Tip #2 Living with Less


Take a trip to the library! Now, I know that might not sound exciting to all of you (and, full disclosure, I’m the bookiest of book worms), but hear me out.

The library is not just good because you will buy fewer books (keeping a library of just books you absolutely love — not just keeping books that you feel you should read at some point in your life), but also, because it’s like shopping!

No, seriously, it is. Not only do you get to browse a huge selection for hours, you get to “buy” things for free! Sure it’s just a loan, but you still get to take your “purchases” home and curl up in your favorite reading nook and get lost in other worlds.

And these worlds don’t have to be Jane Austen’s or Jame Joyce’s if reading isn’t your thing. Check out the fashion books, art books, interior design books, or hunker down in the library with back issues of Vogue or Real Simple.

Checking out books is also a great way to take potential purchases for a test drive. I checked out Patti Smith’s latest on my Kindle at the beginning of the year and loved it so much, I bought a signed hard copy. It’s one I know I’ll return to again and again.

But sometimes the opposite happens. I found myself in Anthropologie the other weekend (the queen siren of consumption temptation!) and spied the new Audrey Hepburn book, Audrey at Home, and immediately my greedy paws snatched it up. My consumer brain started rationalizing this potential purchase right away: “I love Audrey Hepburn! I’ve read all other biographies on her and this is the latest so yeah! Pictures of Audrey never shared before?! Lemme see! I’m sure I’ll cook her recipes again and again because that lady knows how to eat and how to hide it.”

Luckily my much more reasonable other half (thank you, Matteo!) was standing next to me and gently said, why don’t you read it at the library first and then if you love it, you should definitely get it.

My consumer monster brain wanted me to snatch the book from his hands and scurry to the register in defiance, or at the very least have a good pout. But I couldn’t deny he was right.

A month later, after waiting in a hold queue of Audrey-loving library-goers, I had Audrey at Home in my hands! I read it all cover to cover and then flipped through it again and again to soak up all the new Audreyness. And then … I was done. I didn’t actually need to read it again and even turned it in 11 days early because there were other Audrey/library fans waiting for it just as I had been.

Standing in Anthropologie I could have sworn that I NEEDED to have the book — and I really would have felt convinced of that. In that moment. Having a library to turn to, and giving the idea of that NEED some room to breath (away from the heady scent of Anthro candles), surprisingly saved me from making a purchase I ultimately would have enjoyed a few times and then forgotten about.

Yea or nay? Are you also a library fan?

20 thoughts on “Tip #2 Living with Less”

  1. OMG, yea! I love the library, have ever since I was a little girl. Went every Wednesday afternoon and would somehow manage to always take out the max allowed and would always return them all the followimg week. I don’t go that often anymore, mostly because I mostly read in English and the English section is pretty small, but I love going and often will have a little browse and if something catches my eye or a book I am interested in is in stock I’ll borrow it, and otherwise I’ll just get myself a drink and/or something to eat and read. I also used it a lot to study when still in school and now even if I have a project to finish for work and am having trouble getting things off the ground.

    1. I’m the same way, Michelle! Even if I’m not checking out books, I just love the atmosphere of the library and get so much done there. I hope you find a library with more English books in it — that must be a challenge!

  2. The other day my one co-worker was saying how much she loves the library because “it’s like going shopping without spending any money”.
    I really should start doing this.

  3. The library is a secret weapon! It’s amazing how many people forget about it once they no longer have to do research projects with required bibliographies. The Los Angeles public library has this great online system where you search for books and then request that they be sent to your local branch and held for you. Their website even has “new releases” and “librarian recommended” sections, so although it’s clunky, feels like Amazon-lite and is FREE. I’m literally going there today to pick up a stack of design books that I absolutely would have been sucked into buying had I seen them at Anthropologie (oh, the siren song of their sale section…).

    Whittling down my book collection has been the most gut-wrenching part of decluttering – your posts are so timely, Lar!

    1. Woohoo! I’m so glad, RW! I hope you’re enjoying your stack of design books (you’re making me want to hop on over to the library right now!).

  4. BTW, Lar: did that Audrey biography have any good recipes? I read once that her favorite guilty pleasure/easy meal was pasta with ketchup and have shied away from her cooking advice ever since, haha.

    1. Ha! Yes it is in there! I was shocked by it too, but the recipe actually only calls for 2 tbsp of ketchup, so it’s more like they use it like tomato paste ;D.
      And I totally understand shying away from that idea. Also reading the book I don’t think Audrey was much of a foodie, but it was still a fun read. Now if only we could all have personal Italian chefs ;D
      xoxox, Lar

  5. In my younger years I used to go every week or so and come home loaded with books! But that stopped when I heard unsavoury reports of bedbugs being found in the Vancouver Public Library books (blech) and I just let my library card lapse. The boy is constantly going to the library and coming home with books and we’ve remained vermin-free though, so I should probably resume the avid reading. 🙂

    1. Ack! Oh, Lisa, that would totally stop me from going to the library too! Do you have an e-reader? That’s a good option too if you don’t want to check out physical books.

  6. This is a brilliant post – I’m mean, it’s so common-sensical, but it needs to be said. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t even have a library card anymore! Isn’t that awful. And I work within a 5 minute walk of a library. It’s so stupid! Goal this week: get a library card and check out an armful of books. Maisie Dobbs binge starts this week!

    1. You’ve reminder me that the Maisie Dobbs series is on my list too. About 2 years ago I picked up a copy of book 6 or 7 at a book exchange on holiday and loved it!
      Re-reading the all souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness at the moment, but think it’ll go back to Maisie Dobbs after I’m done.

      1. Woohoo! It’s so fun to know you are a Maisie Dobbs fan too, Michelle! I’ll have to give the All Souls trilogy a try. Did you enjoy it?

  7. GREAT tip! What got me going to the library was my love for children’s picture books. I wanted to buy all of them for Hunter but at $17+ each, it’s just not reasonable. We test them out, and if we really love them we will buy them. Of the 100 or so books we’ve borrowed since he was born, I have bought only ONE that we really loved!

    1. That is such a great idea, Amanda! One of my fondest memories as a child was getting massive piles of children’s books from the library. Sitting with my mom amidst all those books made me so happy. And now you are creating those memories with your kiddies!

  8. Yes! After moving several times in NYC with boxes and boxes of books, I got a library card. I usually check something out first before I buy it to make sure I really want it.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I do, Jesse! When I moved to Scotland I realised I couldn’t take hardly any books with me. The library was/is my best friend.

  9. You’ve just inspired me to finally get signed up with the council library. I haven’t even utilised the University library as well as I should have. I don’t know why. I love libraries, and practically lived in my local library as a tween and teen.

    1. And the central library in Edinburgh is so pretty, Deserae! My favorite area is the art history room at the top of the stairs. It has beautiful views and you can stare out the windows with art books in front of you. Heaven!

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