How To Get A Minimalist Book Collection

 Ok,  I’ll admit it I am a book hoarder by nature. I love the smell of books, I love the feel of books, I love buying books and reading books. I love to see a packed bookshelf full of books waiting to be read. That’s why I know first hand, how hard it is to declutter your books. In this post, I will walk you step by step through the stages of simplifying your bookshelf to get your ultimate minimalist book collection.

Why you need to declutter your books 

Having hundreds of books you will never read is a bit like having hundreds of cars in your garage that you’ll never drive. You’ll need to clean around them , maintain them, they take up too much space and they stop you getting to the ones you do use.

How many books are too many books?

I am a book lover and my answer would be, you can never have too many books. As a   minimalist, my answer would be over ten is too many.  I’m conflicted every day on this subject.

What is a minimalist book collection?

A  minimalist book collection is a collection of books that only contain the books you genuinely use or love. You’re not going to be told to part with of all your books , or reduce your bookcase to a tiny amount of books , only you can decide how many books is too much for you, what we can do is give you some tips on how to get your own minimalist book collection.

Why I needed a minimalist book collection

I was a book hoarder I had books everywhere

  • Stuffed under the bed
  • Shoved into the wardrobe
  • In the car
  • Anywhere I had space

Every time I passed a bookshop the chances were, I would buy a new  book and more often, new books!

I was offended when people advised me to buy a kindle, and I was unable to understand why anyone would not prefer the physical version of a book.

I admit it, I was a book snob. I judged people by their bookshelves and tried to guess their personality by the book they were reading on the train or the beach, I also thought that people who had no books on display in their homes didn’t read books! a minimalist book collection had never even crossed my mind and it was something I’d ever considered.   but things were about to change!

 Things changed when  I had kids and my days of curling up for hours with a book came to an abrupt end. I would manage to read two pages at bedtime before nodding off into an exhausted sleep.

Unfortunately, my book addiction didn’t end there, and my collection of unread books continued to grow at an alarming rate.

We also lived in a very small house where storage was at a minimum, so, as my kid’s possessions grew I knew I had to sacrifice some space, and it didn’t take long for me to realise that I had to start getting rid of my books.

Letting go of books 

Before you start decluttering your books try to remember that you’ll not be able to get rid of all your books  and get a minimalist library in one day. Think about how many years it’s taken you to collect all those books, you’ll if you’ve got a large personal library you will need to give yourself plenty of time as there can be a lot of emotion attached to books.

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it

Joshua Becker

How to stop hoarding books

To reduce my book collection from over 400 to under 5 books, I followed these simple steps.

Getting rid of all the clutter.

  1. Get rid of unread books 

     Unless you rushed home and read a book straight after buying it, it is doubtful you are going to read it at all unless it is a reference book. Pretty similar to that crazy item of clothing you’ve got in your wardrobe that you’ve never worn! When a book lover buys a book they very rarely leave it on their bookshelf unread for more than a week in my experience.

  2. Get rid of cookbooks 

    I donated every single recipe book I owned because every single recipe I needed to follow is already on the internet and very easy to find, I realised that if I ever needed to find a method or recipe, reference for I would just look it up on the internet rather than a recipe book. i had tons of recipe books gathering dust that never got used,  so I made the decision to minimise my cookery books completely. If you don’t use your cookery books consider donating them and enjoy the space you’ve created and the fact you’ll never need to clean around them again! 

  3. Get rid of books you’ve already read.

    This is not as easy as it sounds, but I figured that out of perhaps the 100 books I’d already read, only two had ever been re-read by me, so the logic was to donate them. It’s tough, but it’s worth doing. but if you do have favourite books you re-read over and over again then definitely make space in  your minimalist book collection for them!

  4. Minimise your reference books 

    Keep the ones you use and get rid of any you’ve outgrown. if you gave up medical school half way through , It’s very unlikely you’ll  ever need or read those dusty old college text books, free yourself from the guilt of the unfulfilled dreams and get rid of the reminders! 

How to decide what books to keep in your minimalist book collection.

I decided to keep the books I truly loved, and I soon realised that there were only a few books I really loved. Once I had donated all the other books it became apparent to me which books meant a lot to me, it was a no-brainer to keep those. The books I currently have in my minimalist  book collection are: 

  • A book on wildflowers my dad gave to me as a child
  • A  reference book which I use for work.
  • A book I read, which I know my daughter will love when she’s older 
  • A book I need to return to my mum.
  • A parenting book

Not including my kids’ books, and my spouse’s books, the total amount of books I own today is five. Due to simplifying all my books down to a minimalist book collection  I managed to get rid of a giant bookcase and created a huge empty space which I love! Yes, I love books but I don’t like clutter and books I never opened were clutter!

I do not recommend getting rid of anyone else’s books  or material possessions, especially your spouse’s, to read more about getting your husband to declutter his stuff click here  Decluttering books is a really difficult process and not something you should do for anyone else without their permission, or force someone else to do. You can help them, but the decision must be theirs.

