Mission: Clean My Shelves

Posted August 23, 2013 by Bonnie in Uncategorized / 9 Comments

I really enjoyed doing the Book Survey last Friday. It was fun and different than what I normally do so I decided to try something different again this Friday. Today, I’m going to talk about my next Bookish goal. The only thing I like more about getting new books is talking about them so that’s what I decided to ramble on about today.


Hi. My name is Bonnie and I am a Book Addict.
I visited my library the other day and just wandered around browsing, not looking for anything in particular. No less than 3 times did I see a book, get super excited, and then realize… what a minute, I already own this. And it’s unread (of course). But a part of me still wanted to bring it home with me. I’m just glad I realized BEFORE I actually brought it home. There’s something strange about the intense desire to bring new books home, regardless of how many you have waiting for you at home to be read.
Half of my library addiction I think is just my enjoyment of the environment… just being around all the books makes me happy. But in all seriousness, my own personal collection of books is almost large enough to rival my public library so why not treat it as such? I think a part of my problem with reading my currently owned books is my complete lack of organization and my inability to find something when I want it. This would of course be solved with several new bookshelves but for the time being I’m going to have to work with what I’ve got. 
Organizing My Books
My unread books are so disorganized it’s not even funny and it BOTHERS me to even look at my shelves these days. Note that there are books stack upon books and stacked in front of other books… I can never find anything I’m looking for. If I had it my way they’d be all pretty and alphabetized and nice and easy to find. So that was my big project: organize my shelves. 
How do you organize your books? By color? Alphabetically? By favorites? Are your ARCs kept separate so you know which need to be read next? 
The Purge
Once I read a book I usually put it on top of my bookshelf. Sometimes I’ll finish a book and I disliked it so it goes in the giveaway bag for my used bookstore. Most of these books I don’t honestly ever see myself re-reading, so why keep them? It’s a disease I tell ya, a disease!

PLUS, if you look real closely you can see my top shelf is bowing under the weight. Problems. I gots them. My read pile has grown so much that in addition to my top shelf I have several boxes full of books that I can’t bear to part with but have already read. Once I get more bookshelves I’d love to bring them back out because I love being able to have access to all my books, read or not. 

How do you decide when you get rid of books? Do you keep them all? When do you decide if you should do a giveaway for the book or not?
Just Do It
Instead of plotting out best ways to do it I ended up just tackling it head-on in hopes I’d come up with some organizational approach that works best for me. I went the alphabetical route because that seemed easiest. I pulled all my read books off and started filling boxes… not exactly what I had in mind but I’d get separation anxiety if I got rid of massive piles of books all at once. Baby steps. 

Plus, I did start my giveaway pile. There are only a few reasons why a book should actually be kept and this is discussed perfectly in a post over at the BookRiot: “Why Keep Books?” 

I have a ton that I plan to read “eventually”. Those types actually encompass the majority of my collection. I don’t reread a lot but I’ve been really trying to make time for my old favorites because it interests me to see how my tastes have changed and to see if I still love those old favorites. I’ve done 3 re-reads this year and am pleased to say I enjoyed them again… maybe not as much as the first time but was still nice to revisit.

The End Result

Okay, so not a VAST improvement but, again, baby steps. Everything is in alphabetical order thus making it much more likely that I’ll actually be able to find a book I’m looking for (and actually read it). I know where to find my books now when I need them. I ended up alphabetizing my ARCs right along with all of my books but I have a feeling I’ll be taking them out and finding a special spot for them since they should have priority.

Working With My ARC/Library Habit

2013 was the year that I really started to kick my ARC habit. I requested SO many my first year of blogging and SO many of those went unread and I look back and cringe. I’ve become a much more responsible blogger and have learned how to calendar and read stuff in order of publication even though being responsible sucks most of the time (especially when you get a book and you want to dive into it immediately but have books coming up due soon? That. That sucks.) Then there’s the books you don’t receive as ARCs but are still dying to read, and as a result my library addiction is born.

I have so many wonderful books I’ve acquired over the years that I remember being ecstatic about getting but… they remain unread. My goal is to get through the last few ARCs I have and then make this my focus. 

Do you have an established method for how you read? Do you read nothing but ARCs because you have so many? Do you read an owned book every other book? Or are you how I wish I could be and read whatever you want, whenever you please?

So, the whole reason for this post is to put it out there and maybe it’ll give me the motivation to actually do it. I can talk about it to myself as much as I want but sometimes putting it into words and giving yourself a plan works wonders. Feel free to include any suggestions or what works best for you, I’m all ears! 



9 responses to “Mission: Clean My Shelves

  1. miss_bonnie13

    The ones in front (and on top) are usually my smaller, paperback books). And usually they are the ones I'm most likely to read next.

    That's great about your new place! Someday I'll have a room I can dedicate to my books. 🙂 Just as soon as some kids move out. lol

  2. miss_bonnie13

    hahahah YES. I approve of this type of hoarding. Ebooks for the win.
    2014 is my year too. I've decided I'm going to spend the remaining months knocking out the books I've obtained over the course of the last year in order to (hopefully… there are quite a lot) start fresh in 2014. *fingers crossed for both of us!*

  3. Haha dude I totally have to do this! My shelves look like those top pictures except I have a few more shelves so it looks even messier. I can't ever find anything. When I decide what I read next I can stand in front of those book for 10-15 mins before I find the book I'm looking for haha. Book blogger problems! >.<

  4. I have to know about the books that are stacked sideways in front of the shelved books. That's what I do with the print books I'm currently reading, but you have many like that.

    My books – oy. I have books stored everywhere. It's so ridiculous. We are going to be moving into a new house soon, and I will be reunited with all of my books. I get happy butterflies just thinking about it. Right now I'm donating books like crazy. I just don't have room so out they go. I pretty much organize by favorite authors/books. I'm like you, I get that great environmental feeling around my books so I strategically place my favorites at eye level and so forth.
    My recent post Tamarack County by William Kent Krueger | Book Review

  5. Heidi

    I am with you on needing to kick the ARC habit so I am making 2014 my year. I have so many books that need to be read. I feel your pain with the bookshelf but I learned a long time ago to give my books away expect for the really special ones. Books aren't doing any good sitting on a shelf collecting dust so I would rather pass them along so they can be read and enjoyed. I have one small bookshelf and it just contains my classic favs. All the books from my blog and everything else gets given away or donated to the library it makes me much happier. Plus, these days I am sticking mainly with ebooks that way I can hoard books and no one can see the mess.
    My recent post Friday Forecast: August 25th-31st

  6. Hey, I think we can all relate to a lot of these problems/bad habits that you mention here! But it sounds like you're taking some major and serious steps to working it all out (your shelves look great now!). I am also the WORST at collecting books that I want to read and then never actually getting around to reading them because other books get on my radar and I forget about the earlier books. Something to work on, definitely!
    My recent post Waiting On Wednesday: Hachette Fall 2013 Catalog

  7. I mix my read and unread books together. Once I've read it, a book generally leaves my house, going to another blogger or a used bookstore. Even still, I sometimes decide I'll want to reread something and then as my shelves get full, I look again later and I'm like "you know what, no." IT IS SO HARD TO PART WITH THEM.
    My recent post Review: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness &amp; Perfection

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