Monday, July 12, 2010

Voluntary Simplicity - Books

Yesterday, I started reading a book called Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich . I picked it up at the thrift store a few days ago. It looked like something I needed to read. For all my wishy-washy posts about paring down and simplifying and being completely bewildered at where to start and how much was too much, I wish someone would have recommended this book to me.

So, for all of you that are as confuddled as I have been, start reading this book.

I'm only about forty pages in but so far the gist of the book is not to simplify so much that you lack, but to remove the things from your home that hinder your ability to enjoy everything else. It's not about the amount of things but what those things mean to you. How they enhance your life and help you along your inward journey. You may have many things or very few. Neither is wrong or right, it's a personal balance we must look inside our hearts to achieve.

There is one part of our home that we are overrun with; Books. I love books, to get rid of a book is like sacrilege to me. I love the brightly colored covers, the surprise endings, the myriad of places you can visit snuggled in your own bed. I love the thoughts and ideas that igneight my brain when I'm fully engrossed in a story. I love every single thing about books. Except...

We are overrun with books. The kids have three books shelves stacked so high they can't find the ones they want. Two nearly reach the ceiling. They become hard to put away neatly, get bent and torn because they can't be cleaned up easily. Good books get shoved into the background behind fluffy television-character featured books. We have a full bookcase downstairs, plus magazine racks in assorted places and another two shelves that line the top of one wall. Some books are very, very good. Others are senseless stories that hold no value save for relative entertainment. And that's not including any of our homeschool books, which take up another floor to ceiling shelving unit in the once-diningroom-turned-homeschool room.

Today, I start the task of simplifying our books. As much as it pains me to part with them, there are just too many to fully enjoy the good ones. The start will be easy, ridding ourselves of the books that hold little value to make room for the classics and dearly loved. These books will be packed up and donated to either the library or the woman's shelter down the road.

I can take comfort that they will have a good home and get loved by other children while my life becomes a little easier at story time. I look forward to sharing with you our efforts for voluntary simplicity and hope you check out the book I mentioned above, even if you too, have too many books.


April said...

I applaude you for making steps toward a simpler life! I love books also and can imagine how difficult it is to choose which you no longer need.

Crystal said...

Most of the kids books have been gone through. You wouldn't believe how many were duplicates! Any damaged ones went into recycling and I have about 75lbs of books to donate to the woman's shelter.

It looks and feels so much better in there. I meant to take before/after photos but forgot.