11 Ways to Tackle Your TBR List

Do you buy books like you breathe air?

Are your unread books slowly taking over your home?

Is your TBR stack taller than you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a book hoarder with an out of control TBR stack.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering how the heck to get through your TBR list.

Don’t worry, I got you.

1.) Schedule reading time. Seriously, block off time in your planner and stick to that scheduled time like it’s a doctor’s appointment you’ve waited six months for. I do this and it works. I set my devices to Do Not Disturb almost every night and settle in with a book. Sometimes I read for an hour, sometimes I read for five or six. Most nights it’s two or three. I have a friend who gets up an hour early so she can have undisturbed reading time every day. Whatever works, right? RIGHT.

2.) Reevaluate your TBR and weed out the books you know you’ll never read. I do this once or twice a year and it truly helps. I make three stacks of books: the ones I am excited for and still can’t wait to read, the ones I think will be good, and the ones I know I probably won’t read. That third stack gets evicted from my home. What do I do with those books? I give them to friends or family who I think will enjoy them, I take them to the library to see if they can use them in an upcoming sale, or I donate them somewhere else. You could also sell them or trade them in at a bookstore that accepts secondhand books.

3.) Prioritize your list. My list encompasses all of my books whether they be paper books, ebooks, or audiobooks and I keep it on a spreadsheet in my Google Drive. I simply re-number the books in the order I want to read them and then sort by that column.

4.) Read – or listen to – multiple books at the same time. I am usually reading, or listening to, at least two books at any time. I always have an audiobook going when I’m in the car, cleaning the house, walking the dog, or when I’m crafting (I’m a knitter and a quilter). Then I have an ebook or paper book that I read when I go on DND most nights.

5.) Pick a theme and read all the books on your list that relate to that theme. This is fun when you’re having a hard time deciding what to read next. For example, if I chose ‘Books with Magic’ as a theme, I could read and then remove at least 50 books from my list, and that’s just off the top of my head. If I chose ‘Women Writers’ as my theme, I could cut my list by half, at least.

6.) This one might hurt a little. Consider yourself warned… 😳 Go on a No New Books Fast. I know, I know. Your favorite authors all have books coming out soon. How can you be expected to wait for those? Or your favorite book seller just sent you a coupon. Surely, you should take advantage of that before you go on your fast?! NOPE. Give your credit cards a rest for 30/60/90 days. Seriously. Just do it. I try to do this for 30 days at least once year. Why do I call it a ‘No New Books Fast’ instead of a ‘Book Buying Fast’? Because I’m hardcore. My fasts include no library books, Kindle Unlimited, or any other free books. EEK! But you can do it. I promise. Seriously, muscle up and just do it.

7.) If you’re reading a book and it’s not lighting you up or keeping you enthralled… don’t finish it. I know, I know, for some of us this may be crazy talk. I used to finish every book I read even if it was boring me to tears. Then during Covid, I decided life was too short to read bad books and I stopped reading one that actually put me to sleep every night I tried to read it. So I closed it, added it to my ‘to be gifted or donated’ pile, and moved on to the next book on my list. I felt like a rebel. It was fabulous.

8.) Set a reading goal for the year and commit to making X number of those books from your TBR list. If these seems daunting, see number 9 below.👇🏻

9.) Treat yo’self… Seriously, set up a rewards system. Buy yourself a treat or do something nice for yourself for every ten books you knock off that TBR list. If ten doesn’t work for you, pick a number that does… just maybe don’t let your treat be a new book! LOL… but seriously…

10.) Stay off Goodreads, don’t follow #Bookstagram or #BookTok until you read X number of books on your list. Y’all, I know this is a hard one, but I’m here to tell you, it works. Give it a shot.

11.) Find a reading buddy. You can do this one in several different ways. (a) Do Buddy Reads where you read the same book(s) at the same time. (b) If you like a bit of competition in your life, see who can read X books in whatever timeframe the fastest, then the loser has to buy the winner a coffee, or lunch, or even a new book… or just do it for bragging rights! (c) Just keep it chill and simply help keep one another motivated to read.

12.) BONUS tip… If all else fails and you simply cannot get motivated to read anything on your TBR, go ahead and get a new book. Hey, I’m a realist. While the goal is to whittle down your TBR list, if you’re not feeling any of those books after you’ve tried at least a few of the tips listed above, then get yourself a new book. Reading a new book is better than reading no books. Right? Right.

Do you have tips and tricks for getting through your TBR List? If so, drop them in the comments or join the conversation on Instagram.

See you next time!

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