How I Got Rid of Books and Didn’t Stop Reading

 

I’ve always loved a good book. Reading has been one of my passions since I know for myself. I enjoy reading because I can immerse myself in the life and experience of an author or character. In the last 10 years, I’ve switched from fictional to non-fictional literature because I saw an opportunity for immense growth associated with that kind of books.

Books Are A Gift

Imagine, in a few days or weeks you can learn something really interesting and useful just by reading a book – a book that someone spent many months or even years researching for and then writing it for you. Such exceptional gift authors give us.

A dream of mine was to have a comprehensive library filled with all the books I’ve read and the ones I still want to read. Before adopting minimalism principles, I had over 100 books in my house. Maybe for some of you it’s not a big number, but considering I had all my books in 12.5 square meters (in my room), that was a lot for me. 

I would say that 90% of the books I owned were read. The remaining 10% was meant to be one of these days. I would like to spend 3 to 5 hours every day reading (now I read 1 to 2 hours). The biggest fear I have is that I don’t read all the books I want before I die. And trust me, I have a huge list. A list containing around 500 books that I haven’t yet, but plan to read.

Another problem with books is that new interesting ones are published every single day, so my list only gets bigger and bigger.

Minimalism and Books

As I slowly adopted minimalism principles, I knew that one day I would have to deal with all my books. And when that day came, it was one of the hardest decluttering points on my minimalism journey. Difficult, but most liberating.

I counted 122 books and donated 115 of them. At the end of the day, I was left with only the most important to me. The Bible, a few minimalism titles, and a few self-help books. Even now, as I write these words, there is some strange feeling present in my body. But I know I did the best thing for myself. 

Now, I carry all my books with me every single day. They live in my pocket (on the phone), in my computer, and in the Cloud. I even have a digital version of the physical copies that I own. The only reason I didn’t donate them is because I read all of them at the beginning of each year. And I still prefer the sound of turning pages and the weight and smell of a physical book.

Removing physical books from my life hasn’t changed much for me. I may not have books to show, and I won’t have the big library I dreamed of, but I read anyway. A lot. I read 45 to 60 books a year. And my intention is to continue that tradition till the day I die.

Minimalism helped me realize that we don’t need a physical version of a book to still receive its benefits. The online version is also good. Plus, you always carry them with you. No matter where you go. The value of books is not in the physical object. It’s in words and ideas authors want to convey to us. I let go of the books and embraced my love of reading.

If you still benefit a lot from having a physical version of the books, by all means, hold on to them. Just be careful not to lie to yourself. Are you holding to the books because they make you look smarter and well-read, or because they benefit your life in a more meaningful way?

Can you remove a few books from your life? Or maybe all of them and still read more than before?

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

George R. R. Martin

 

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