Media is, at least for my husband and I, the biggest challenge in minimalism. Pared down closet? Done. Just the essentials in the kitchen? Easy. But both of us have the tendency to collect books and movies at every opportunity.
We buy these items with good intentions – finally reading that book everyone has told us about or that movie that we’ve always wanted to see. But the reality is that there is already more media out there than we could ever hope to consume, so these items sit on our shelves and take up space. Even worse is moving them – boxes of books and records do not make for an easy move. For transparency’s sake, here are the guidelines I am following as we continue to whittle down our collection:
What to Keep:
Sense of Wonder: Anything that evokes a sense of wonder. This doesn’t mean childhood nostalgia – it means media that makes me feel like something bigger and more magical than me is out there. Some examples of this, for me, are The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time, as well as The Magicians Trilogy and Calvin & Hobbes.
Reference (aka make me look smart at parties): My collection of Mary Roach books can stay. These are also the type of books that I like to read before bed – it’s much easier for me to simply read one chapter and put it down than it will ever be with a fictional story. I’m also happy to sit down to a good documentary more than once (Somm & Somm: Into The Bottle, I’m looking at you).
Dirty, dog-eared cookbooks: The ones that are falling apart, covered in stains and scribbles are clearly the ones that I use, and love, the most. They can stay.
What has to go:
Unused Cookbooks: I have a massive collection of cookbooks and I feel like I have to have them on hand, just in case. But real talk – I already know my favorites and Pinterest is a thing.
Obligations: That book or movie that all the cool kids were into in 2007 that I never quite cared enough to pick up? Byeeeeee. Extra bonus: getting rid of the guilt and nagging feeling about never having read it.
One and done: There are plenty of books and movies I’ve enjoyed, put back on the shelf and haven’t touched since. It’s time for those to go to a new home.
Once we go through and purge these items, every bit either goes to a second hand book store or a thrift shop – I firmly believe that every story has someone who will love it, so I want to give it that chance instead of languishing on my shelf.