How to be a minimalist bookworm in 6 steps (+ shelfie!)


Hello everyone,

No, the two are not mutually exclusive! It is possible to love reading books without having to own many of them.

In my post last week, we talked about the reasons for holding onto the books that we have, and the reasons for getting rid of them. I LOVED hearing everyone’s feedback. Seems like us bookworms are all over the map: Some of us keep everything that we’ve read, some of us keep only the books we love, and some of us fall somewhere in between.


I also realized something about myself and my book-collecting habits: The thing is, I admit to myself that I will probably NEVER collect a whole series, or all the books by my favourite authors. On my bookshelf right now, there is a mishmash of standalones and series that I only have one or two books of. For a given series, I will very likely have book 1 as a physical copy, book 2 as an eBook, and book 3 borrowed from the library…


Another thing I realized is that I don’t own physical copies of some of my favourite books for this reason, and that some of the books that I DO own, I actually don’t like.

Since I already suck at collecting series and keeping physical copies of my favourite books, and I don’t have much space in my tiny metropolitan apartment, it gives me license to, well… Focus less on owning physical copies.

(WOW, that sounded really……….. zen. Speaking of which:


Anyway, I digress :’) 

Today, I want to share with you some of my tips I’ve brainstormed about approaching a life of bookish minimalism. I am by no means an expert. This is kind of an instruction manual that I am writing for myself. I haven’t done an unhaul yet, therefore, points #4-6 are still works in progress!

#1. Take advantage of the library!


If you are like me: 95% of the books that I read, I will only read once. There are books that I enjoyed that I will probably not read again. If that is the case, why not read a book and return it when we are done?

#2. Ebooks and audiobooks!


You may have noticed that eBooks and audiobooks do not take up (physical) space!! If you are short on space and looking to reduce clutter, then these digital options may be a solution for you.

Psst…. I am OBSESSED with the Overdrive app which allows you to borrow eBooks and audiobooks from the library!

#3. Prepare for an UNHAUL

This is a word that I’ve learned from some of you guys: Unhaul = Getting rid of the books that we actively dislike or wouldn’t bother to reread.


…….. Okay, maybe less dramatic.

My approach to an unhaul would be to sort our books into four categories (and a fifth optional category):

A) Books that we hate to the end of the earth

B) Books that we don’t plan to read or re-read

C) Books that we loved and might want to re-read one day

D) Books on our TBR that we look forward to reading

E) Books from category A and B which have REALLY PRETTY COVERS (optional)

#4. Donate or give away books from category A


Why hang onto book that we actively dislike? They say, the key to happiness is to let go of things that make us UN-happy, right? Remember that there might someone else there who will give more love to this book than you ever will.

#5. Decide what to do with category B

The “meh” books are the hardest, aren’t they? I would say, do what your heart desires with this category. If you don’t want to give these away, maybe hang onto them for a bit longer. Perhaps pack them away into a box and see if you miss any of these books. If and when you feel ready to part with them, that will be a time to give them away.

#6. Keep the books in categories C, D, and (optionally) E

Of course we want to hang onto things that make us happy 🙂


And as promised, a shelfie 🙂

As you guys can see, it is not so much a bookshelf as a shelf in my kitchen where I keep my books. The top shelf is out of the equation because it is not within reaching distance. Therefore this shelf is already at full capacity! It makes sense to optimize this space and fill it up with books that I love and look forward to reading. Let me know if you guys want to see more about my upcoming unhaul 🙂

Last but not least, please check out Hannah’s blog post, where she gives some more tips about being a minimalist bookworm.


Have you ever done an unhaul? If so, what was the approach that you used? Do you prefer physical copies or do you rely on eBooks and audiobooks like me? What is your approach to clutter?


69 Replies to “How to be a minimalist bookworm in 6 steps (+ shelfie!)”

    1. You’re welcome Hannah 🙂 I thought that our posts complemented each other because we each had a different twist on this topic. Haha yes books with pretty covers have an important place in my heart 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! It’s a struggle to decide between using the time to build something I’ll get a lot of use out of, or spending the time writing/editing something that could lead to a published work! There isn’t enough time in a day!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Michael! I agree that some of these steps are really hard! I haven’t done my unhaul yet, but I can imagine that some books will be hard for me to let go of.
      I think there is nothing wrong with having a big collection of books (which means an awesome bookshelf like the one you have 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great tips!! These are all things I try to do because I have a limited space for books. The hardest part to manage is all of the things I might acquire from book signings. -Ashley

