Minimal Bookshelf

A story about a bookworm who did not want to clutter her living space with books.

Let’s get it straight – I love reading and I purchase most of my books, new or used, simply because I prefer having a tangible reading experience. I do listen to audio books from time to time, and pocket book is always with me for travels, but for day to day reading I choose paper copies.

Despite my love for books, there is something else I value no less – a neat and spacious living space. And so, for a long time I’ve been living with a question How do I keep on reading books and not cluttering my home? I have tried to limit myself with book purchases, so I switched to a pocket reader instead. It didn’t take me long to understand this change affected my reading experience significantly. To be frank, I didn’t want to read at all and the urge to spend my savings on books only grew. But then I bought a book, and then another… and the next thing I know, I was reading 2-3 books a month – woohoo!

I am fully aware that it is only a question of time when the number of books I own will grow and eventually will take up the space at home. But somehow I have always had a feeling I will not have an outrageously big library. Why? Because I feel that owning every book you have read just for sake of owning is pointless. So I came up with a plan how to keep my books rotating.

Now there are 3 types of books on my shelves, books:
(1) to read – recently purchased books that need to be read;
(2) to keep – these are books I dearly love for different kind of reasons and I can see myself rereading multiple times;
(3) to find a better home – books I did not have strong connection with, therefore I prefer finding them a better owner.

As I’ve said, I prefer living in home with as little unwanted items as possible. Claiming that book can be unwanted at home is rather dramatic, but what I am trying to say is that by building a library of books I will never open again, in my mind, is almost the same as wasting them. Perhaps I could not connect with a certain book because of irrelevant topics, or maybe the style of writing was what put me off. One way or another, it does not mean that the book is bad, it just didn’t work for me, but someone else might enjoy it.

That is why, if a book is not a keeper I usually:
(1) gift it to someone who might enjoy it;
(2) exchange it with my friends for something I might like or want to read;
(3) donate it to public libraries, schools;
(4) donate it to used books bookshop or sell it there to get credits for my next purchase (Google for the local options;  Mint Vinetu in Vilnius, Robert’s Books in Riga).

Everyone has different reading habits and attitudes towards owning the books, and what matters most really is finding a balance that works for you. Apparently, what at first seemed impossible, turned out to be a system that works to satisfy both sides of me, the bookworm and the minimalist.