Minimizing Your Home Library

book shelves and plant

Like many objects in the home, books can add up. They are heavy and take up a lot of space. Any reading habits and preferences change over time. Those old favorites might now be collecting dust. Since it was the beginning of the year, I wanted to go through my bookshelves and unhaul titles that I no longer needed. For those interested in going through their own collections, I’m offering my tips to minimizing your home library.

Why I’m Cleaning Out My Bookshelves

Over the years, I have been working to become more minimalist. I found myself overwhelmed by the objects in my home and needed to make a change. Items don’t hold sentimental value to me, and I had boxes full of stuff that I didn’t open after years of sitting in the closet.

I didn’t use most of the stuff I had, and I felt guilt over these expenses. Looking around I saw money lost, which is not a positive feeling. I needed to make changes, which meant going through each room and deciding what would stay and what would go.

One of the final areas I focused on was the home library.

Growing up, I had always wanted an extensive home library. It took years to build, but I had an entire room full of books. My dream home library was complete. And I enjoyed it for a while.

However, as I grew and my feelings toward objects changed, so did my views on having a home library. The truth was that at least half of the books were never read and weren’t going to be. That truth had started to bother me.

So, I decided to minimize my home library and keep only the books that I loved and would reread in the future. By the end, I narrowed six bookcases down to half of one.

I’ve chosen only to keep titles that stood out. Novels that make me smile. I like that I can extensively talk about each item on my bookshelf. And as I go forward, I’m only going to add new books that are worth a place on the shelf.

How I Minimized My Book Collection

I understand that not everyone has the same feelings that I do. If having a large home library makes you happy, that is great. Happiness is the main goal. However, if you feel like minimizing your collection here is how I went through the process.

While going through each book, I would ask myself several questions. Have you read this book? Do you intend to read this novel? Did you like this book/series? Is the book in good condition? Why do you own this title? I wanted to discern whether or not I should keep the book. There is no right or wrong answer.

Based on those answers, I would put the book in one of five piles.

  1. Discard – This was for items that were of low quality or falling apart. I also added ARC copies since you can’t sell them.
  2. Keep – Books that were going to stay. I’ve read each kept title and felt that I would reread them.
  3. TBR – I put aside novels that I would still like to read. I’ve separated them from my keep titles, and I will donate any that I haven’t read within the year.
  4. Sell – Out of the remaining books, I scanned them in decluttr to see if they would purchase them. About twenty percent were sold for an average of $0.50-$1.00 each.
  5. Donate – What was left was donated to local organizations.

I worked on reducing my book collection over a couple of years. Going too fast can also be overwhelming, so I worked on small sections at a time. I took my time and thought about each item and my goals for the final library collection size.

Now that it is complete, I feel so much better about the space. I’m also happy to have finished the last room. All that’s left is to donate my extra bookshelves.


Have you been thinking about minimizing your home library or do you want to have all the books? Another new year with amazing titles. So we’ll see how many make it onto my shelves this year.

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