Like many people in their twenties and thirties, my home is filled with a hodgepodge of items collected through impulse or happenstance over a number of years — the dresser left behind by a flatmate moving overseas, the bookcase found on the curb with a “free” sign taped to it, the couch a family member was looking to get rid of. As an avid op shopper, I also easily fall victim to the idea that if something is a bargain, it would be silly not to give it a try — what’s $2 after all? The result is an odd combination of furniture and dishes that don’t match each other and an over-abundance of other little-used items, like high heeled shoes.
To combat these tendencies my partner and I have become fairly good at periodically reducing our belongings, going through closets, dressers, pantries and cabinets and donating or otherwise disposing of items that aren’t being used or have fallen into disrepair. But, there’s one section of the house that is off-limits to this process: the library.
If you count hand-me-downs, you could say that I’ve been collecting books since before I was born. I still have every picture book from my childhood and almost every chapter book. I’ve kept most of my textbooks from university (and actually have come to regret selling back my copy of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War). Over the course of my life I’ve worked in four bookstores in two countries and have kept every book I’ve purchased along the way (save those I’ve lent out that haven’t been returned). I can only remember cutting down my library once in the past, when I sold about a half a dozen young adult novels whilst at uni and used the credit to buy a fictionalized account of the life of Queen Elizabeth the first.
Although there are days I truly wish I owned less stuff, I rarely think about getting rid of any of my books. There are some I could part with, I suppose — titles that didn’t send me searching for a pencil even once (I love to underline). But, even in my dreams of a spotless house — closets filled only with clothes that look and feel great, rooms filled only with a few sparse, yet fine pieces of furniture, a few warm floor rugs — even in these dreams, the walls are lined with bookcases.
Post inspired by Book Riot’s “Confessions of a Minimalist With a Book Problem”