How to tackle your ever-growing TBR

Every booklover knows the struggle of a never-ending TBR pile. I can´t remember the time before I had not at least ten books on my to-be-read-next-shelf. My TBR is dangerously out of control. I tried book-buying-bans only to buy even more new books at the end of that ban. I tried taking more advantage of my eReader so that I wouldn´t feel the urge to get my hands on more physical copies. I told my friends before entering a bookstore „Don´t let me buy a single book! You must promise not to let me leave this shop with even one book!“.

This may sound very dramatic but struggling against your true passion is one of the hardest situations I ever encountered. However, at some point I managed to reduce my TBR – only to find the love of my life who supports me with all his heart but thinks it´s highly amusing to present his girlfriend with an enormous amount of new books only to watch her struggle with her inner Yin and Yang or whatever you might call it. Ladies and gentlemen, on the one side we see an overwhelmed and blessed creature who believes itself to be in heaven because of the current event of receiving special treats: books. More books! Heaven´s yes, that´s just simply amazing! On the other side we see a dark and depressed, wet-eyed sulking heap of mass crying „Why did you do that?! Why did you have to get me more BOOKS?! My poor heart! My TBR is already our of control!“.

Well… yes, the struggle is real. I decided to create a list of things that worked out well for me in concern of decreasing my TBR (speaking of the time before my better-half entered my life and tripled the amount of my unread books). However, it might help you overcome your book-struggles – or at least for a while.


1. Book buying ban

Ever heard of a book-buying ban? You set yourself a challenge of not buying any books for a certain period. Do you like challenges? Great, this one is for you! But be warned, you might overdo buying „a few more books“ after this session is over. So you might set yourself an after challenge like buying a new book only every two weeks.


2. Read five, buy one

You want to decrease your TBR but can´t resist getting new books? Try to balance your current reads: Read five books of the unread books you already own, reward yourself afterwards with buying one new one. This challenge might motivate you to tick of your TBR quicker by keeping focused on the next book you plan on getting your hands on. In addition, you clearly know which book you intend to buy, so you won´t end up with the common problem of getting a bunch of new books and forgetting half of them right after finishing the first few.


3. Keep track of your expanses

Journaling is a funny way to keep track of your money. Set yourself a monthly maximum of money to spend on books. If you see your expanses black on white you might won´t throw your money out that carelessly again. You even might want to challenge yourself by decreasing your bookish expanses from month to month.


4. Buddy Reading

If your friends enjoy reading too, try to get them to read some books of your TBR shelf with you. It´s exciting to talk about current reads with people who are as passionate about books as you are. It will boost your motivation. This method might help to tick off even the more boring books of your list.


5. Rainbow TBR

Do you tend to pick up more books of a certain colour? Try arranging your books by colour and tackle them down colour by colour. No kidding, this trick will help you visualize your TBR and keep motivating you to take your unread books list down.


6. Journal your reading habits

Try to write down the date on which you finish reading your book. Rate the book! Create statistics and diagrams to visualize your reading progress. Keep your journal colourful. It will help you to get an overview over all the books you read this month and also keep you motivated by doing this.


7. Focus on your eReader

If you simply can´t live without getting your hands on new books, pick up an eReader and read your books in digital format. This will prevent you of getting more books that will sit unattended and dusty on your shelves for ages.


8. Choose thinner books

If you feel the urge to see more results in a shorter time, pick up your smaller books. You may read four thinner books in the time you´d finish a George R. R. Martin. Motivate yourself by focusing on the progress you make, step by step.


9. TBR Jar

Are you one of those persons who can’t make up their mind what they should read next? Create your own fancy TBR Jar! Write down the titles of the books you need to read, place them in a beautiful glass, jar or box and pick one out without looking. Surprise yourself from time to time.


I hope some of these tips will inspire you to tackle your TBR. Did any of these ideas work out for you personally? Let me now, I´d love to hear your opinions!


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