You can’t say you’re minimalist, just not with books. Minimalist philosophy encompasses all areas of life. Books too.
Let’s first take a close look what it really means to be minimalist. We can sum up minimalism with these two guidelines:
1) Keep things of value
2) Arrange things in an environment that preserves or enhances their value.
Books are generally of high value. Books promote literacy, language acquisition, and a love of learning. As a matter of fact, books can fill a Minimalist Montessori home, as they do mine. But there’s a high level of intentionality to it.
What Montessori Book Minimalism Looks Like at Home:
- Every book is of high quality and is added to the collection with intention
- All books don’t need to be out all the time, to preserve your environment, and enhance focus.
- Some books should be taken out during special times of the day (such as read alouds or independent reading times)
- Books should be organized by a variety of topics, and some books should be placed around the home by topic. For example, cookbooks in the kitchen, potty books in the bathroom, or books about gardening in the yard.
- Some books should be put away temporarily and cycled in and out according to your child’s interest.
- Books that your child has grown out of shouldn’t be out. Give them away or store them away for the long term.
How many books?
People often ask me for a number of books that should be out or that should be in rotation. There’s no set number. That would be false minimalism. Look intentionally at the quality of the books in your home, the value they bring to your children. Consider whether the books fill the space in a calming and beautiful way that encourages reading.
How often to cycle books?
I’m also often asked for a timeframe within which to cycle the books. Again, there is not a set answer. Watch your child. Cycle books out when she stops choosing them, and pull in books when you observe new interests.
Books truly hold so much value, that we owe it to ourselves to be minimalist with them! Hoarding books won’t promote literacy or learning—we’ve got to be intentional about our books!