Here’s a newsflash that will surprise exactly no one: I have a book hoarding problem. A rather big one, if I do say so. Actually, my book hoarding problem is in direct conflict with my “crap I don’t have enough space” issue. They exacerbate each other, sadly. Now, maybe you live in a mansion, or can control yourself when it comes to owning all the books, I don’t know your life. But if you are anything like me… you do neither of those things.

I seem to have two problems: Letting go of books I have read, and giving up on books I will never read. In fact, I think the latter is much, much worse for me. Those books seem rife with possibility! Even if I have close to no interest in them, but shhhh. Still, because I am a helpful sort, and maybe you can’t part with books you already read either, I made two parts to help you to rehome your poor, neglected books.

And if you happen to celebrate a gift-giving holiday this winter, or have a birthday coming up, or any such event where a loved one enables your book hoarding shenanigans, you’ll feel me when I say “Help, I need more ROOM!” So… let’s try to decide which books can find new, happy owners.

Books You Have Read

I don’t know why I have shelves of books I have read. Unless it is a favorite, why do I keep it? In truth, I have a much easier time purging these. Unless they’re pretty. Or I think “maybe someone I know wants to read that one day” (which makes no sense because, hello library), or “Wow, this book would look great in some #bokokstagram picture” (legitimately the reason I still hang onto Falling Into Place, no lie).  I feel like I have gotten better with this recently, so I decided to try a chart! Everyone loves a chart!


I have rehomed a lot of books this way. Like the 34 you can still win because someone decided they needed to give away a book for every year they’ve been alive. Also, because that person needed room.

Books You Have NOT Read

Oh, these are tricky little beasts. On one hand, you bought (or won, or got for review, or were gifted, or whatever) this lovely book. And you hate to see it go unread. But here’s what I have found: The longer it sits around unread… the more likely it is to continue to sit around unread. I commented on Terri @ Second Run Reviews’ post about her Shelf Love challenge, and I realized- most of the books I bought this year (not all, but most), I have read. And all my review books I read. I feel like the longer most  books sit on my shelf, the more unappealing they look.

Perhaps it’s because I pre-ordered it in 2014 and then read the worst reviews from every single blogger I know (looking at you, Atlantia). Maybe it is just such a long series that my mind is unwilling to resume it (Gone series, that’s you). Or maybe you got it at BEA because the dog sitting next to it was really cute, and even though you aren’t actually going to read it, you loved the damn dog, okay? (That book was called… Free Days With George, and I will never get rid of it because George is on the cover and I love him.)

So, I tried to take some of my own advice here but… do as I say, not as I do 😉 


So, those are my tips. Of course, we haven’t even begun to cover things such as….

  • Multiple editions. Say, if some weirdo had 13 complete sets of The Hunger Games, in languages they don’t even know…
  • ARCs versus finished copies. Because you have to keep that ARC cover because it is different than the finished copy. Even if it is just one. tiny. detail.
  • The #Bookstagram Effect. This is real, and should be treated as such- how can we get rid of covers when we never know if we will need them.

But perhaps we will save that for another time 😀 

So friends, do share! Do you have a book collection problem? Have you taken any steps to overcome it?

(I mean, I kind of try but… I have also resigned myself to it a little. As you do.)

Posted December 6, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 65 Comments

65 responses to “Book Hoarder Survival Guide

  1. I HAVE A HOARDING PROBLEM BUT I’M NOT EVEN DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.😂 I mean, like maybe I would if it wasn’t so darn expensive to give books away (because postage argh) but like books are pretty and I want to decorate my life with them and if zombies come I can build a book wall and protect myself? #winning
    I love your flow-charts though!! They are AMAZING.

    • BWHAHAH good for you! I mean, I WANT to continue in happy hoarding but… SPACE, you know? I feel like I can use them to build a fort when I go bankrupt from buying ALL the books? Yes. Zombie protections are also a good call. And yes, postage in the US is not bad, but anywhere else? It is MUCH more than the book even cost to begin with! No thank you please.

