We get a lot of emails about Becoming a Minimalist and Books. Do I keep books? Do I buy digital books? What’s my philosophy on books?
Books used to fall under the sentimental category. I collected a lot of old books that looked impressive on the shelf but as much as I loved them they didn’t serve a purpose for me. I donated them all quite a while back and now I envision someone that holds particular books dear and reads them as they should be. There have been moments that I regretted doing this but as time passed it didn’t matter to me as much and now I can’t imagine having to store them all. Old books now fall under the category of “Collections” and I’ve declared myself allergic to anything I have to dust, organize, or move.
I have over the last year, bought a few used books that I thought were a good deal at the local thrift store when I got on a motivational-I’m-going-to-change-my-life-and-earn-a-million-dollars kick. I’ve calmed down now and although I’ve still maintained the idea of ambition and doing something else with my life, I’m cleaning out the hard copy books and declared myself to decline any and all self-help books forever. I should think more of myself.
The solution is that I’ve been to the local library and registered for a library card. Novel idea huh? I have to admit that I stink at returning books and I really don’t want any extra things laying around on the end tables etc so I just use the Overdrive app for my phone and borrow ebooks from the library. I also do subscribe to Amazon Prime for the Movies/TV/Books and do get quite a few there on a borrow basis. Finally, I use the Free Kindle books that are mostly classics to round out my reading. There are times that I have to wait a bit for a popular book if it just came out but I rarely read poplular books so that’s not really a bother to me. If I have a book on hold there are always plenty more to choose from while I’m waiting for it. In this way I can read for free and there aren’t any books cluttering up my beautiful space.
My Grandmother taught me to enjoy the value of books, any books and so reading is very sentimental to me. I would never tell anyone to just get rid of sentimental hard copy books. That’s something each individual must decide for themselves. I do encourage you to look at your bookshelf and if you keep books merely to impress other people with your collection of knowledge, maybe sit down and reflect about that insecurity. Your persona and intelligent conversation are much more valuable and reflect your value and knowledge much more than any massive collection of paper.
I still think that libraries are underused. Most libraries now have many events to attend including book discussions, art classes, movies, speakers, and even gaming. I’ve never had to pay for an event at the library and I always come home having had a great experience where I met someone new, learned something, and generally had a simply good time. It’s not a rowdy party but it generally challenges your brain and encourages us to socialize which is becoming a lost art to some. For me, the library is the perfect solution for becoming a minimalist that still wants to participate in life.