Down the TBR Hole | Using the #KonMarie method for my Physical Shelves

Today I had planned to do the next round of Down the TBR Hole but considering that I have just done a major reorganization of my actual bookshelves using the Marie Kondo method I thought it would be really fun to share this progress with you all instead. Apologies for the crappy photo quality in advance, my phone camera is not great!

The second stage of Marie Kondo method, books, was one that I was simultaneously dreading but also really looking forward to. I find it quite difficult to sort out my books as these are objects that I am obviously quite attached to but I was also finding myself becoming frustrated with my bookshelves looking cluttered with too many books. Rather than just buying another bookshelf to fix the problem, I decided that I wanted to have a good sort through the books I own to see which ones I was invested in keeping and which ones I could donate to new homes. 

The thing I love the most about the Marie Kondo method is that she encourages us not to think about getting rid of things but to make space for the things that we want to appreciate more and that spark joy for us, rather than them being hidden away in amongst a mess of other things. This definitely helped me to sort through my books in a way where I didn’t feel guilty about “getting rid of” books but instead focus on the beautiful books that spark joy for me that I wanted to spend more time with.

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Before & After comparison

Prior to sorting through my books, I had no idea how many books I actually owned or how many of those I had read versus how many were unread. In our house, we only have two bookcases – a large white one in the front room and a small brown one in the bedroom – and I was honestly shocked at how many books were hidden away on these shelves.

Before:

Marie Kondo always suggests piling up all of the objects that you are sorting through in one place so that you can actually see how much you have. In this case, I piled up all of the books I owned on our sofa bed and it’s one of the only times I have ever seen all of my books together in one place. Prior to KonMarie-ing my books, both myself and my partner had 422 books (although only about 70 of those were my partners).

At first, I really struggled to actually put any books on the ‘to go’ pile and instead kept putting a lot of books on an ever increasing ‘maybe’ pile. After watching this pile begin to grow steadily higher I decided to stop and rethink my approach. I clearly felt ambivalent about keeping them otherwise they would have gone straight on the keep pile. Why was I so reluctant to let so many of these books go? The truth was that I felt guilty of letting go of books that I hadn’t read and kept insisting to myself that I would get round to reading them someday but when I actually really considered this with each book, I found that I wasn’t actually interested in reading the book anymore, I only felt like I should.

Once I came to this realization I was a lot more ruthless with putting books on the ‘to go’ pile, pushing myself when I hesitated and asked myself ‘am I really going to read this?’

In the end, I had 209 books left on my keep pile and 71 on my pile to go. Similarly to my Down the TBR Hole posts, I did also keep 35 books on a ‘temporary keep’ pile which I will be setting a deadline for. If the books aren’t read in that time then it’s unlikely they’re ever going to be read and they will also be going.

In total, both myself and my partner kept 276 books (plus my 35 temporary books) and got rid of 112 books between us.

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The Keep Pile (Bookshelf Tour)

Although it was a difficult process I am a lot happier with my bookshelves now. Annoyingly I forgot to take pictures at the start of the process but you can see in a picture I took back in August after YALC how stacked up my books were getting. You could no longer see most of the books on the shelves as they were hidden behind each other so it feels really nice to be able to see all of my books now.

Little Brown Bookcase:

As we spend most of our time in the front room, we decided to use the little bookcase in our bedroom for the books we don’t frequently read as well as store my temporary TBR books. The top shelf and the beginning of the second shelf consist of mostly ‘classics’ including Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Lord of the Rings.

The rest of the bookshelf from ‘Welcome to the Nightvale’ onwards is the temporary TBR and includes: All the Light We Cannot See, A Little Life, ACOMAF, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Beyond the Darkened Shore, Allegiant & Four, The New Rising trilogy, the Maze Runner series, More Than This, A Flame in the Mist, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, White Teeth, To the Lighthouse, The Beautiful and the Damned, and Cash: The Autobiography. Almost all of these were gifts, free or secondhand from charity shops.

 

The White Bookcase:

Big thanks have to be given to my partner for encouraging me to try a new way of organizing my books on the bookshelf. I tend to always get stuck in my ways but he got me to try organizing my books via genre this time and I actually really love it?? Rather than go through the shelves in order of height, I’ll start with the first books I placed on the shelf and work our way through via the genres instead!

The Fantasy Shelf

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Left to right – MG/ YA/ Adult

The Edge Chronicles 1-4, The Girl of Ink and Stars (signed), Tiffany Aching series (Tom’s) // Miss Peregrine #1, The Mortal Instruments series, The Belles (signed), Rebel of the Sands, The Last Namsara, A Torch Against the Night, Children of Blood and Bone (signed) // Lost Gods (ARC), American Gods, The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories (ARC), The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, The Invisible Library, An Accident of Stars, The Earthsea Cycle (Tom’s), The Tensorate Series.

