And all my friends snickered at the thought of me embracing a minimalist bookshelf.
Okay, so I have a lot of books. Roughly 600 actual print books in my house. Not including the several hundred copies of my own books (like Crossing Values) sitting around my office in various boxes. And we won’t mention the additional hundreds of books on my Kindle (although I strive to only download books I will actually read!), or the dozens of audiobooks in my Audible account because both of those are all stored in the mysterious digital world and don’t occupy space within my house.
Right. Six hundred print books, at least as of the day I’m writing this. No promises for how many will get added over the next year. See why my friends snickered at the minimalist bookshelf title?
I’ve never thought that was too many.
Growing up, my Dad always had hundreds of books stacked (mostly) on bookshelves. His office always had at least two walls lined with overflowing shelves, and he encouraged us to peruse the library and used book stores. A big book sale? Yep, we were there. I remember well the day we found one that advertised as many books as you could fit in a bag for one low price.
It never crossed my mind that everyone didn’t live like this.
All my books are stored on shelves, unless I’m reading them, of course, and I want to mention that my shelves are not stuffed full. I recently cleaned several and have room to go buy more! (My husband just rolled his eyes.)
But then, not too long ago, a friend thrust Marie Kondo upon me.
Marie Kondo and 30 Books
I now keep my collection of books to about thirty volumes at any one time. ~Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
You should know that I do not follow Marie Kondo. I’ve never watched her on television or read a single chapter out of any of her books. However, the quote attributed to her above sent book lovers into an uproar!
Oh, the memes.
- Some added to her thoughts. “Ideally keep fewer than thirty bookcases.”
- Many readers sidestepped her preference while asking for clarification. “You mean on the nightstand? Per genre or topic? Per author?”
- A few pushed her to the side completely. “No one needs that kind of negativity.”
Totally worth a giggle.
I giggled at some of the comments. Without doing any counting, I’m pretty sure that I have more than thirty books in some genres or topics. I think I’m safe on the thirty books per author, well, if you don’t count my Dad’s collection of Zane Grey’s that I hoarded earlier this year when he died. Oh! I know I don’t have thirty books on my nightstand! Whew.
But I do love a good decluttering. Getting rid of stuff that I no longer use. Stuff that takes up space, and I have to clean around. Clutter I stained or broke and didn’t take the time to toss out at the time. Honestly, I’ve moved so much all of my life that I’m constantly evaluating things in my house asking, “Do I want to pack you up and move you across the country?”
Thinking about trying to box everything up and carry it onto a truck, only to carry it again into a new place and unpack it usually makes the decision of whether to keep it or give it away a little easier.
Back to My Minimalist Bookshelf
Apparently (remember, I’ve not watched her nor read any of her books), Marie’s philosophy comes down to creating a home that is relaxing and comfortable for you. She encourages making active choices about what to keep and what to pass on to someone else.
“The whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy,” Vox.com reports her saying.
For me, that’s 600 (and counting) books. Seriously. I walk into my living room or my office and see shelves covered with books, and I feel myself relax. They make me smile, and I’m not sure I can explain why to a non-reader.
- Books hold memories of who I was and who I wanted to be.
- Stories taught me that people are different, built empathy, and challenged my heart and thoughts.
- Nonfiction encouraged me to think, sometimes think differently.
And all of them sit on my shelves ready to hand to a friend who needs what they have to offer. I don’t hold them tightly. Well, most of them. To be honest, some of my autographed books . . yeah, I won’t let you borrow them. But I’ll gladly buy you your own, non-autographed copy.
Do the paperbacks and hardbacks that sit on my book-heavy shelves bring me joy? Oh, yes. All 600 of them. I will never have what some call a minimalist bookshelf.
Some of my books I refer back to. Some are highlighted and dog-earred and written in. Some are deeply cherished for the memories they contain.
They are all valued and loved. They all bring me joy.
What about you? Let me know by joining the discussion on Facebook! This post will be pinned to the top of my Author Page until Sunday, October 20th.