      And THANK YOU! I have never tried to make them before… which is why I kiiiind of used the same basic idea for both. #lazyblogger. 😉

  2. OHHH this is suuuuuch a fun post! 😀 I do have problems with unread books I bought years ago. You are SO RIGHT, it’s less likely for me to read older books because I don’t know… if it didn’t interest me then, I don’t see how it would interest me now especially when now there are soooo many better and newer books to read :’) as for books I’ve read but didn’t love… well I admit I might have a little hoarding problem? I always have trouble letting go of books hahaha especially when the books are gifts from other people! Even if I hate it I would never give it away. I had this friend who run an online used bookstore and she asked me if I wanted to sell some of my old books. I did prepare the books I wanted to sell and we’ve even talked about the price but theeeennn I backed down at the last second because I just couldn’t do it >_< hahaha great post!

    • Aw thanks! And seriously, I think that is what it is- you feel like “well, if I didn’t want to read it last year, I probably don’t care enough now, either”. But it’s sad because I wanted to, at some point, right? It’s like the new ones are just so SHINY hahhaha. And I can’t give away books with ANY emotional connection either! I feel too guilty hahah. Glad I am not alone 😉

  3. Sooo… I read your post to George and he was VERY flattered that you have kept your copy of Free Days With George from BEA (we had a great time in Chicago – he remembers you, he loved meeting everyone!) and that you will never throw it away – great decision!! It IS a beautiful cover…! However, when I told him that you haven’t read his story, and that it sounded like you weren’t intending to, poor George stopped wagging his tail and he dropped his head and looked up at me with his big brown eyes that could only have been saying, “why not”…?? If you love George, there is a pretty good chance you will love his book… then you can keep it for the even deeper personal connection you will no doubt feel… we need to get him wagging his tail again..!!

  4. I’m a weirdo who actually likes purging books. If a book gets less than 4 stars from me on Goodreads, it goes to a new home. Usually the new home is the used bookstore, so then I can get more books. This is a vicious cycle. It somehow works, though.

  5. This post is life! haha loved it! I loathe to get rid of any books just about ever. There are some books I won from Goodreads giveaways that I’m tempted to get rid of but they’re signed! YOU DIDN’T HAVE A CHART FOR THIS *chaos* Now what do I do, Shannon?!! I do get rid of books I just didn’t like, however. I’m good at that one. But yes, overall book hoarding is a problem but OH WELL. I love staring at my bookshelf and honestly? I just end up buying more bookshelves and getting rid of lesser furniture instead. #Priorities.

    • BWHAHAHHA I know, I need to make the next part of the post- there will be a next part, I promise! Because I got to the end and thought about those things! I have the same problem 😂

      And OMG- I actually REMOVED A DRESSER so I could move in another bookshelf! Seriously, we have issues hahahaha. And thanks ♥

  6. Ha love this!! I am nowhere near the level of a lot of people but don’t have a done of shelf space. I actually just went through and have like 30 books and want to do giveaways. Your charts are pretty accurate though 🙂 My issue isn’t the books I have read it is the ones I haven’t and know I probably won’t. I have a hard time parting with them. I am not helping my problem because Book Outlet sales have just added to my issues this week. Yikes!

  7. The #BookstagramEffect had me keeping so many books! But when I started changing my theme and realized I wasn’t going to use those books, I started to take them off from my shelves. I currently have them in a mini shelf and have sold a few so that’s good. I used to be one of those who HAD to keep all of the books. But thankfully, I’m not like that anymore. Now I just keep books I loved, will re-read, plan on reading someday. If it’s books that I know I won’t read ever or won’t re-read, then I kick them to the mini shelf, which is to be sold.
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  8. I try to have a deshelving every three months actually, where I giveaway ARC editions and unread review copies that I’ve read or have no intention of reading, usually to bloggers / readers who can cherish them. Since I started on Instagram, I’m tending to hold onto books that little bit longer now so I can take those 2.45 billion photos just in case. But ‘because books’ works too D

    • Well THAT is a fabulous idea! A deshelving, I LOVE IT! And I have started giving some ARCs and such away too, it is like, the only way that my books won’t collapse on and kill me 😉 And I do blame bookstagram for the surge in hoarding. And I am not even good at iT!

