I have a confession: I own very few books. I almost never buy books. Most of the books that I have were given to me. Don’t get me wrong – I definitely love books. There was a time when my entire living room looked like a library. My favorite place to shop was the bookstore. I was one of those people who couldn’t bear to part with the written word. However, that shifted over time.
Why I Don’t Like Owning a Lot of Books
It was actually really hard for me to let go of all of those books in the beginning. My whole identity was tied to them. I felt like what I read was a reflection of who I was. I wanted people entering my house to see that. More importantly, I wanted to see it reflected back at me each day.
However, it’s also true that part of my identity is that I don’t like a lot of clutter. That’s not to say that books are always clutter. However, I live in a really small space. Moreover, books are weighty. When there are weighty objects in my house, I feel them – not just physically, but mentally.
I used to think that I wanted to keep a lot of books because I would go back to read parts of them again and again. Here’s what I discovered: usually I didn’t go back. However, even when I want to, it’s not that much of a challenge. It’s so easy to access books these days through libraries and online channels. Plus I keep quote diaries of passages that are meaningful to me.
So I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not having all of those stacks of books around me. I prefer to have the space. Plus I save a lot of money that I used to spend on books.
How Do You Feel About Hoarding Books?
There are definitely a lot of people at the opposite end of the spectrum from me. There are so many reasons that people enjoy buying books and keeping them around their home. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But have you examined it?
It seems like in today’s society, there’s a trend towards minimal living and decluttering in all areas of life. However, books have long been an exception. People who get rid of all kinds of other stuff feel justified to keep every book in their collection. In fact, Marie Kondo’s method of “tidying up” has become so popular, but some of the complaints I see most often are about applying it to books.
Kondo’s approach has you examine – and declutter – your house in five different areas. Clothes are first. People don’t seem to have as much of a problem with that. Sure, they find it difficult to do, but they seem to want to get rid of all of the clothes that don’t fit either their body or their lifestyle anymore. It’s a chore, but they feel good about getting it done. It doesn’t seem to be the same with the books section. People get truly appalled at the idea of getting rid of their books.
If you love, use, and enjoy each of your books, that’s great. But sometimes physical things cause us mental weight without our even realizing it. Therefore, I think it’s valuable to take some time to assess your book collection. Do you really want all of the books you have? Why? What do you envision as the ideal library for you home? As long as what you have is in line with your ideal vision, that’s great.
How I Support Writers Even Though I Don’t Buy Books
It shocks a lot of people to learn that I don’t buy books. I’m an independent author. I definitely understand the importance of supporting other writers. However, I don’t want a bunch of books in my house. Therefore, I find other ways to support writers. I support them through:
- Patreon and other crowdfunding donations
- Spreading the word about their books and events
- Sometimes taking their classes or paying for their workshops/lectures
- Always sharing their work on social media
- Frequently using the “suggest a title” option on my library’s website
Additionally, sometimes I will buy books. When something really captures my attention, I might purchase it. I read it, enjoy it, and then when I’m done, I let it go. I love to gift books to other people so they don’t just gather dust in my home.
So tell me – where do you stand on how many books you want to own? How do you feel about decluttering them?