This is my journey through the 30 Day Simplify Your Life challenge. If you would like to join in, you can get the ebook here and follow along.
Resource: The official Youtube video for Book week, by muchelleb.
I am working through the challenge in an order that suits me best, instead of directly following the set challenge order. Feel free to do the same!
Day 5: Books
Day 5 in the official challenge is actually ‘stationery’ but I covered stationery in day 2 and you can read my post about it here. So today we are covering what is officially Day 3 of the challenge (but my day 5): books.
I love to read. I love classics, lit fic and the occasional fantasy novel. But somehow, I never became a hoarder of books.
When I was little, I had a two-shelf bookcase that sat on top of my desk. I think this two-shelf restriction instilled caution and self-control in me from a young age. I would only buy a book if I thought it was really worthy of taking up some portion of my limited shelf space and I would never buy a book if it was part of a series larger than about 3 books (three times this rule had to be disregarded as authors would suddenly add to a series that had already reached its three-book limit). I would also elect to read larger or more complex books that would take me longer to get through so that I would need fewer books to entertain me throughout the year. On a more petty note, I also limited myself to only books with really nice spines that I could happily display on my bookcase.
Because of this caution I managed to limit my book collection to two-shelves, all the way through to grade 12, when I finally upgraded to my sister’s full-size, 5 shelf bookcase.
After almost 5 years with this larger book case, my book collection still takes up only 2 shelves.
The third shelf includes some reference books – including old uni textbooks and some fun non-fiction books that I have bought over the years – as well as some notebooks, a recipe journal and a planner. Without the uni textbooks, my reference books fit comfortably in that space on the second shelf. I don’t consider the other books as part of my book collection because 1. the textbooks were required for uni and 2. the notebooks, planner and recipe journal are stationery. You may also notice the stack of children’s books on this shelf but disregard these because they were added during my book decluttering process; I’ll explain soon.
The bottom two shelves are filled with some of my sister’s old books and her old CD collection; these were never rehoused when she moved out.
What I’m getting at with this incredibly verbacious explanation is that I’m not much of a book hoarder, considering my love of reading. You could argue that every book on the third shelf should be considered as part of my book collection but even then, when you push the books together so that all space is taken up on the second shelf, I fill under 2.5 shelves.
So what did book decluttering look like for me?
Well. I got rid of about 4 books from those top two shelves; classics that I bought because they were on sale but that I have no interest in reading.
But then. Plot twist. 9 additional books from a different location.
Introducing: the book boxes.
Now don’t worry. I haven’t spent 605 words explaining to you that I don’t hoard books, only to reveal a secret collection from my store room. 85% of these are my sister’s. But I knew that I had some childhood picture books somewhere in these boxes that I wanted to be reacquainted with and sort through.
In all three book boxes, only 21 books were mine and 12 were the kinds of picture books that you read between the ages of 2-7.
I kept these 12 childhood books and added them to the third shelf of my bookcase for easy access when my toddler niece comes over to visit.
As for the other 9 books, they’re gone. They were all books I read throughout primary school, that I have no particular connection to.
I haven’t actually disposed of these books yet. They are still in a pile in my room, waiting to move to their new home. I have decided to wrap them up and place them under charity Christmas trees, for other children to enjoy. So I will get rid of them as soon as I have healed up from surgery and can get myself to a shopping centre with a Christmas tree.
Books are often something that people struggle to get rid of because they either have an ongoing use, they hold sentimental value or they are used as decor with their carefully selected spines and covers artfully on show.
I can definitely confirm that my own drive to cull books was only about a fifth of my drive to clean out my makeup and beauty products.
How many books could you get rid of?