  9. Well, these charts will definitely come in handy 🙂 I just got an extra bookshelf in the beginning of the year because my bookshelves were full and now… they are full again! So I definitely have to learn to let go of books more easily 🙂
    Also, yes to the “because BOOKS” reason! 😉

  10. Girl, these flowcharts are all the awesome. I really should rehome a ton of my books that I really just won’t be reading anytime soon or ever. Hoarding is dangerous.

  11. Charts! 🙂 And yes- books that sit for a long period of time do magically sit longer- it’s like a spell. It’s like the urgency fades over time. HAD TO HAVE IT- now I have it, and eh. I’ll get to it whatever. Or maybe I won’t get to it- who gives a crap lol? But… I think I love that category “Would you secretly dread it”? No doubt that’s the worst- feeling like you HAVE to read something which for me will kill the enthusiasm right there. I have books in that category and I just need to rehome them, I guess. Quit messing around.

    But I get Bookstagram too. Even though I haven’t even bookstagrammed yet, I know I’m going to at SOME point and then what if a book I gave away would make an awesome ‘gram? So I must needs hoard to alleviate that possibility. See? Rationalization complete lol. I definitely have a easier time giving away books I’ve read though but don’t love, than parting w/ those to-be-read. What about those awesome shelves you see some bloggers have? How will I ever have bitchin shelves like that if I don’t hoard (and buy 1,060 Funkos??) So yeah it’s a problem. 🙂

    • YES! Yes that is exactly it- the urgency, the… shiny newness, perhaps, it goes away, and then… meh. There are newer, shinier books that EVERYONE and their mom is raving about so… those come first. And I do have books in the “secretly dread” category- even on my “must read soon” shelf so that is completely ridiculous.

      Um, yes, we NEED to talk about those (apparently super wealthy) bloggers with the AMAZING shelves. How?! Like… how? The shitty ones I buy on Amazon are still like, $75. You can’t even get a big one from IKEA for under $150 so… HOW, people!? I feel like their bookshelves are definitely worth more than my car (that isn’t even a stretch, let’s be real). I’d have to donate a kidney or something on the black market to get shelves like those. And then it’d just be amazing shelves in a shitty house so… probably should just keep my shitty shelves 😂 And that is the other thing- You HAVE to hoard ALL the books and Funkos to PUT on the hypothetical glorious shelves… because what use are they if they are BARE? None at all! It’s a conundrum! Basically, the real solution is that we just have to get rich, and in a hurry.

  12. I have a problem with adding more and more books, but I HAVE gotten better at giving things away. Some have been on my shelves for a long time and I don’t care to read them, or I sort of do but know it probably won’t happen. Those are easy to get rid of…but I ALSO have tons of books on my shelves that have been there forever but I really DO want to read them. So they stay. For now. haha

  13. *LMAO* I Love these posts of yours… and now, with added charts! LOL! My problem is I like ebooks and I collect them, which means on my ipad, it will take a long time to fill up 🙂 I do have book shelves, and bags of books and have reached a hard line in terms of storage. So cue ebooks. And also cheaper, so I actually have more books than I would if I bought hard copies heh

    • Aw thanks!! I used to be terrible with one-click buying ebooks, but then I started having this weird preoccupation with physical books so.. now I hoard those hahha. The worst part? I own ebooks from before, forget I have them, then buy the physical copy. OR in some cases DON’T forget and STILL buy the physical copy. I did it today, actually- TWICE. (Cress and Challenger Deep. I have even already read the latter!) Seriously, we need a group or something 😉

  14. I love your chart! I periodically clean out my shelves which are so overrun and double stacked, it looks awful (or beautiful), and I get rid of the books I didn’t care for or the ones given as gifts that I’m not interested in. But this ends up being a small pile and so my shelves keep overflowing. I’m considering finishing off the basement and making a library.

