My Book Clean-out

I love houses filled with books. As a kid, I always dreamed of owning a house with a two-story library. Up until I started grad school, I would have considered myself an avid reader. Then grad school started and I was so burned out with school work that it would take me at least six months to finish a non-school-related book.

Now that I’m done with grad school (woohoo!), I want to get back into my reading habits. But I also want to have a more minimalist home. So that means cleaning out my current book collection and spending more time at the local library.

So last weekend I bit the bullet and went through my books:


I gathered all of my books and put them on the dining room table. Most of my books live on the bookshelf in the my dining room, but I had some scattered throughout the house. Having just moved a year and a half ago, I really didn’t have that many books – at least not by my someday-I’ll-have-a-two-story-library standards. So I started this process thinking that I really didn’t have to cull through much.


With that attitude, my first book culling was a fail. I only got rid of books that I absolutely knew I was never going to read or had already read and didn’t have an emotional attachment to. So my book collection shrunk by 15%. Not much.

Then I turned to Marie Kondo’s book, which Lar and I have talked about nonstop, and reread the chapter on books. I was doing it all wrong – not asking if the books sparked joy and not owning up to the fact that I wasn’t going to read any of the books that I had owned for years and never picked up.

So I went back to my pile of books with KonMarie determination and reduced it by (roughly) 65%. Here’s what my bookcase looks like now:


Part of me is terrified that I now live in a house where all of my books can fit on ONE bookcase with plenty of room for other things. But the other part of me thinks that first part is just ridiculous. It’s silly to have books that I’m never going to read or don’t have any purpose. I would rather someone else enjoy those books instead of having them collect dust in my house.

Instead of giving the books to my local charity shop, I’ve been adding them to the local free little libraries around town. Also, someday I’d like to replace the bookcase with something better nicer more stylish else 🙂

7 thoughts on “My Book Clean-out”

  1. Hi Cath,
    Oh mah goodness, look at you! I really think books are the absolute hardest to cull through. Some books are so beautiful or have sentimental value. And just like you, I still partly dream of having a library in my “grown-up” house. But it’s true that you never read most of them. Gentlewomen and men of leisure who had those two-story libraries had a bit more time (not working and all) and no google. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I think printed books will and should always have a place, but I love the idea of just owning the ones you will reread again and again. I just bought a signed copy of “M Train” by Patti Smith and don’t plan on ever getting rid of it!
    p.s. We don’t even have a book shelf in our new flat! Gah!

  2. We got rid of so many books during our KonMari cleanout. Bookcases (especially giant ones that can stack books two layers deep like ours does) hold a lot! And there was so much dust accumulating on the floor that I hadn’t counted on as I pulled things off shelves, my bare feet were turning black. Like you, I love that the bookcase is only filled with books I love and will reread—and honestly, I’m so thankful to have fewer things gathering dust and aggravating my allergies.

    1. Right?! I always used to equate more books with more richness, but I feel so much better not having a ton of books. And I’m now looking forward to going to the library, which I haven’t felt in a while!

  3. Loved seeing the book case transformation and that you color coded. 😀 That’s such a wonderful idea to give them to local free libraries. I feel like when we dump them off to Goodwill, they may never leave the thousands of boxes they have. I think books are the hardest to give away for me too. I now have a kindle, which helps me not have as much physical clutter.. but digital clutter I still have so much of. I loved the tips in Marie Kondo’s book. We’ll be moving again in May and there’s a chance we might be living in an RV this summer, so it gives us another perfect opportunity to purge again!

    1. An RV sounds so fun and will definitely force you to pare down. I’ve been toying with the idea of a Kindle – Lar has one an loves it. But you’re so right about digital clutter. I always dread cleaning up photos on my iphone and folders on my computer desktop – it’s just as bad as real clutter!

Leave a Reply