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.
Great tips! Personally I only allow myself to buy books after I have read the vast majority of the books I already own. Right now I only have 4 unread books on my shelf. For the longest time, I refused to unhaul books, but then I realized that I feel so much better with the pressure of having to read those books gone.ReplyDelete
Omg only 4! You must be very disciplined.Delete
Great tips! I have so many un read books because I just can't be bothered to read them! I need to sit myself down and get through them!ReplyDelete
Lol I totally understand! Hopefully you can read some of them soon. I am sure there are some really good books hidden in there.Delete
This was a thorough article. It gave me some ideas for sure. I shaved down a few books the last couple months by changing my reading focus. I have been contemplating how to now read down my pile. This post gave me some ideas. I especially like the ratio reading. Food for thought!ReplyDelete
Thanks! I am glad it helped. I hope you are able to get that pile down.Delete
This is actually a great post. You give some great advice!ReplyDelete
Such a useful list of tips for book lovers/hoarders like me. Almost every book I own (excluding those I've received for review consideration) was once on my "urgently read!" shelf on Goodreads but I've only gotten around to reading ~10% of them total. Should I feel pathetic or proud? I don't know. I definitely need to consider decluttering the ones I'm no longer interested in reading, as well as make checklists or deadlines so I can actually get through more of them! Thanks for a lovely and thoughtful post :)ReplyDelete
Thanks! I am so glad it helped. I hope you can get through all the books you plan to read.Delete
Logically, I know that number one would be the best solution for not having unread books on my shelf, but at the same time it's like, I want that book. And that book. And that one. hahaReplyDelete
To be honest though, the reason why I have so many unread books on my shelves isn't because I buy too many (because I usually read books as soon as I buy them), but because I get sent unsolicited review copies from publishers that don't really interest me as much- since I need to wait until I'm in the mood to read those, they often lie around for quite some time.
Really great tips, when I'm really down about not being able to read all the books I want to I really need to remember #5 because it is so true. Switch #1 from bought to borrowed from the library and I definitely need to follow that advice, haha!ReplyDelete
I don't have that many books to begin with, so I'm loving the fact that my collection is growing slowly, even though there may be a point where I have TOO much. But oh well! For me, the only bad part I see in having too many books is moving!! That's tough with a lot of books!ReplyDelete
Because I hate spending money to the point where it gets annoying, I have literally NO problems with books I've bought stacking up in all it's unreadingness (totally a word) but library books? OMG LIBRARY BOOKS. I've had to start to ban myself from the library because otherwise I come home with a dozen books and then stress out about how I'm going to read them before the library comes after me with pitchforks because they're so overdue. BLEGHHH.ReplyDelete