“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey

minimalism comes to the book shelf

Wifey is not diving into minimalism as much as me, but she has definitely gotten on board with some aspects. And when it comes to books, she has been inspiring me.

For years I have read books primarily on an e-reader, and my book collection was mostly pared down to specific authors. Since most of my favourite authors are dead, my collection stayed fairly static.

Wifey, on the other hand, never had any interest in an e-reader and continued to read only hard copy books. But then a year ago her sister gave her an e-reader as a gift and she was hooked fast.

She is a voracious reader, but now it is all digital. She read perhaps one hard copy book in the past year.

Seeing me minimizing my book collection, Wifey started evaluating her shelves of hardcovers.

The books started going in boxes.

I cut my books down by about 90%, Wifey by about 75%.

Books are heavy.

I was reminded of this as I pulled the boxes out of storage in our downstairs, upstairs to the landing, then back down a few steps to the garage to load up.

300 pounds of books.

300 pounds. And, I’ll be completely honest, I’d be hard pressed to name 20 books that were in those boxes off the top of my head.


There is a large-scale annual book drive in Calgary that raises money for charity, so our minimizing plan was always aimed at sorting our books in time for that.

We loaded up the car on Good Friday and went by the drop off point. Smiling volunteers helped us unload the 11 boxes onto a pallet. A handshake and a thank you and we were back on our way.

I feel good that books that had sat unread and mostly forgotten on our shelves are headed back into the world. We enjoyed the tales of horror, murder, adventure, and human experience. Now those books can fulfil their purpose and bring those stories to others.

As we drove away, I felt lighter. This was a large checkmark on my minimalism plan (and a big space opened up in our storage room). I asked Wifey if she had any thoughts.

“I don’t really have feelings about things like that,” she said.

Then after a moment, added “But now I really want to clean out the kitchen pantry.”