Journey to Minimalism: Downsizing Books

My minimalism journey proceeded to books, where I continued following the KonMari method for downsizing. For books, KonMari offers a few words of advice:

  • Only keep books that spark joy when you individually hold them your hands.
  • Do not keep books just because you think that you’ll read them “one day”.
  • Do not keep books if only to refer back to favorite quotes if you do not do so regularly.

Simple enough!

I tallied the number of books and magazines that I owned (including my husband’s studying books – he’s still in school, so we need to keep those). I excluded religious books, many of which I inherited from my father. The reason why is because I’d like to figure out a respectful way of downsizing the extras.


I adore reading, and it was somewhat difficult to part with the (few) books that I set aside. Nonetheless, an almost 13% reduction was achieved! Here is the before and after of my small bookshelf, where most of my books are kept:

Books before
Books before
Books after
Books after

It was nice going through my books. The titles which sparked happy memories of reading and enjoying them were kept for future rereading.

It was also nice ridding my bookshelf of DIY and how-to books, which I’d been keeping “just in case”. As I realized going through these never-opened books, I refer to the internet first in any case, with it’s enriched images and videos. I got rid of many of these type of books.

I found it hard getting rid of a few old magazines which I had inherited from my father. I kept on telling myself that I would read them. However, seeing as it has been over a year since I’d acquired them, it seems unlikely this ambition would ever come to pass.

In my final week of downsizing, I’ll be tackling the “everything else” category, including linens, electronics and knick-knacks.

2 thoughts on “Journey to Minimalism: Downsizing Books

  1. When DH and I moved in together (a bit more than 20 years ago) our books combined numbered about 6000. After cataloguing and revising, removing duplicates and so on, we were left with roundabout 4000 books. Which were reduced to about 2500 several years later by another round of revising. In the meantime we’re back to about 3500 but I will have a go later this year when I will move some of my shelves into the living room. There are still some books left, I’m pretty sure I will never read again. And yes, we’ve read most of them (except for the latest aquisitions).
    Right now we have a whole room full of books, several shelves along the corridor walls and my technical literature in the living room, which will move into my studio as soon as it is renovated. Then I can move some of the books from the book room to the living room.
    Nowadays I buy more and more eBooks. Instead of taking a suitcase full of books on our vacation, DH and I just have our tablets. Which is kind of nice. But there are still many books I want to keep as dead tree version. Which accounts for our smallish library.
    Reducing books is always a pretty grim undertaking. Our first purge was hurtful. But you get used to it over the time and nowadays I’m rather level-headed when it comes to revising our books. It’s more a question of ‘will I ever read it again’, ‘will DH read it again’, ‘is it helpful in some other way’, ‘do I just want to keep it because I like it’. There is no reason why I shouldn’t just want to keep a book or two just because I like them.

    1. Wow, 3500 books? You guys own a small library! I think it’s great you’ve been able to downsize so many books. And I totally agree, if the books spark joy in you when you behold them, then you should absolutely keep them! My father had many books, much like you. Maybe 1000 books. He had boxes and boxes of books that he kept in storage. I remember the difficulty me and my sisters had hauling everything up from storage and going through everything. Eventually, we gave up and started mass donating things. He kept them because he thought he might read them, but he never did. He would always go to the library when he wanted to read something new. I tried to remember this when I was going through my books this time around 🙂

Comments are closed.