Cutting Down on Clutter with a Kindle

Cutting Down on Clutter with a Kindle

When I first got a Kindle Touch in December 2011, I told myself that I wouldn’t forget about physical books, that the Kindle could never replace physical books. After all, physical books are what I grew up with; they’ve been my steadfast companions since childhood. Being a natural pack rat, I grew up collecting and buying books. In fact, my bookcase was soon overflowing with books, mangas, and comic books, and I know I’ve had at least 2000+ books throughout my life. The lack of space didn’t bother me, and I just kept on buying and hoarding more books.

Then I got the Kindle Paperwhite in January 2013, and that became the turning point for me with physical and digital books. With the Paperwhite, I found myself reading more digital books than ever, and I found myself preferring to read on the device. This was especially the case with some of the humongous books I owned! For an example, when I read the physical copy of Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On, that monstrosity proved to be a pain to read because it was just too bulky and heavy! Plus, the pages were larger and wider, so my eyes had trouble scanning and reading the words — but on the smaller Kindle screen, my eyes had an easier time reading them. And one other advantage a Paperwhite has over physical books? I can read in the dark.

Two years later, I’ve reached the point where I decided to get rid of 90% of my physical books. I’ve decided to clean out my bookcase and get rid of all the books I can get on the Kindle and to get rid of the ones I’d never read or re-read. See the photos below for piles of books I decided to take out of my bookcase.

Farewell, Physical Books! Farewell, Physical Books!

And below is my cleaner looking bookcase where 90% of its occupants are now mangas or comic books.

Cleaner Bookcase

I have to say that I feel way better now that I’ve cleaned out of my bookcase. Sure, I’ve still got a long, long way to go to achieve anything close to Georgie’s level, but the fact that I’m even attempting to cut down on clutter is a major step for me. I know a part of me will always have the materialistic streak, but I can still try to get rid of things I don’t need, and the physical books I can get on my Kindle are something I no longer need.


  1. At least you are making progress, Tara! That’s good to see. I was also worried that by getting an iPad I wouldn’t care much for physical books, but I have come to the realisation that it can be handy. I don’t like carrying huge novels around and an iPad is much more portable. I can easily change the font size and make it really large for ease of reading, too.

    I had collections of books that were series in full, so I can understand how you must feel about your manga. I still think you have done a great job from those photos showing what you have decided to part with. :)

    • I agree that changing the font size is a godly feature. My eyes are certainly not as good as it used to be! I’m with you on that I don’t want to carry around heavy books either, so that’s another reason to go digital for me!

  2. The thing I love about e-readers is that tons of books can be held in a lightweight device. Also, you can access it anywhere and don’t need to lug around heavy books! I always see good in decluttering your space.

    Your mangas and comics are so neatly placed!!! I think it’s more neater than my college textbooks on my shelves XD. 20 books are not, comparing the end to the beginning matters the most! Still love your shelf placement though ;).

    • Thanks XD; I tried to place them by company, and that worked out for a while until I started to run out of space, so I had to be creative with my placement, haha! XD;

  3. I don’t read as much as I used to, and the frequent excuse is the lack of storage space for physical books. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting an e-reader of some sort (preferably with electronic paper technology), but if I eventually get one, I might realise that all along I’m just too lazy to read.

    I still love the smell of books, though, even if it comes with silverfish occasionally. :)

    • Oddly enough, the smell of books never enticed me, so when people talk about book smell, I am not getting it, haha! XD It just smells musty and paper-y to me.

  4. Look at your collection – it’s amazing! I have a decent library, but there was no way I could take all of them with me, so I just left them back home.

    I now have the incentive to want to start reading again after so long with a Kindle. I can’t believe it took me years to finally get on with ereaders. They’re awesome!

    • You should have seen my collection as a kid! I had WAY more books than that XD; Now it’s just mostly mangas, haha!

      I hope you’re getting some awesome reading time in!

  5. Still can’t get over the thought of giving away books or selling them. I love reading and physical books makes me extremely happy everytime. T_T

    • I’m at the point where I have to start being less materialistic to an extent . . . now that I’m going digital with books, I don’t mind getting rid of the physical copies. But there are some things I will not get rid of, like my video games LOL.

  6. I’m going to have to do the same like you, like it not. Get rid of the books I can get on my tablet e-reader and keep only the books I can’t find on any digital platform. I’ll probably still hoard physical books from time to time, but I’ll be sure to get rid of them after I’m done reading them.

    • Yeah, I’ll be hoarding mangas for now since digital mangas are still not good for like the Kindle. But once that happens, I may go the route I am with books . . .

  7. Your book collection is amazing! But recently, i’ve been decluttering my book collection ever since I got the Kindle APP. Haha, I don’t have a kindle as of yet (I need to invest in one soon!) Now my book shelves look fairly empty – apart from my gaming shelf which I could never get rid of! I think I can declutter books and CDs but when it comes to games I’ll always prefer the physical game over downloaded ones – I know it’s weird ;)

    • Oooh! If you do invest in an actual Kindle, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and experience about them it. I love my Kindle so much.

      And yes on physical game! I’m the same way! I still prefer the physical copies as opposed to a digital copy!

  8. I refuse to reread books, but I love them and simply accept book hoarding as one of my vices. I’m not particularly interested in reading physical books as I generally prefer reading digital ones, but I love them as decoration. I have hundreds (maybe thousands?) at my parents’ house, and because I have a perhaps frighteningly good memory when it comes to stuff like this – I know which books are mine and where I left them. Clothes, games, make up, photos, knick knacks, jewelry and other bits of clutter I don’t care about but books? I’m going to try to keep my books.

