Minimalism & collections

Being a minimalist and aiming to have less doesn’t mean we can’t have any kind of collections. The most important thing is not to let anything we own to stop us doing things we really want to do and find important or other ways limit us. Personally I love being surrounded by books. I’ve always loved books and as a child spent a lot of time in libraries. My husband is similar that way and when our sons were younger our life was the easier the more we read to them and it became a natural habit. It was never hard to choose if I wanted to do household chores or to read to the kids, I always rather read.

We use public libraries but during years have also collected a lot of books for our home library even I try to give away books I know I will never read again. At the moment we store our books in our upstairs hall and study but to be honest I don’t spend much time there and would definitely prefer having the books in the first (ground) floor where I spend most of my time cooking or reading or writing. Now we finally have a concrete plan to move our books to downstairs and to make our living room as a library.

It’s a challenge I think, to keep any collection and still have a simple, calm and organized home. The main rule for me is to store everything at home grouped with similar items instead of having them here and there around the house which has a messy, distracting effect on me. We have now piles of books almost in every room and I think I will feel more organized after gathering them all in one “library space” and I want to use time to carefully consider before buying any new furniture – actually before having them custom made to fit in the room – and I want to include my family in the project. That way it will become equally important to them, especially to my husband who reads more than I do and enjoys having books around him as well.

This reminds me of another “rule” in clutter clearing: never touch other people’s personal items. I sometimes give away unnecessary household items because most of the time I’m the one using them and I organize wardrobes for the whole family but I always ask a permission before giving away any personal items and would never insist for example my husband to get rid of anything he finds dear and important.

We both love books but are totally different as readers. My husband needs books like food and reads page after page as fast as possible whereas for me books mean something to think about and something that inspires me and I often read a bit and then just sit and think unless the book is so exciting I can’t put it away. I’m also more selective with my reading. My husband reads fantasy and science fiction but also work related books, comic books, mystery stories and all kind of recommendations. He loves Jane Austen and if there’s nothing else to read he doesn’t hesitate to start any silly chick lit he can find. I can see him rolling his eyes and maybe stopping for a facepalm but still continuing. That describes how much he needs to have something to read all the time.

Sometimes I watch his facial expressions and gestures and know immediately if he has nothing to read, if he has just started a book, is in the middle of the book or has almost finished the book he is reading (he is always very impatient to do it). For me it’s different. I like weird, fascinating stories and especially reading about interesting, inspiring people and their lives. I read a lot of non-fiction. I read knitting books even I can’t knit, I have a whole shelf of Christmas books even I’m not a Christmas person and I just generally enjoy sitting and holding a book in my hands and thinking whatever comes to my mind.

This is why I want to have a library and why I buy books even I otherwise like to have less of everything. I would be happy with only a very small collection of books but somehow it seems to gradually grow. Having this new project makes me excited. I’m already planning to have a “library party” and book club meetings. I will add some pics of the library when it’s ready but it will take a while to build it.

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