Do You Keep ALL Your Books? | downsizing my book collection

An author I love shared a post on Twitter/Instagram lately, showing off her bookshelf in her new house. Yes, book SHELF, singular. And I saw that, and looked at my four (!!!!!) bookshelves, and kinda screamed.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten rid of about 50 books in total, but I still have a heck of a lot. I reckon about 2/3 of them are unread, which is an unbelievable amount – maybe nearing on 200 books in all.

my uni bookshelf 

Considering that, so far this year, I’ve read 78 books, it would take me two to three YEARS to actually read all of the books on my TBR shelves! That, I think, is insane, scary, and I really don’t want those kinds of numbers in my bookish life anymore.

I know that there are some readers out there who keep all of their books, but seeing this author have “only” one shelf of literature, and then my shelves kind of overflowing with paperbacks, it made me lean far more to the one-shelf kinda book lover than in the opposite direction.

If I don’t like a book, I will get rid of it (and sometimes pretty soonish). Personally, I don’t understand why readers keep even books that they don’t like on their shelves (if you do this, I would love to know why), because I don’t want to be constantly seeing something that makes me want to punch a wall!

But I will only definitely get rid of books if I don’t like them. Now, to really make my book collection (because that’s what it is!) far smaller, I really need to also get rid of books I read once, and perhaps even gave 4 or 5/5, but will not read again, and I know that there are maybe around 50 books on all of my shelves that I would actually choose to read over and over again. Those, the ones that I love to read again or the ones that I can’t bear to part with, are the only ones that I think I should be keeping.

I’m really interested in minimalism (I can actually hear my mum laughing at me writing that), and although I am nowhere near a minimalist and probably never will be, I like the ideas behind the movement – ie, keeping only what you love. Despite the fact I’m a huge reader, and love being surrounded by books, I know that I could get rid of probably hundreds and instead of regret, I’d feel relief that my TBR isn’t physically looming over me anymore.

Sure, I might regret the amount of money I spent on books that weren’t read by me – but they’ll be read (and hopefully loved) by someone else… so isn’t that worth reducing my collection?

I would honestly love to hear if you keep all of the books you read, if your TBR is as scary as mine, and what you think about only keeping the books that “earn” their place on the shelves by being ones that you truly love. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on anything in this blog post!

Until the next time,


A couple of resources on this topic that I found really interesting:


7 thoughts on “Do You Keep ALL Your Books? | downsizing my book collection

  1. I only have one bookshelf but that’s because that is the only room I have. It’s jam-packed with books though! I keep some of my favorite reads and unread books on my shelf. Other books that I loved and want to keep, I either put in my closet or in a plastic bin for when I get another bookshelf. I only part with books that I don’t like or decide I’m never going to read.

    1. My problem was that I had room for another bookshelf – so got one, haha! I definitely would rather my shelf be one that I love to look at and reminisce with, rather than one that I dread looking at because all of the unread books are just glaring at me!

  2. This tweet made me look at my (eight and overflowing) bookcases too. I will *never* be a one shelf person but it made me think. As an aspiring author, I have gone through different stages. For the past couple of years, reading anything and everything has been a good move for me. It taught me about everything from structure to voice to scene.

    I reckon now I need to reread. To look at plotlines. The best way to be analytical is to reread.

    I also need to immerse myself in one subject – so if my next project is set in an ice-world, for example, I need books about the arctic and Narnia and Abi Elphinstone and expedition journals.

    Not *sure* how these plans will go – I love my book blog very much and want to maintain that too.

    Isn’t it interesting how we go through different stages as readers? Great post. Lovely to see the tweet got you thinking too.

    1. It’s so fascinating! I used to be one of those people who would LOVE an at-home library, and don’t get me wrong – I’d still love a room dedicated to literature! But the thought of just walking into a room full of unread books kinda scares the daylights out of me? I think I’d rather walk into a room that has books which I truly love, and some that are as-yet undiscovered, rather than the thought of the “looming TBR shelf” glaring at me when I’d rather just reread an old favourite!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  3. I had sooo many unread books and they actually put me off reading because it felt like a chore to get them read! I decided to just purge them all and I only kept my absolute favourite books and the a few I really did want to read. And now I’m actually reading them!

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