Bookaholic, voracious reader, obsessed with books. All of these terms get tossed around when books and me come up in the same conversation. I will admit, I can’t say no to a good book. Or even a substandard book that I am willing to give a chance. What this means is that my to-read list on Goodreads is at a cool 1187 books, not to mention the few hundred ebooks and physical books that I have waiting for my attention as well. It starts to feel a little bit daunting when I think about just how many books are waiting, so I’m using this three steps to de-clutter my list!
I think that a lot of us readers try to justify to ourselves that hoarding books isn’t in fact hoarding, but it is. Do you have 500+ books in your home, waiting to be read? You may very well be a book hoarder. Welcome to our club 🙂 This summer I’m on a mission to slim down my to-read list and give myself some book freedom!
1. Edit Your To-Read List
Sometimes the only way to get your list under control is to take the knife to it and trim it down. I will look at it and think, “I could read 1100 books”. Then I do the math and realise that at roughly 60 books a year, it would take me over 18 years to read only the books on that list (not allowing for anything new) and I realise that I probably don’t actually want to read every single one of those books. So, I take 15 or 20 minutes every few days and take a second look at books on the list to decide if I had to put down the book that I’m reading to read it right now, would I? If the answer is no, it goes! (It’s always there if you want to find it again.
2. Give Away Your Books
Now, before you threaten me with pitchforks and fire, hear me out! Many of us readers have more physical books than we know what to do with. We are guilty of using stacks of books as shelves, “decorations” and simply as something taking up space because of the fear that we may want to read it again. Well, factor in your above-mentioned to-read list, and the fact that you can’t re-read every book you’ve already read, and you need to slim your collection. What, if you have to move, are you going to pay to move 2,000 lbs of books? No, probably not. Go through your books and be realistic on which books you absolutely need to keep. And then, give your books away! Give them as a present with a note explaining why you think that person would enjoy that particular book. Donate them to charity booksales and shops! (Our local children’s hospital hosts a charity booksale three times a year, and it’s a wonderful cause to donate to.) Invite your friends over and let them choose which books they would enjoy! Leave them in random places with a note to pass it on when you finish it, for a stranger to continue the chain. The possibilities are endless for someone else to benefit from your books!
3. Stop and Think Before Buying
If you are anything like me, you see a book that mildly interests you for a decent price, and before you know it, it’s come home with you. After a while, those “good deal” books do add up, you’ve lost a lot of space in your home, and your to-read list is a monster. Get in the habit of writing the name and author of a book down and researching it when you have a few moments, not when it happens to be on sale. Speaking as someone who has literally purchased hundreds of books for this very reason, step back and take your time. Also, stop to see if you can get it from the library for free! You would still get to read it, but save yourself the money and loss of space. The worst thing that happens if you don’t read a book from the library is that you return it unread!
Although a Christmas themed cozy should be up my alley, I’ve never read it 🙁