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is such an interesting post, Sophie, I loved reading it ❤ I have SO many books ahah, I'm not really a minismalist kind of person when it comes to that, but lately I've been thinking about unhauling some books. I'm sure I'm holding on to some copies of books I'm not even really enjoying and… well, there is only so much place that my books can take, before they swallow me whole, hahaha, I still need to be able to walk around and breathe :p I wish I could take books from a library, though. Getting ebooks is so useful and practical, you can have billions of them and they don't take any place, haha. I love physical copies a lot as well, so… it's a struggle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Marie ❤ 🙂
      That's great to hear that you are considering an unhaul. I am also limited by the amount of space that I have in my apartment, which is why I can't hold onto many books haha. I hope that you will find it satisfying if you choose to do an unhaul 🙂 On the other hand I think it is awesome to have a huge book collection as well.
      I think nothing beats the feeling of holding a physical book in my hand! However I am getting used to the perks of ebooks, especially since I read a lot on my commute and don't always have a seat on the train (physical copies are heavy to carry!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh yes, physical copies are so heavy to carry sometimes. I love them so much, but sometimes I regret my choices, wanting to take my book on the train with me, but…. it’s SO heavy hahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha yes 🙂 Actually this coming week I will be bringing a physical book with me on my commute (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier!) I am sure it will be a good arm and shoulder exercise at the end of the day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Sophie, and I love your tips as well because they’ll definitely help me. I don’t normally go to my library (simply because they have a disappointing book selection I’ll admit) but maybe I should go again and see if things have improved. You never know. And recently I did a massive book unhaul. I think I actually ended up getting rid of more books than I kept, but there were just so many that I realised I didn’t enjoy enough to keep.
    Again great post, and I love your shelfies as well. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Beth ❤ 🙂 Yes unfortunately the library is only useful when there is a good selection. Wow, that is awesome to hear about how many books you got rid of in your unhaul- Good job 🙂 I can imagine that it feels refreshing to only own a smaller amount of books that you love. I look forward to doing a unhaul too (though it will be on a smaller scale I think!) Thank you Beth ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it’s a shame because they did this big project where they renovated the library, moved to a new location and got a bigger building but didn’t bother to update the books inside which really disappointed me.
        Thanks, and yeah definitely refreshing but it likely won’t be too long until I have an even bigger collection! 😀
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s too bad! When it comes to libraries, the inside is definitely more important than the appearance. I think it is very likely for us to find new books to fill our shelves, however it is a good habit to get rid of some books that we don’t like anymore once in a while. That way our shelves will be filled more and more with books that we like 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great list! I’m a big library and ebook user, especially being in school and going back and forth across the country every few months. I love owning the books that I love, but sometimes there’s just too many! Plus, it’s so satisfying (in my opinion) to unhaul books I didn’t care for, and be able to look at my shelves and only see books that I love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Margaret 🙂 I love libraries and eBooks for that same reason- it makes reading much more portable. I also believe that there is satisfaction in unhauling. Although I haven’t done a major unhaul of my books, I did give away a lot of my clothes from my last move and it was a liberating feeling 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I moved I did an unhaul of books I’d been hauling around since a teenager and boy was it freeing! It made me realize I don’t reread often and if I want to better to have an ebook. I’m probably the soul of minimalism, lol. Your book shelf is super cute! The kitchen has a lot of extra space when you’re by yourself or just 2 people too, why waste it?! ♥️ I’d also certainly love to see your unhaul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear that you had a good experience doing an unhaul, Dani 🙂 I love the idea of being a minimalist (it is something I am striving towards haha 🙂 )
      The kitchen cabinet works perfectly for my books so far. Thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Julianna 🙂
      Haha yes! There is a handful of books with pretty covers that I would find it hard to let go!
      I do agree about library fines – they sneak up on us, right? It’s hard to keep track of when the due dates are and to find time to return/renew them. If your library has the Overdrive app, I would highly recommend this! One great feature is that it will automatically return ebooks/audiobooks for you when it is due (or you can renew it via the app instead of going to the library 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha definitely the first time I see a library in a kitchen :-). But it’s cool to have a bit of a secret hideaway for your books. I try to swap/sell/give away books that I don’t think I want to reread and get a 4-star score or less. The 4.5 and 5 star books are all keepers (which is still a lot).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Inge ❤ 🙂 I am glad that you like my small and cosy kitchen book collection! Giving away books that you don't plan to reread is a great habit to get into 🙂 That makes a lot of sense to keep only the 4-5 stars since those would be the books that we plan to reread anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m in a very similar boat in terms of my book collections- I have parts of series and just generally am all over the place. Although I have very few books that I don’t like, because unless I did it for uni and it’s annotated, I’ve no reason to keep them. I definitely think using the library as much as possible is really useful!! Ebooks are a total lifesaver as well!! I usually try to get rid of books in the A, B and E category as well. I love your shelfie as well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! ❤ Glad to hear that I’m not the only person who have parts of series haha. Sounds like you have a good habit of getting rid of books you don’t like, which is great! I also like to hang on to books that I’ve annotated for school purposes 🙂


