I have always been a avid reader, they were a great escape during childhood. It has become a source of relaxation and entertainmenet over the years, even more so when i m trying to cut down on my YouTube and TV intake. I used to read alot of books during my undergraduate degree and before medical school. Now, i struggle to get out often enough to buy books regularly or find good content in the local charity shops. There was also the vast amount of workload i have that reduced my time available to read, and i began to feel guilty foor reading for fun insead of for learning. It wasnt until i reealised that my difficulty sleeping probably came from my inablity to relax in the evening.
I have been an owner of a kindle for a few years; unitl recently it was used sporadically, mainly on holidays to reduce the suitcase weight. As with most of my belongings, i brought my Kindle secondhand, which is why i justified the purchase of it. For a long time i mixed usng my kindle with paperback books, becuase i was buying supercheap secnd hand books online. When i moveed onto campus as a resident tutor getting packages became tricky and a hassel. So i stopped buying secondhand books online. It reduced the amount of books i was reading to a grand total of zero. Realsing that i wanted to go back to reading as a part of my bedtime relaxation routine, and not wanting to own more belongings than necessary, has led me to turn back to my kindle.
My decision to turn to minimalism was for a number of reasons (See:Why i want to become minimalist), during the journey i relaised that i owned a lot of books. Many of these books i hadn’t read more than once. They had sat on the shelf unused and it really felt like a waste of space and resources, espeically when we are really starting to focus on utilsing every resource we use. I love reading and the power that books give to people to be creative and gain wisdom. So whilst i wanted to give having tons of books on the shelf, i didnt want to give books themselves.
“Minimalism is a tool we use to live a meaningful life. There are no rules. Rather, minimalism is simply about stripping away the unnecessary things in your life so you can focus on what’s important” ―
Minimalism isn’t about giving things up, its about using what you have and not relying on stuff. You can strip away the excess and enjoy the important things in life, with out the weight of materialism holding you back. I didn’t want to give up reading and the enjoyment that it gives me; i simply don’t feel the need to have to fill my shelves full of books to prove i have read them. It’s why i have been actively making an attempt to use my kindle more, and carrying it around when going to work or travelling. It doesn’t weigh a lot, so it doesn’t restrict me but gives me options. I don’t scroll through facebook at lunch breaks, i read a chapter or two (or three!).
It has become a key part of my bedtime routine. I have been buying and reading books, not just buying and shelving them. Ebooks cost slightly mre then secondhand books, it makes me more committted when i make the purchase; i rarely leave them uncompleted as my thrifty nature holds my brain to ransom. The decision to become as minimalist as i can and the postive changes i have made, have led me to jump onto the Ebooks train. So the next step was to decide whatt to do with the books i hadn’t yet released in my minimalism clear outs.
My first step was separating out the books I do re-read or medicine-based books I use for reference. Putting those aside to save. Though I am keeping an eye on these few books I am keeping… committing to releasing them into the wild if I don’t read them over my up and coming breaks.
It’s then about taking what you don’t use and making the most of that item; by recycling, regifting or reselling. But not by throwing it away. This was the plan I took with my books. I went through them and gave a lot of them as hand me downs to my sister who is an avid reader. Plenty of them were books that were classics, such as Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice; and though slightly above her reading range she loved them and it got her back into reading too. The rest I donated to second hand bookshops, hoping to spread an evening or two of enjoyment onto others at a lovely affordable price. It helps a good cause too.
A minimalist’s relationship with books ultimately boils down to removing the sentimentality from the physical aspect of it. You need to take the emotional feeling, memories and life lessons away from the story and not the physical book. For me and my busy schedule utilising ebooks has been the best option for my lifestlye. Whilst i sometimes miss the physicality of a book, i usually overcome it by visiting a library or buy a new release and then donating it to others afterwards. Ebooks are not the answer for everyone and there are always multiple alternatives. Ultimately, if you are going to take away something from this, remember that reading is about the story and what you feel… and not about the need to fill your bookshelves.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr Suess