I mentioned the other day that I’ve reduced my physical library from almost 3,000 books to approximately 100. I never thought that I would reduce my library so drastically, but I’m glad I did.
I once visited with a pastor who returned from a sabbatical with Eugene Peterson. Upon his return, he reduced his library to the essentials. I remember having very mixed feelings: I admired the simplicity of such an idea, but I couldn’t bring myself to pursue it.
Two years ago, I left a large office and a small house and moved into a condo. I now have almost no room for books. I packed my library into 90 boxes, rented a U-Haul truck, and put them into storage. Two years later, I haven’t missed most of them. My next step is to go through those books and get rid of most of them.
I was helped in thinking about this by a book called Clutterfree with Kids, of all things. The author writes:
When we choose to own fewer possessions, we find more time for the things we love, more money for things of true value, more energy for pursuits of lasting worth, more focus for things that bring real meaning, and more opportunity to pursue our greatest potential.
Intentionally or unintentionally, we are all minimizing something. Many people are choosing to live with less stuff because they realize physical possessions are not adding value to their lives. As a result, they open the doorway for far greater pursuits.
This even applies to books!
I’ve even used his two criteria. To keep a book, I either have to absolutely need it, or absolutely love it (sometimes both). Anything less than this, and it goes.
Honest confession: I’m still a little too trigger-happy with Kindle books, especially when they’re on sale. I’m working on it.
I would encourage you to think about reducing your library too. Although this was forced on me, I’m enjoying the benefits.