Read: 15/27

The Fantasy/Sci-Fi Shelf

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Left to right: Adult fantasy / YA sci-fi / adult sci-fi

American Hippo (ARC), Monstrous Little Voices (ARC), Red Sister, The Poppy War (signed), The Broken earth series, Worlds Seen in Passing (ARC) // The Hunger Games trilogy, Legend & Prodigy, the Chaos Walking trilogy, Red Rising, Lifel1k3, Ariadnis & Anassa (signed), An Unkindness of Ghosts, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (signed), Aurora Rising (ARC), Skyward // From a Certain Point of View, Sleeping Giants, Space Unicorn Blues (ARC), 2001: Space Odyssey, Planetfall

Read: 8/28

The Sci-Fi & Historical Fiction Shelf

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Left to Right: Adult sci-fi / Historical Fiction

Children of Time, An Oath of Dogs (ARC), The Wayfarer series (signed), City of Strife, Everfair, Lagoon, Rapture, New Suns (ARC), The Left Hand of Darkness (Tom’s), Altered Carbon #1 (signed), Burning Chrome (Tom’s), Neuromancer (Tom’s), Virtual Light (Tom’s), Spook Country (Tom’s), Zero History (Tom’s), Idoru (Tom’s), I, Robot, Foundation, The Lost World, The Migration (ARC) // Circe, The Song of Achilles, The Last of the Wine, Small Island, Middlesex, Once Were Warriors, The Night Watch, Water for Elephants

Read: 12/23

The Little Bit of Everything Shelf

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Left to Right: Gaming, Film/TV, Comics, YA Contemporary, Lifestyle, Non-Fiction, Autobiographies

D&D Player’s Handbook, The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide, Fallout Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide, The Skyrim Library Vol. 1: The Histories (Tom’s), V&A Design/Play/Disrupt Exhibition Guide, Hard in Hightown, Stardew Valley Guidebook //

SW Jedi & Sith books (Tom’s), They Drew as they Pleased #1: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age, The Art of Moana, The Art of Big Hero 6 //

The Phantom Menace Padme & Anakin comics, Tank Girl Vol. 1 (Tom’s), Rat Queen’s #1 & #2, Moonstruck Vol. 1, Nimona //

The Penguin Yearbook 2018, The Truth About Forever, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? (signed), I’ll Give You The Sun, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, The Poet X, THUG, Starfish, Summer Bird Blue (ARC) //

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Tom’s), Let’s Draw!, Ready, Set, Novel! // Walt Disney & Western Europe, How to be a Disney Historian, Handsome Heroes & Vile Villains, From Here to Eternity, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes…, Other Minds, Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in a Microbial Sea, Sciencia (Tom’s) // Yes, You are Trans Enough (ARC), Tina Turner: My Love Story, Transgender Warriors (Tom’s)

Read: 18/38

The Academic / Religion Shelf

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Black and British: A Forgotten History, Trans Britain, Homosexuality in Modern France, Bedlam, Underworld London, Necropolis, The People: The Rise & Fall of the Working Class (Tom’s), On Anarchism (Tom’s), Crimes Against Humanity, Globalization & Its Discontents, Burning Country (Tom’s), Shut Them Down! (Tom’s), Unnatural: Techno-Theory for a Contaminated Culture (Tom’s), Prejudice & Pride (Tom’s), An Introduction to Social Anthropology (Tom’s), The Nuer (Tom’s), My Freshman Year, The Teachings of Don Juan, A Very Short Introduction books (Empire, Dinosaurs, Social Anthropology, Descartes, North American Indians, Australia, Postcolonialism), Why Look at Animals? //

The Qur’an, Selected Poems of Rumi, Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching, No God but God, Zealot (all of these are Tom’s)

Read: 8/18

The Tall Book / Misc. Book Shelf

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Star Wars Fact Files, Ultimate Star Wars, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Art of… Studio Ghibli books, Dragon Age: The World of Thedas #1, The History of Fallout, Crufts Exhibition Guide 2017, The Study Skills Handbook & Critical Thinking Skills, The Animals Reader, Dolly Mixtures, The Sport of Kings, The Animal Estate, D&D Starter Kit, the Shoebox Project (clear folder), D&D notes

Read: 10/15

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The ‘Let Go’ Pile

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that there will always be book fiends in want of another book bloggers books…

Of course, the moment I started talking about sorting out my books and sharing photos on social media I had messages from book fiend friends who were curious about what I was letting go in case they might want any of the books. I’ve decided to include a breakdown here of all the books that I’m letting go in case any of you want to buy/trade! If you want any pictures or more information about any of the books (such as condition, etc) then drop me a comment or DM me @redrocketpanda

ARCs

Trans Teen Survival Guide / Invasions / Green Jay and Crow / Everless (signed)

