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When I Reduced my TBR from Hundred to Ten

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I flaunted my de-clutter achievement to the husband at home. His eyes opened wide as he glared at the screen that had just been thrust into his hand…”

With a substantial number of people in my circle-both online and offline- advocating #konmari and her de-cluttering ways, along with the importance of minimalism, it was, but natural, for me to be strongly influenced by it all.

Now, I must mention an important point here. I am pretty organized in my general way of things in life. Things at home are often found in their rightful place. Excesses are avoided, whether it is plastics in the kitchen, books, newspapers and even clothes. Those that lie unused for a long time, sure find a way out of home. The husband at home ridicules this behaviour of mine to be nothing short of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I refuse to agree with him (like most wives) and often throw in a remark that he is equally responsible for this obsessiveness. Being in a transferable job, we move places every few years- sometimes shifting homes twice in the same calendar year. As much as I crib at the time of every movement, the transfers and shifting of homes have taught me to be a minimalist, getting into the practice of disposing at regular intervals those things we seldom use- all this much before the arrival of Marie Kondo.

Impact and its aftermath

So, getting back to where I started from- the impact of #Konmari. If there is one thing that has stayed in the most disorganized of ways, it is my book shelf in the digital world. Since I spend a great deal of time online, picking up book recommendations, writing  opinions and sharing views, it made sense to de-clutter my GoodReads TBR list. With over 100 books, this list caused a considerable amount of anxiety. For, hours would be spent scrolling through this list, trying to figure out which book should be my next read. I read close to four books a month. Thus, completing this list would take me a long time. During this period, there is a great possibility of more books getting added, as well as, a probability that I may miss out on those books that would actually suit my tastes.

It was time for a complete de-clutter of my TBR!

From 104 to 14

I must mention that I avoid buying books until I have finished the ones at hand. The books that lay around home, which I was sure I would never ever read, were graciously donated to the nearby library. On a bright sunny morning, with my laptop in hand I set out on my mission, following three simple steps.

  • Sorting out titles as per genre

I moved my list to a simple spreadsheet and got started on the work at hand. I listed out the genres each of the titles belonged to. Once the books were sorted out under their respective genres, I introspected to pick only the top five books under each genre. Also, I removed the genres I absolutely wouldn’t be reading- such as self-help books (I did wonder as to how they landed up on the list in the first place)

  • Ranking and deletion

Once my books where sorted as per genre, I scrolled through to mark the absolute must reads on the basis of my favourite author, popularity, and favourable recommendations. I gave the titles a rough ranking and once this was done, the bottom most ones were removed from the list.

  • A time for closer introspection- a book for every mood.

The above two steps had already reduced the list considerably. But narrowing it down further was required. Thus, it was time for closer introspection. Which are the books that would absolutely make me happy, the books that seemed to attract me, with their cover, blurb and plot?

The entire exercise took me over two hours, and at the end of it all I had successfully reduced my GoodReads TBR list from 104 books to 14 books. I was satisfied with the job done.

Achievement? Obsession?

With a big smile and excitement in my heart, I flaunted my de-clutter achievement to the husband at home. His eyes opened wide as he glared at the screen that had just been thrust into his hand. He threw me a look with a smirk that said it all- The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that I possessed.

Sigh! Who would understand the joys and anxieties of a book lover.

What do you think?


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18 Comments

  • Soumya Prasad

    Hahaha I agree with Parul here, not too sure if I want to declutter my TBR 😛

    Books is an area where all my promises and plans are broken. Every time I decide not to buy more books, I end up buying that very day. I want to give away a lot of books too, but never get down to it. I have Marie Kondo’s book on my TBR too, hopefully once I get to it, I get to decluttering it as well.

    Having said that, I’ve decided to set realistic expectations for myself and set a small target for reading this year. I guess that’s a good start there.

  • Parul Thakur

    Wow! That’s for sure a commendable feat. I’m not sure if TBR is something I would like to declutter. I mean it’s called TBR for a reason. 😀
    Good for you! I wish I had such amazing organization skills.

  • Laissez Faire

    For, hours would be spent scrolling through this list, trying to figure out which book should be my next read. <– oh, the sinkhole of indecision.

    FYI, When the answering machine gets too full, I just pull the the plug and reset it. :0 yes, we still have one of those.

  • littlemisswordy

    I’m impressed! I, too, have relocated quite a few times. Each time I purge before the move. Then, I tend to do it again at the new location as I unpack. However, my book inventory just seems to keep growing. They do spark joy for me. LOL

    First time I watched that show, I thought, “I’ve “Konmari-ing” before it was cool.” Ha!

  • Sulekha

    You are brave, I have been thinking about sorting through my books and removing a few from the TBR list but am still thinking about it 🙂 Must take action soon. Thanks for your post, might be what I needed to get started.

  • MM Schreier

    You are far more disciplined than me! I’m not sure I could ever cut down the TBR list. At least I’ve moved to mostly Kindle books these days so they don’t take over the house. I like the idea of ranking and ordering the list though!

  • Vidya Sury

    Bravo, Ramya! While I am inspired, I doubt if I’ll ever get around to doing it. I am a glutton when it comes to reading and I’ll convince myself I WILL finish the ever-growing TBR. In other areas of life, yes, decluttering gets full marks. Great job! Congratulations!

  • Jennifer Mierisch

    I did not know about this feature of GoodReads and now I’m glad, because I have enough lists already… and an entire 2 shelves in my nightstand of books I haven’t read yet! The struggle is real for book lovers!

  • Esha M Dutta

    I’m so glad that you did this, Ramya! Not easy but you’re very focused and I think it shows in how you chose the books you’d like to keep. think decluttering is very necessary for people like us who haven’t moved homes in 10 years! (yes, that long!!) I’ve been doing a lot of decluttering lately, not from the #konmari effect but because it was top in my list of priorities since last year. I’m cataloging and building a home library with all my books and it is giving me a great deal of happiness, doing so!

  • Obsessivemom

    This is inspirational. This is an exercise I need to do too, though for physical books. The worst culprits for me are the ones I pick up at the Books by Weight sales. There are always a few that I don’t like and they just lie around occupying cupboard space.

  • Tarang

    Haha! I think it’s a good idea. I have so many books on my GoodReads TBR list that I, somehow, know I wouldn’t read. I have removed a couple of books from my GoodReads. I’ll remove some more. 🙂

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