I’m a reader. In fact, for years I hauled boxes upon boxes of books with me each time I moved. Three big bookshelves worth. Y’all, books are heavy. (Here is my sincere apology and thanks to all of the wonderful people who used their time and energy to help make that happen.)
I had books from college, seminary, an amazing internship, and just life. I also had notebooks from all said stages of life. I was convinced that I needed all of these books. That I was one day going to need to look something up from one of the books that I was required to read and that if I couldn’t look it up that I was going to let someone down in a way that would ultimately crush them. That might sound extreme to you but it ran through my mind each time I thought about going through my books. How many times did I go back to those books? I’ll give you three guesses.
(image of a client’s curated bookshelf of Newberry Award wining books)
About two years ago, after yet another move, I decided that I just wasn’t reading the majority of the books that adorned my book shelves. Although I am a reader, I am not much of a re-reader. If it’s a story of any kind I’m probably not going to read it again. And unless it’s a super amazing book of truth or insight, my eyes aren’t going to see those pages again. Armed with my new knowledge about myself, I set out to decide which books I would read again. I was ruthless. That is what it took. I was also ready. I had spent years of building my decluttering-muscle.
I am now down to one shelf of books that I will recommend in a heartbeat and will read again, a stack of books for my profession (books that may or may not make it to the prized shelf), three series of books that I treasure, and a rotating stack of books that I am reading and then giving away.
I have substantially lightened the book load around here but I am still a heavy reader. The library, passed along books from friends, and the internet all help me to keep the book load under control.
***UPDATE: If you are looking for a way to keep reading and keep a minimal bookshelf. Here is an article I wrote with a few ways you can accomplish that goal.