How To Prioritize Your TBR

As Book Nerds, we have a problem. That problem is our ever growing, never shrinking TBR pile that now needs its own house with its own mortgage. To help, we’re going to use/alter/reference the KonMari method.

Relax! We aren’t going to make you keep a max or minimum amount of books. We know you can’t be contained.

Step 1: Tidy All at Once

Instead of moving over days and giving yourself time and excuses not to attack the dreaded TBR pile, give yourself one day. You aren’t going out. You aren’t watching Netflix. You aren’t going to the bookstore.

Let’s repeat for emphasis.

YOU. ARE. NOT. GOING. TO. THE. BOOK. STORE.

You are going through your TBR pile and finally determining which books will be read, and which books you know in your heart, will never be touched.

Step 2: Visualize the Destination

Think in concrete terms. Do you want to read more Sci-Fi? Fantasy? Contemporary? Thrillers? Figure out what you’re going to tend toward or whether you want to challenge yourself with a new genre and tell yourself to focus on those titles.

Step 3: Does it Spark Joy?

Well, does it? Did a friend recommend that title to you? Did you buy it at a con? Did you get it at a table where you met your favorite author?

Or did you stop by a booth, grab a book you knew you wouldn’t read, and then just chucked it on the pile?

Step 4: Tidy by Category.

Marie Kondo says to tidy by category, not location. As a Book Nerd myself, I’m positive that you have books all over the house. Track down one genre at a time and look through them. Are you going to read those? Or would they be better off being donated to a classroom library?

Step 5: Tidy in Order

The KonMari method has a checklist and so should you. No one knows your tastes better than you do so list out your top five genres and move through your books in that order. Don’t be afraid to separate them into sub-genres. Space sagas and futuristic dystopias are both sci-fi, but they aren’t the same.


After you’re done combing through the books you might read, take a look back at the ones you have read. If you find that you don’t need to keep those, consider donating them to any number of charities who give books to lower income schools and families.

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