! I have a post about a comparison between Audible and Scribd if you are interested in it (you can type “Scribd” in the search engine on the right side of my blog). Scribd just saves me both a lot of time and money, if you are into audiobooks I highly recommend it! There is a free trial of you want to give it a try, just know that to cancel the trial you really need to be careful and check twice as the first time, they charged me even though I thought I had cancelled properly.

      Have a nice day ✨

      Like

  3. I aim to keep all my books and only get rid of them if I didn’t particularly enjoy reading them. Having a personal library at home is something I treasure- books create a homely feeling in a room too! 📚✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree on the homely feeling thing, I could not live in an apartment with no books in it. When I get into a new person’s home, one of my very first ideas is to have a look at their library lol. I do the same and get rid of the books I really did not enjoy in order to make my library a happy place full of the books I enjoy. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You’re welcome Camille, and I’m with you on checking out other people’s libraries/book shelves, it can get some interesting conversations started too! A home without books doesn’t feel quite right.✨

      Liked by 1 person

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