    • Aw thanks! Yes, some of mine are double stacked as well. And I cleared out about 40 recently but… I have acquired at least 20 more, and so… yeah, it isn’t great hahah. A library basement would be AMAZING. If I had the money, I would do that in a heartbeat, I LOVE that idea!

  15. I know I am also part of book hoarder’s anonymous. But the thing is I don’t WANT to get rid of any books! I even keep some books I absolutely detested, like Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, as long as I find them really pretty of popular or I miiiight want to give it a second chance in the future. Ugh, why does getting rid of books or having too many even have to be a thing?

    • We really need a support group, right?! And OMG YES- Okay so I wasn’t a huge fan of Red Rising- tried it three times, finished it on the last go. And do I have the sequel? YEP. Am I ever going to read it? Mmmm probably not. Will I ever give it up? NOPE. We just need all the money and all the space, basically 😉

  16. I am definitely a book hoarder, although I get most of my new books in e-format lately, so it’s still manageable for now. Although I am slowly running out of shelf space. I just can’t bear to actually do any of my books away. I wouldn’t know to whom or where to donate them. And for the books I’ve read I might want to read it eventually again, so I don’t want to do them away. And then there are the favorites ofcourse that I just like having on my shelf for that reason. And the ones I haven’t read I keep because I might read them one day, you never know, right? Even though there are some books i am pretty sure I will never read. Like you it often seems the longer a book is on my shelf the less likelier I am to read them, although there are some exceptions. Greta post and I like you graphics you made!

    • Aw thank you so much! And seriously, it seems like even when you KNOW that maybe it’s silly to have them.. you can’t seem to let them go! And I do the same, having favorites around just for the sake of having them. I have NO idea why, but it seems like a bookish thing to do hahhaha.

  17. Oh, I used to say that I had no problem with this. Like, once upon a time, I didn’t hoard books. I read them and then I let them go—off into the wild. And I only bought books I planned to read right away. Then blogging happened and my husband bought me three giant bookcases which are all OVERFLOWING with books and … I just … can’t.

    I especially have trouble with the books I haven’t read yet because, like you say, it’s like giving up on that poor book that you really actually MEANT to read and just … didn’t. I’m no quitter. (That’s the excuse I use.)

    BUT I am going to an event this weekend where they are accepting books for donation for a women’s shelter (adult, YA and kids’ books) and it’s PERFECT because it gives me a happy shiny feeling to know that the books are going somewhere good. So that has helped me be much more willing to give books up. That and the fact that there are some more books I want and I can’t fit them on my shelves.

    • DUDE! Dude. I did that too. I was FINE with just schlepping them off to wherever- my mom, a friend, a yard sale, the library. Well- not when I was a kid, I hoarded books then too, but as a younger adult, yes. Now… I think it is a peril of blogging. Which may need to be a post in itself actually hhaha.

      And YES- that is how I feel like “but the author wrote the book and people liked the book, I should TRY the book” when we all know damn well I am not going to hahah.

      OOOOH that event sounds PERFECT. I would totally donate to people who you know are really wanting to read them. I do wish I had somewhere like that. Because shipping is so expensive, and my library… well no one uses it as it is, sadly. They only resell the books anyway at this point. So sad. Maybe a classroom or something? Or a local shelter, if we have such a thing! Great idea!

    • GAH I feel you. I am closing in on 800 myself and it is BAD. I mean, I am giving away about 40 (34 in the giveaway, and then rehoming a few to friends who wanted them) but then I somehow found like 20 more since then so… oops? So yes, I have had the same problem! Never ends, I tell you!

  18. I think I need to print these charts out and tape them next to my bookshelves to refer to every time I have a new book to shelve. I have such a book buying problem and I really really struggle with parting ways with a book. It just feels so wrong which is ridiculous when I know I won’t read half of them again. I mean, some I will, but a lot I won’t. I’ve somehow convinced myself that I’ll have an urge to read a book the moment I get rid of it. As for those I’ve never successfully finished, I keep thinking it’s me and my mood reading and one day the book will just click with me. This may be true for a select few I do think most can be given away and I will not give it a second thought.