Children’s

Egyptology / Hardback editions of Harry Potter 1-6 / 5001 things for kids to do / Lyra’s Oxford / Ottoline and the Yellow Cat / The Tales of Beedle the Bard (hardback), Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (paperback) / The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (hardback)

Comics, Graphic Novels, Zines

Legends of Baldurs Gate Part 1, The Astonishing Spider-Man, Ody-C, Essential X-Men, Ultimate X-Men, 4 editions of Island, Loki Agent of Asgard 1-3, Young Avengers: Dark Reign, The Bunker 1 & 2, Night of the Living Deadpool (1-5), Disney Kingdoms Seekers of the Weird #1 // Marvel 1602, SW: TOR Vol 1 Blood of the Empire // Sonorus Harry Potter zines 1-3, Executive Dysfunction zine

Non-Fiction

Tired of London, Tired of Life / Exotique / The Essential Plato / Steampunk: Fantasy Art, Fiction, Fashion & the Movies / Secret Societies and Creepy Cults: Secret Orders through the Ages / The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained / Subverting Islam: Orientalism and the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies (Pamphlet) / Courage to Change (Al-Anon) & Just for Today (NA) / Palgrave Study Skills: Studying History 3rd Edition / Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man / The Archaeology of Knowledge / Masters of Sex / Capital (Marx) / Brain Games for Dogs & The Perfect Puppy Guide / The Tower Menagerie / No Plot, No Problem? Writing Kit / 642 tiny things to write about / 50 Political ideas you really want to know / Australia: A Cultural History 2nd edition / Early Modern Europe: An Oxford History / His Dark Materials: The definitive guide / SW: The Essential Reader’s Companion

Other Fiction

Junky: The definitive text of ‘Junk / Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom / Vengeance is Mine Inc. & Other Stories / Wired Hard: More Erotica for a Gay Universe / The Complete Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen (hardback) / Frankenstein (sprayed edges) x 2 copies / Annabel (hardback) / Thomas Hardy poems (little black hardback) / Hannibal / The Selected Works of T.S Spivet (hardback) / The Supernatural book of monsters, spirits, ghouls, and demons / To Kill a Mockingbird / Journey to the Centre of the Earth / The Ocean at the End of the Lane / Never Let Me Go / Dracula / Black Oxen / The Perks of Being a Wallflower / The Paying Guests / Fahrenheit 451 / Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein

Science-Fiction & Fantasy

VN: The First Machine Dynasty / A Conspiracy of Alchemists (hardback) / Jingo & Wyrd Sisters (Discworld) / Foundations’ Edge / Drowning Wednesday / The Black Guard / Ascension/ Runemarks / The Hobbit / Age of Assassins / The Snow Child / The Extinction Trials / SW: The Old Republic Annihilation / Starborn / Dragon Age: Last Flight, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne / ACOTAR / The Hazel Wood / The Wren Hunt / Time Shards / Caraval (hardback)

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I hope this post has been helpful and inspiring for some of you who want to sort your own bookcases out. I’m looking forward to spending more time with the books I’ve kept and actually getting round to reading some of them now that I can see them!

Let me know what you think about using the #KonMarie method and whether you think it might be helpful for you!

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9 thoughts on “Down the TBR Hole | Using the #KonMarie method for my Physical Shelves

  1. I know exactly what you mean about feeling guilty – it’s why my shelves are bursting too! I feel guilty about not reading them and about the money I spent that will be wasted if I give them away. I’m not sure I could konmarie them though!

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  2. Wow, that’s a truly impressive effort! Getting rid of books can be hard for me as sometimes there’s an emotional attachment on top of just how much I liked the book (ie. “this was the one I read when…”). Being able to sell to a second-hand shopped has made it easier, as I feel a bit like I’m recycling things i will probably never read again for new material. And since the shops pay less than what they resell them for (I don’t begrudge them that, they need to make money!) it often means that I turn several books into two or three books, which is good news for my shelves!

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  3. Huh, that is a really cool idea! And your bookshelves look really happy and organized 🙂 Also as far as books to buy/trade, would you be interested in either selling or trading Perks of Being a Wallflower?

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  4. This post was fantastic, Avery! I really need to go through all my books like this. They are currently still packed away until I can buy my new bookshelves, but I have been thinking of going through them now before I get my shelves. That way I am not just putting them all away on my bookshelves instead of actually deciding which ones should go!

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  5. Omg I can’t begin to imagine how long this must have taken you! But great job!! I love how you sorted your books and how you selected which ones to keep and which ones to say goodbye to. Your bookshelves look so pretty!

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  6. Great post! As a total book fiend, you’re so brave. I really have a hard time letting go of books! I do have a box to donate but I only got rid of maybe 30 books or so out of over 2000…I have a problem hahahah. You’re shelves looks so nice now!

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  7. This was such a fun post to read, and congratulations on the difficult process of letting go of so many of your books! I recently donated a bunch to my local library but I could probably benefit from a more dedicated session at some point.

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