Jan 14, 2017

Going Minimalist | Books, Books, Books

I have lived in a small house for a very, very long time, and so obviously space has been a bit of an issue. When you have 6 people living in a house that's ideally built for a family of 3 (people without space consuming hobbies) things get a little (okay, a lot) cramped. So over the years I've done my best to work with this small space by trying not to buy a lot of things that I didn't really need and to organize what I had. But somehow I always convinced myself that I needed all these things, or that because I had the money I should buy it.

This year I've decided I want to go (semi) minimalist. I say semi because I don't want to be one of those people with three things plus a bed in their bedroom; that's just not who I am. Before I actually made the decision to become minimalist I came across this pin on Pinterest, and it was exactly what I needed and helped me realize minimal isn't the same for everyone and that it's what I wanted.

What I picture my minimalistic style to be is very shabby chic/cozy/country cottage style, but still with minimal stuff.

With this in mind I started reading a ton of blogs for tips on getting rid of all your stuff (over the years I've gotten rid of a lot, and most of what I have left is stuff that's either sentimental or things that I just plain like having), and tossing out all your stuff is much easier said than done. But I was motivated, and I wanted to start with my most difficult place; my bookshelf.

I love my books. I collect them. Some people collect coins or stamps; I collect books. Even though there's very few that I've ever read more than once, I still liked having them, knowing that they'll always be there for me to come and look through, to smell them, and to feel them (it sounds kind a weird, but my fellow book lovers get it).

Going into this I knew that this was going to be the hardest part, which is why I wanted to do it first. I went through all my books and tossed anything that I've owned for at least a year but haven't read yet (which was quite a few). I tried not to think about it too much and kept my thoughts on how nice it would be to have a little extra space for my books.

Pretty soon I had cleared out a large portion of my books, which made space for several books  and notebooks that hadn't previously fit on my shelf before and were tucked away in random spots throughout my room. And guess what? I still have some extra shelf space which I haven't had in many, many years. It's awesome.

Here's a before (left) and after (right) of my shelves. It doesn't look a whole lot different in the pictures, but it feels so much nicer. I'd like to make a quick note about my Star Wars books. I love these books and have been collecting them since I first started reading them in 2014, but due to only having a single shelf's worth of space available I've decided to put some of them in storage. I contemplated getting rid of them, but most of them are out of print now and I do plan on re-reading them soon after I finish reading the one's I haven't finished yet (I kind of read some of the book series' out of order my first time around). I decided to exempt these from any purging because, like I already said, the older EU books are now out of print, and also because they're books that I really, really love.

Anyways, back to the point... My book collection is now much smaller and I sold all the books I was getting rid of at Half Price books (and the money I got went towards completing two Star Wars book series I've been collecting for a couple of years now).

As I was getting rid of these books I began to realize I had a sort of pride about owning so many books which I really felt when I'd go into a bookstore. If I saw a book I kind of liked or hadn't read yet but knew was going to be good I'd just buy it because, what sort of book lover/collector would I be if I didn't? But I've realized owning books just to own them is something that I've been doing, and it's something I want to stop. The books I do or don't buy don't define me. I was never able to see this side of me before now.

By getting rid of these things I've been finding out there's so much freedom in having less than I would have ever thought (even though that's what all the blogs kept telling me).

I was originally going to just write a single blog post on this topic but as I was writing I decided I would make it a series and cover all the different area's of my journey into a minimalist lifestyle in their own individual blog posts. Next up, tossing out all my clothes!

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