    • BWHAHAH I love that! I agree- I feel wrong too, even though I KNOW it isn’t wrong! And SAME- I HAVE actually rebought books, which is absurd, because clearly I didn’t read it the FIRST time! And I have done the same with the ones I haven’t finished, too. And you’re probably right- you’re not likely to even care if you DID give them away, but the thought is bad enough!

  19. It used to be very difficult for me too. But because of e-books, I am used to favoring pretty covers or favorite reads as physical copies, that when comes time to gut the shelves, the purge is pretty quick and painless. I also love dropping by at my used-bookstore and always pick up something in return !

  20. Ah, I’m glad I could provide some inspiration! And yes, I do think the longer a book sits on your shelf it becomes less of a good read. Just keep an eye on my reviews the next few weeks.

  21. I suffer from a similar version of this, only with e-books. I have so many ebooks that need to be read like omg. I don’t think I’ll actually ever be able to catch up though … I’m glad I don’t have the same problem with physical books though because that would drive my mother insane. Plus, I’m going to be leaving the country some day, so where would I even keep all these books? Because shipping them would be ridiculously expensive. >.<

  22. I have a book problem too. But last year my mother was in one of her cleaning moods and she was threatening to give away/throw away my books. I decided to read the books instead. But lately, I had to put that on hold because of the Overdrive ebooks I wanted to read came available.

  23. Oh man that’s some beautiful charts! I definitely struggle with the books I probably will never get around to reading but can’t seem to give them away either. Will have to give that one a go!

  24. Oh LOL Shannon! I definitely have a book hoarding problem, and it’s very real! I am planning on getting bigger shelves at IKEA for Christmas! I used to be so good before I went to RT the first time, I had almost only kindle books… then I came home with a suitcase filled with goodness. And then I started instagramming… And then I went to BEA… And yeah, it’s like books multiply over night, you know? They possibly share DNA with rabbits, that would make sense, right?
    I have gotten rid of some books lately, though, as we have the ‘my little library’ at various places in my town, and I’ve filled it up with books… Those I know I won’t read again, not any of the others.

    • Oooooh SHELVES! I am jealous! I have no more room for them even if I COULD get more, so that is sad hahha. OH and yes, suitcases filled with books are kind of the worst/best ever. Because… ugh. YAY to all the books but then… where on earth does one put them!? And you are SO right- when you start to have SOME physical copies, you suddenly want ALL the physical copies. Someone should study this phenomenon 😂 I have thought about the “my little library” thing. Actually, I wanted to see if I could start one just to dump my books in, it seems legit 😉

  25. I’ve gotten better over the past few years with buying less books (especially the binge shopping I use to do, buying anywhere from 5 to 20 books at a time!) AND I’ve been really good at purging books, though I still find it really hard, especially since I paid money for those books on my shelves! I’m going to try really hard to buy even less books in 2017 and work my way through my bought books … I would looooooove for my shelves to house mostly read books and maybe a handful of unread books. I can dream, right?

  26. I come from a family of “I loved this book, now you have it”, so I tend to gift away or donate to the library, all books, right after reading them. I have one bookcase, and my goal is to get down to two shelves of TBR pile books. But yeah, if I bought it a decade ago and it’s still sitting there….probably going to have to force myself to read it as part of a blogger TBR challenge. :/

  27. I LOVE this post! I love the ‘is the reason because BOOKS’ on the chart! LOL I have the same exact problem with books I haven’t read. It’s so hard to get rid of them! After my oldest son was born 3 years ago, I purged tons and tons of books. So, so many books. I also didn’t buy any physical copies for a really long time. Toys take up more room than books. 😉 But now I’ve been blogging more again and I want to buy all the books. I need to do a purge again soon and I really need to employ the only keeping books I LOVE tactic…but I started Bookstagramming a few months ago and that does make things difficult. Sigh…

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