This seems to be a common problem between booklovers and people who participate in book communities such as book blogging and booktubing. We all have somewhere down the line developed a need to buy more books than we read which causes us to end up with an overly-excessive amount of unread books on our shelves. It can leave you sitting there and staring at your 30 or 50 or 100 or 200 books that are waiting to be read. It all can become quite stressful. Booklovers are always trying to lower their number of unread book, but the real question is: What is the best way to go about reducing the number of unread books I own? Where should I start? You are in luck because I have some great ways you can go about doing this whether you want to get the number of unread books you have cut in 1/2 or even brought down to 0.
1.) Adjust your ratio of Books Bought to Books Read
You must understand that the reason why you have so many books is because YOU BUY BOOKS FASTER THAN YOU READ THEM. The only way you will ever lower the number of unread books you have is by decreasing the rate at which you buy books and then increasing the rate at which you read them. One way you can do this is by setting some rules for yourself. You could say for every 5 books read off your shelf, you are allowed to buy one book. At least now after reading 10 books you have decreased the number of unread books you have by 8 and acquired 2 new books. Another way is by allowing yourself to buy only a certain amount of books a month (still keeping the number you usually read in a month in mind). Remember, the goal is the read more than you buy.
2.) Unhaul Books
This way is probably the fastest, but hardest method for hardcore booklovers. It requires you to get rid of books. (I know! Shocker right?) All you have to do is evaluate all your unread books and figure out which ones you can get rid of. This is the time to pull out all those books you have lost interest in, do not think you will enjoy, and/or do not think you will read within the next 1-2 year. Look, it's really not so bad. Just remember that you can always repurchase them later. Now that you have picked out books to get rid of, what should you do with them? Well, you have quite a few options. There are many places (physical and online) that will take your books as donations. These places include the library, thrift shops, non-profit organizations, etc. You could also give them to friends and family, hold a giveaway on social media, or sell them.
3.) Set Reading Goals
Now that you have lessened your book buying and gotten rid of all those unwanted books, it is time to start actually making your way through these unread books still left on your shelves. But first, it is best that you set a few goals for yourself. BE REASONABLE! Do not try to convince yourself to finish all 100 of your unread books when you can barely read 50 books a year. It's just not happening. Also, make sure you make an overall goal as well as specific goals within certain time frames and points where you will check in with yourself and see how well things are going. For example, I might say I want to get my 80 unread books down to 30 unread books in 10 months' time. I want to do this by reading at least 5 books a month and I will check in and evaluate my progress every 2 months. If picking books is a problem, To Be Read (TBR) Jars are a good option. To make a TBR Jar, all you have to do is take a jar and fill it with slips of paper that have all the unread books on your shelves on them. Then you can draw books every month to see what you will read next.
4.) Find some motivation
Make sure you stick to your goals by motivating yourself! You can do this in many ways. One good way is to find others who are trying to accomplish similar goals as you. This is VERY EASY because all you have to do is HIT THE INTERNET. There are so many people out there trying to lower their number of unread books including me! Go look in bookish communities such as Goodreads, book blogs, booktube, and there is always TWITTER of course. It is not hard at all to find support. Make sure to also post your goals on social media or just tell them to a friend or family member. This keeps you accountable and hopefully more motivated to get what you need to do done.
5.) Don't Do Anything
Now let's just stop a moment and think. Does it really bother you that you have so many unread books? Why do you like buying multiple books at a time? Would you consider yourself a book collector? These are all valid questions to ask yourself. Maybe you just don't need to do anything about your unread books. If you like having a wide variety to choose from when you are picking what to read next and seeing shelves filled with books makes you happy, then it does not matter whether you have 5 books unread or 500. At the end of the day, all those books you own are yours and you can use them however you please. Like me, it does not matter to me as much if I have lots of unread books because I know I will get to them eventually and to me they are timeless. So if it does not matter to you, don't feel pressured to lower how many books you have not read on your shelves. Just continue on with whatever makes you happiest.
I hope this post was helpful to you, and if it was, please share it! I would love to hear if you guys have any other methods of reducing your number of unread books in the comments. Also, let me know if you have any discussion ideas or questions for other post topics.