Bookish talk · Discussion · Personal thoughts

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR

A few weeks ago, I decided to pull myself out of a deep denial regarding my TBR (To Be Read). Once I did that, I started wondering, “How specifically (besides reading what I own, obviously) can I effectively reduce my TBR pile?” 

I read tons of posts from fellow book bloggers with suggestions for how to reduce your TBR. I found a lot of helpful tips (which I’ll talk about below), and some that were ridiculous and the stuff of crazy people.

After getting the loony ideas off my chest, I’m back with actual ways I’ll get through those shelves of unread books.

(When I talk about “my TBR” in this post, I am talking specifically about the books I currently own. Not my gargantuan, acromantula-sized TBR list that is currently living on Goodreads. I’m blocking that out of my mind right now.)


So now live for your reading pleasure…

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR:


1. Limit my book purchasing. Every time I go to a store that sells books and I’m breathing in the smell of fresh ink and uncracked book spines, I can’t help myself.

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

I turn into a book-buying zombie. But instead of moaning “Brains… brains…” I think, “I need this bookRIGHT NOW. Book… book…” And then I go home, cram it in next to all my other unread books, and don’t get to it for weeks/months/even years.

Like I’m mentioned in my “5 Ways I WON’T be reducing my TBR” post, a lot of bloggers suggested simply not buying any more books. To which I very sarcastically say:

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

In order to be realistic with myself, I’ve decided that I will allow myself to buy 1-3 books a month.

If I buy no books in a month, I will be very proud of myself. But what if I go on vacation and want to buy books from a neat little bookstore I run across while doing touristy shopping? This way, if I buy 3 books, I won’t be annoyed with myself.

(One caveat, however: This will not include the books I get through book subscription boxes. I am currently trying out different boxes and I don’t want to be tethered to just those ones.)


2. Plan out each month’s upcoming books. I have plenty of books on my shelves that I’m not super excited to get to. Some of these books have a way of surprising me and end up being my favorites, but it’s hard to make myself start them.

So… I’ve decided that in my monthly Wrap Up posts, I will choose the books I’ll read in the coming month. (Here’s what I did at the end of June as an example.) This will help me jump into the books I’m excited about, but also the ones I’ve let gather dust for too long.


3. Close my blog for review requests. I’m serious. I was being delusional when I started this blog. The idea of getting free books was one of the most exciting parts for me. But I quickly learned that I couldn’t handle the books I already own, review requests, and ARCs from Netgalley.

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

So… I closed my blog for review requests. It pained me, trust me. I’m planning on getting through at least half of my TBR before I open it back up again.


4. Also, limiting my ARC requests. A couple weeks ago, I woke up to a review request from an author and THREE approved ARCs. In the same day. I couldn’t say No to the author because I have no self control, so four books were added to my shelf in the space of a couple hours.

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

That’s nothing to some of you. I know that. But when I’m already freaking out about how many books I already can’t get to… Sigh. So I will only be requesting one ARC at a time. That’s going to take some self control.


5. Limit library borrowing to 3 books a trip. 

You guys, the last time I went to the library, I came home with nine books. NINE. Because when books are free, there’s basically nothing holding me back from loading my arms up and taking them all home. Basically…

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

So yeah. Three books with each library trip. Which is still cutting into the books I already own, but oh well. I’m not perfect.


6. Let reading take priority.

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

I don’t mean that I will avoid feeding my toddler or doing the dishes, but I will avoid other spare-time activities. Meaning: I will continue to put off binge-watching “Big Little Lies” (and basically every other show in existence) and instead, let reading take priority.


7. Leave my phone in the other room. Sometimes when I’m reading, the thought will pop into my head, “Ooo, I bet someone has said something really important to me on Facebook. I better check it real quick.” (This has never once been true, btw.)

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

If my phone is out of reach, I get a whole lot more reading done and a lot less mindless Facebook surfing.


So there is my (very realistic/lazy) plan for reducing my TBR. I’ll let you know how it goes.


A suggestion that didn’t make the cut:

I thought about not adding any more books to my TBR list on Goodreads…

5 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

Exactly, Emma. Exactly.


How have you effectively reduced your TBR?


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This post is also posted to the 2017 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight!



12 thoughts on “7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR

  1. Thank you for these tips! Especially the one about the books you avoid reading – I have that problem so very much. And you’re write, the books you’re avoiding tend to end up your favourites! That’s such a good idea, pledging the books you’ll read in your monthly wrap ups. Might be stealing that one!
    Abby –


  2. I definitely need to get my TBR list under control too: my shelves and Kindle are already full of books I haven’t read, but every time I get paid I just buy a whole load more! I’ll definitely be trying out some of these tips anyway, especially the book buying limit (although I’m not sure how successful I’ll be!).
    Great post! Best of luck getting through that TBR list! 🙂


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