The benefits of a minimalist book collection

If you’re a book lover like me, it’s going to be tough for you to imagine any benefit to getting rid of your books. I soon discovered the benefits of a minimalist book collection were:

  • I could see my treasured books displayed to their full advantage. they were not hidden away behind a stash of other book clutter. they are easier to find, and my precious book that my dad gave me is always in view and has space to sit on the bookshelf uncluttered by anything else.
  • I stopped impulse shopping for books. Getting rid of books clutter and starting a minimalist book collection really helped me change my shopping habits. I no longer squirrelled books away as I was determined not to fill up my newly acquired space with random books. a book has to pass the test before its allowed into my house now. I also make a point of donating every book I’ve read once I’ve finished so it doesn’t turn into book clutter again.
  • I enjoyed reading on my kindle, especially as it allows me to read in the dar. My spouse hates the lamp on when he’s trying to get to sleep so, having a Kindle is the perfect solution to this problem. I can read for as long as I like and it doesn’t disturb him!
  •  The Kindle is extremely portable. I could never have dragged my whole bookcase away with me on holiday, but now I can! I can have a huge choice of books to read in one tiny little pocket-sized gadget. Now I just need someone to look after my kids while I read a few pages!
  • I created a huge amount of empty space, when I think about the amount of space I created under the bed, in my wardrobes I can’t believe how much space that book clutter took up! I’ve managed to get rid of huge pieces of furniture and everywhere looks much tidier!
  •  I don’t have to clean and dust around my book clutter anymore Less dusting the book clutter, means more time to do the things I enjoy like spending time with my kids and writing my blog!

It sounds like I’ve got this whole book hoarding thing figured out eh? Not so, I’m afraid my book hoarding days are not over;  I now have hundreds of unread books on my Kindle, but that’s ok,  I can live with that, us book lovers can only do the best we can!

I, of course,  still prefer physical books, I always will,  and I will always love a lazy afternoon visiting a beautiful bookshop, but I  like being able to read harry potter in the dark more, and of course I love having  an invisible library stuffed to the rafters.

Top tip!

If you want to read in the dark, take loads of books on holiday and want a minimalist book collection, order your Kindle today, just click on the link below!

For further reading about simplifying and minimalism and reducing your physical posessions , you’ll also like  The Minimalists

Frequently asked Q&A

Minimalism is all about only owning the nesesseties , what about owning books, how many books are nessesary for a minimalist to own? 

All minimalists are different, some may be students, lawyers, retired. some may have hobbies some may like to travel. The minimalist who travels will not be carrying around a minimalist book collection in his backpack for instance. There is no set amount of books you should be striving for , you should be aiming to get rid of your book clutter and downizing your book collection. Decluttering  bookshelves until you are only keeping the books you love, use  and read.

Can you share a picture of your book collection? 

here we are,  Tiptionary is my mum’s book , the old book  is the one my dad gave me which has huge sentimental value as he passed away a few years ago. Go ask Alice is a book my mum gave me and I’d like my daughter to read when she’s a teenager. and speed cleaning is a reference book I use for minimlaist book collection

What is minimalism

In the words of Joshua Becker, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value and the removal of anything which distracts us from it. So, in other words, we are making way for all the items you love and need by getting rid of the excess junk that you don’t use. minimalism is more than just a great big declutter an purge. It’s about living a lifestyle free of unnecessary stuff. Minimalism is being aware of what you how you shop, what you purchase and striving to avoid consumerism on every level. Minimalists often strive to achieve simplicity in every area of their lives by simplifying their lives, outgoings, diary, and living space and opt for experiences rather than things. A minimalist realises that having a huge house stuffed to the rafters with possessions just means you’ve got to work to the death to pay for that lifestyle.  

Can one happily coexist as a minimalist with a lot of hard copy books?

This is a tough one! As a minimalist, my huge book collection always bothered me, but that was because I knew that it was filled with stuff I knew would never be read or used. Once I started getting rid of the dead wood so to speak, it became easier to enjoy the books I  loved and used. As a minimalist, it is up to you which books you keep in your book collection, there are no rules to minimalism, follow your gut, if your book clutter makes you feel uneasy then strip away the ones you don’t need, if you love all your books, then keep them all! 

How do I start living a minimalist life? 

The best way to start living a minimalist lifestyle is to try to get rid of anything you don’t use or love, start in baby steps and work your way through one drawer at a time. start by trying to reduce the number of clothes you own by reading this post: minimalist wardrobe-essentials. Try not to do too much at one time to avoid burn out. Find out How I started living with less, by reading this post 
If you’re struggling with motivation to declutter read this post
which is packed with great tips to get you started.
Here are some of the best-decluttering books and minimalist books  I’ve come across to help get you started on your minimalist journey. Remember to download them straight to your Kindle!



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