Clearing Out My Shelves

I recently ran out of room on my shelves, which is kind of embarrassing because I feel like I just bought new ones and remember thinking it would take me ages to fill them, but here we are with books starting to pile up on the floor.

My husband started trying to figure out where we can fit in more bookshelves in our already rather tiny apartment, but I wanted to go through my shelves first and purge them of any books I was on the fence about so I could make sure I have shelves full of books I love (I talked more about that in my post about why I own books). As it turns out, I’ve got more than enough space! I’m still pretty happy with myself a week later, so I thought it might be fun to blog about my thought process and share why I decided to part with some of the books I did.

I’ve already been donating books I didn’t love when I finished reading, so those were already in my donation pile and not an issue. So I first through and pulled out all of the books I remember enjoying but that I don’t actually remember much about. For instance, I liked a bunch of Sabrina Jeffries books enough to collect and I’ve been hanging on to some Elizabeth Boyle books for a few years now, but honestly, I can’t remember a single thing about them. Even looking back at some of my reviews didn’t spur any memories, so I decided to put those in the pile.

I also decided to cull any books I’d been on the fence about for a while, either because it had a pretty cover or it seemed relevant to my collection or what have you. I know one was for a book where I really enjoyed the original standalone, but the surprise sequel was pretty disappointing, so while I like the idea of keeping both books, I’m totally happy with just the original.

I think the thing that made the biggest difference for me was letting go of all my signed books. I’ve been hanging on to every book I’ve gotten signed, and I’ve been pretty liberal in getting books signed. Any event I’ve been to where one of the books that I wasn’t originally there for sounded interesting, I’ve boughten it and gotten it signed. And as it turns out, I didn’t love those books enough to have boughten and gotten signed if I’d read them before I heard the authors speak. So as much as it pains me to let those books go, they’re really just taking up space and aren’t furthering my goal of having shelves that make me happy to look at. So I went through and got rid of A LOT of those books.

Finally, I reorganized my TBR shelves and made them into a rainbow. It’s a pretty fun look, though I’m not sure I could do it to my entire bookcase! I had a really nice rainbow expanding across three shelves, but then I realized there were more than 90 books on those shelves, and I’m just never going to read through 90 books in a timely matter. So I decided to be brutal.

If a book has been sitting on my shelf for more than a year and I still can’t see myself reading it in the next month or so, I got rid of it. I also got real with myself about all of the freebies that I’d accumulated at events this past summer and got rid of the ones that didn’t sound as appealing to me now that the high of stacks and stacks of free books has worn off. The sad part is, I thought I was being pretty conservative in snagging free books, too! But I still managed to go a bit overboard.

I also got rid of a lot of books that sound interesting and that I think I’d enjoy, but that I know I can get from the library and read when I feel like it. I find that I prefer to read books on kindle a lot of the times, especially now that I have my kindle paperwhite, and so it makes sense to read a lot of the books I don’t think I’d want to keep physical copies of on my kindle instead of in paperback.

Between all of those things, I was able to get rid of another 20 books from my TBR shelves, bringing me down to a new total of 74. That number is still way too many, but I feel a lot more comfortable about the books on my TBR shelves right now. A lot of them are nonfiction, which I don’t feel the need to get rid of because I know I’ll read them eventually (I just have to be careful not to accumulate more in the meantime). And a lot are arcs that I’m planning to read before they’re published in the coming months. If I don’t, I’ll donate the arcs and borrow the books from the library if I decide I want to read them. And I have several more that I’m kind of on the fence about, but when I tried to talk them through with my husband, he suggested that I wait a few months and then weed through my shelves again since I already made so much progress this time around. So that’s what I’m going to do!

(Also, looking back through my old posts, I was at 60 books on my TBR shelves when I first started consciously trying to read what I own. Guess I’m not doing so well with that…)

Ultimately, I wound up with a lot more wiggle room on my TBR shelves, and I’m hoping to get that figure back down to a reasonable number sooner rather than later. I’m actually thinking I’ll make it my goal to reduce that total number by at least five per month so I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed by all of my unread books. Seriously, my book buying and book accumulation is getting out of control!

I also have some empty space in the rest of my bookshelves where I can put the books I read and decide to keep! It’s a big moment, because my shelves have been overstuffed for a while now. And it’s not that much space, so I shouldn’t really celebrate too hard, but still. It’s way more than I had!

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