    My problem started as a child. I had these crazy fantasies of having a huge library, so I read my books once (because rereading was even more of a foreign concept to me then than it is now) very carefully while not daring to bend or distort any pages and then kept them in pristine condition. As odd as it is, I suppose that books are like photographs for me. Glancing at them on a shelf reminds me of where I was when I was reading them, what I thought, what I was doing, etc. It’s somehow comforting. I like being surrounded by them and I like having them out so that I can talk about them if people come over.

    Luckily, there are some books in my possession now that I don’t care about and will willingly give away so that’s some progress, I guess.

    • Thanks for sharing your insights! I agree that I’d love to have a magnificent looking library, but . . . realistically speaking, I do not have the funds or the space for that, haha! Plus, I do make it a habit of re-reading the books I love, so my books would never look flawless and pretty XD

  9. I agree that e-readers make owning physical copies of books a lot easier. I feel lots of people have the misconception that when you own a e-reader, it means that you can only read books off the e-reader as opposed to reading books in their physical format.

    I remember reading a statistic though that people who own e-readers are more prone to reading books more often! I thought that was really interesting.

    Plus, I always found that if I like a book enough for it to become my favorite, I usually buy a physical copy alongside my epub copy, haha.

    Kudos to you for being able to declutter your bookshelf!

    • I think that statistic you read is true. I read more than I have in the past, but that could also be because I’ve been slammed down by grad school. But I find it easier to read on my Kindle, especially huge historical books, so I guess it also depends on the books for me XD;

  10. That’s quite a library! :)

    I also have been thinking of trimming my book collection. I don’t have enough breathing space for my books at home, and now that I’m living in a dorm and transferring every year, the books can be quite bulky and take much-needed space. Ever since I started living outside my home, I learned to only buy and keep things that are necessary to me. I got the same realization when I started reading books digitally, too! I can get digital copies for books that I want to read again, while I can keep my most loved books.

    • Yeah, I’m fighting space on my bookcase all the time. X_X Going digital will definitely help me, and oh, man. Thinking about moving all the books I used to own. Gahhhhh! No, thanks!

  11. I was having the discussion with my mum recently, and I am really interested in buying an e-reader. I live in a very small house, and a significant amount of space is taken up by books. Should I ever wish to buy a new book, I realistically have to get rid of a book I already own as there really isn’t space. It’s really frustrating.
    I know there are certain books I wouldn’t want to be rid of physically – I would have to keep all of my manga, Harry Potter and some others, but after reading this post, and subsequently reading Georgie’s post also, I’m really determined to pick up an ereader and clear myself some space without having to compromise on my reading! Thanks so much for posting this – and well done on the clearing, your bookcase looks amazing =p

    • Oooh! Do share your experience with your e-reader! I have to admit that my very first one, the Kindle Touch, wasn’t used as much as my Paperwhite. But once I got my Paperwhite, BAM! I read on it all the time! :D

  12. Your book case is so full! I’m planning to have one when I buy my own house in the future. I’m really into paperbacks than e-books. I’ve only read two e-books (Wicked and This Is How You Lose Her) and I can say that I enjoy a real book more than digital ones.

    • That’s good you enjoy paperbacks more :) I don’t mind it, but I’m definitely preferring digital XD The only time a physical book is better if it’s one that’s full of art and photographs. X_X; It just doesn’t work on a Kindle then!

  13. That is really great that you were able to do that. I felt exactly the same as you. I never thought that I would prefer digital eBooks to regular books, but now I do. I wish that there was an option if you owned a book to also have a digital copy of it. That way you could essential keep the books you owned but have all the space. xD

    • I know Amazon has the Matchbook programme that lets you get a discount on the digital books you ordered through them, but the qualifying books are so limited :( I hope more books I ordered before become available for a digital discount!

  14. Chansoriya on

    Ooo I love your bookshelf! Mine isn’t nearly as organized! I don’t know much on the topic of kindles, but I’m glad you like yours.

    I’m a library gal, mostly physical books, so I don’t have much to say besides – physical books are indeed “bulky and heavy”! (I just close my eyes and tell myself, “This is all arm day” as I walk back home from the library, haha.)

    • Kindles are amazeballs :D They are so handy for reading! At least for me!

      And yes, carrying all that books — definitely an arm day. When I went to the library I checked out a lot of books. But now, I rarely go there.

  15. I’m still on the fence about eReaders despite owning one myself. I have a Kobo and it is absolutely amazing and so great for convenience, but I just rally love my paperbacks. I definitely like the fact that you can read in the dark, though. I remember when I was little being caught by my mum with a flashlight and a book, lol.

    Ooooh, all those books got thrown out? Did you just give them away? I couldn’t imagine parting with my books – I feel sad thinking about it.

    Your bookshelf looks muddafancy, though! I don’t think mine could be like that just yet… too many books, haha.

    • Yeah, all those books are donated at my library’s “bring one, take one” section, aka the book swap box. The only ones I’m not sure of donating are the GLBT books I have. Oh well. I’ll figure out what to do with them.

      And ahahaha! I don’t think my bookcase looks that fancy, but thanks XD

  16. Wow, I am still in that phase where I think I cannot get over my love for paper back for ebooks. i have read many a ebooks but I still have an urge to buiy a book when I see a good one, sometime s even though I have read it as an ebook just to feel the book. I have stopped buying new books though, I go for second hand books which I return once I have finished reading it!

    But I would love to invest in a kindle once, because I have heard sooo much about it now from so many people!

    • Yeah, I can see how it’s hard giving up physical books, but the Kindle just let it happen for me XD;;

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