I adore books. If I could have a library in my house and keep 90% of the books I buy (making an allowance that 10% are duds), I would be all about that. However, I live in a typical modest family home and do not have the luxury of a home library. And I suspect if you are reading this, you don't either.
So when it comes to decluttering books, I turned to the Godfather of minimalism, Joshua Becker. Here's an article he wrote on the topic. Enjoy!
I asked Twitter for some help in addressing the specific topic of decluttering books.
I asked a simple question, “Have you significantly decluttered your book collection? If so, what was the most important step or decision you made in the process?”
Responses began flooding in almost immediately (they are, after all, a pretty sharp crew). The answers I received were experienced, helpful, and taken as a whole, quite comprehensive. In fact, the responses were so good, I decided to organize them and pass them on to a larger audience.
So then, if your book collection has become too cluttered, you’ll find help here. If you ever feel burdened by your books, you’ll find inspiration. Or if you are just looking to create some extra space in your home or office, you’ll find plenty of practical steps here to help you unclutter your book collection and finding more space in your home and life.
12 Helpful, Practical Steps to Decluttering Books
1. Decide to do it.
After all, just like everything else, it always starts with the decision to get started.
2. Realize books do not define you.
Books add value. They contribute to who you are. But they do not define who you are.
3. Realize scarcity thinking.
4. Determine to make room for the new.
An optimistic point of view is advantageous in every endeavor.
5. Go digital.
The free Amazon Kindle App is available for almost every electronic device. There is no need to own an actual Kindle to use it.
6. Give yourself permission to keep your favorites.
Less is different than none. Identify your favorite books and keep them close. Find freedom in knowing all decisions are coming from you and nobody is forcing them on you.
7. Set up reasonable boundaries for your collection.
Boundaries help us quickly delineate the “most important” from the “somewhat important.” They are helpful in countless other pursuits—use them to your advantage. Choose one and give it a try. You can always adjust later.
8. Remove unused or outdated reference books.
While the Internet may never entirely replace reference books for your line of work or personal preference, it can almost certainly prove to be an efficient replacement for many of your reference books (starting with a dictionary and thesaurus).
9. Remind yourself books are not the memory.
10. Give away books you do not intend to read again.
11. Think of forwarding good books as an act of love.
12. If all else fails, choose to lend them out.
A proper bookkeeping system will be helpful if you are ever in the need to find the book again.
For further reading, Joshua Becker recommends, Breaking The Sentimental Attachment To Books.
About Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker is the WSJ Best-Selling author of The More of Less and The Minimalist Home. He has appeared on numerous media outlets including The NYT, WSJ, USA Today, and CBS.