  8. I’ve recently decided to become a more minimalist bookworm as well! 😊 In the past, I used be obsessed over making sure that if I had one book in a series, I would have to buy all the other books in the series… but I’ve now come to realize how trivial that desire is. Will having the full set of books in a series make me love the series anymore? Honestly… no. It’s really just for aesthetic reasons. 😅 I think another way to become more minimalist for books is to focus on the content of the books rather than the idea of having the physical copy of it. After all, as book worms, the core of what we really want from books is to have it create an impact on our life — not that it looks good on a shelf.

    This was a very relatable post, Sophie! It definitely gave me the reminder I needed to focus more on the reading aspects of books instead of the buying part 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Zoie! I like the idea of focusing on the content of the book rather than the physical copy. After all, in most cases, after I read a book, it is unlikely that I will read it again even if I do own a physical copy. Also, I think if we ever do get the urge to reread a book that we don’t have, we can always borrow it from the library (if it is available!)
      However I do also like the feeling of buying books haha. It is difficult to balance the two 🙂
      Thank you Zoie ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Kelly 🙂 Yes, Overdrive is amazing- I saved SO much money because of it 🙂 I lean more towards eBooks for the same reasons. Being an impulsive reader, I also like being able to buy an eBook and read it right away (instead of buying a physical copy from the bookstore or waiting for it to be shipped 🙂 ) Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely prefer physical books but I have limited space in my room so instead, I mostly borrow from the library or buy ebooks to read on my Kindle. I’ve given away some of my books before to a friend who needed books for a service project she was working on but I haven’t done an unhaul since then. I also love audiobooks because I can listen to them when I’m working out.

    Rachana @ Spun

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rachana!
      I love audiobooks for the same reason 🙂 I listening to an audiobook when I run or stretch. That is great that you are making use of your library (saves a lot of money, doesn’t it? 🙂 ) Giving books away to a friend is a great idea, especially knowing that they will put it to good use!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I really enjoyed this post. As someone who loves the idea of living in a tiny home (less is more IMO) I would have to part with a lot of my books. I also rarely reread and I have some books on my shelves that I enjoyed, gave them 4 stars, but I doubt I will ever read again. Realizing that made me stop buying books and start using my library more. Which is ironically closed at the moment because it moved to a new location. I still buy a book after reading it if I loved it or a sequel to a series I’m really dedicated to, but my book buying is down by like 85%. I respect everyone’s reasons for keeping the books they keep but I only ever want to have books I absolutely love on my shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Yes, I absolutely agree. Less really is more. Of the books that I’ve read, there are few books that I would go back and reread, even if I really enjoyed them. It is a great idea to make use of the library. Because of this I was also able to cut down on the books I buy!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am a big library user but I have not yet tried eBooks. I should. But I like to have a physical copy and I often write comments in the books that I own which makes it impossible to give them after… Thankfully, I only do this with the books I really really like and I wouldn’t want to depart from them anyway. Hi, hi… I also have a shelf in my kitchen where I keep my books, but this shelf is for my cooking books only.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Yes I see the value of physical books. It is a great feeling to hold a book in my hands while reading it. Though I don’t write comments in my books, it seems like a good way to mark down a memorable scene 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I just donated almost all of my books last weekend and it feels so refreshing! I’ve been trying to get into minimalism for the past 2 years and books were the only area I found difficult and challenging but no more!
    I’m taking advantage of my library more now and I’m buying books for my kindle 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear! It’s hard to let go of things we’ve been hanging on to for a long time, but it is refreshing isn’t it? The library is such a money-saver and I also love kindle books 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! I love the library so much. Sometimes I have to limit how often I go because I will always bring home many books that I don’t have time to read 🙂 I love how light the Kindle is and how you can buy books instantaneously.

        Liked by 1 person

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