6 Tips for Keeping Your Books and TBR List Organized

Heads up, Empowered Shoppers, we’re a participant in affiliate marketing programs. For more information, see our disclosure here.

Love to read? Me too!

I love to read everything and anything I can get my hands on. My life is a never-ending cycle of collecting book recommendations and books faster than I can read and organize them. Keeping my books in order is pretty much the bain of my existence.

So, if you’re like me, here’s some tips for keeping organized while feeding your hunger for knowledge!

1. Write Down your TBR list

Have you ever seen a book you just knew you had to read, then got to the bookstore and realized you couldn’t remember it? Even though you were so sure at the time that the book sounded interesting enough that you’d definitely remember it?

Then it’s to start writing down the books you want to read.

Use paper, your planner, or your phone to keep a running list of all the great books your friends and family tell you about plus all the awesome books you keep stumbling across on BookTok and Bookstagram. Basically, when you run across a title that makes your heart skip a beat, write it down!

Then next time you’re at the bookstore your only problem will be narrowing down which of the hundreds of recommended books you should actually buy.

2. Keep a Digital Library Record

When your library collection has been around for years and takes of several shelves, then odds are you aren’t actually going to be able to remember all of your books as perfectly as you think.

You may end up buying some of those books on your TBR list twice because you didn’t get around to reading it for a few years and now you can’t remember if you actually have it or not.

A digital library can also be useful for organizing your books quickly in a variety of different ways, keep you from searching for hours for a book that you actually don’t own but must have just borrowed at one point, and remind you if you’ve lent one out to a friend or family member that never came back.

There are specific apps and softwares created for tracking your library these days, but it can also be as simple as making your own spreadsheet.

3. Make Your Book Work for You

Yep, I mean marking it up – adhesive flags, book darts, or just dog-earing (Yup, I said it. They’re your books.) the pages will help you remember the good stuff. Wanna get really crazy? Keep a book journal, or write down the quote and put it in a “quotes” file. Now you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to find where that great info was!

This is also a great way to help you skim through old favorite books and relive all the best moments quickly. I especially like to do this before reading the newest released book in a series. It’s a great way to remember the important bits without having to completely re-read the series when I don’t have the time.

4. Make a Deadline

Have problems getting through a book? It happens to everyone. I used to think that I absolutely, no matter what, had to read every book I started to the end.

This often got me stuck in reading ruts though, which left me feeling both guilty about not finishing the first book and guilty about not reading anything period.

So now I’m made a deal with myself. If a book doesn’t capture my interest by 15% or 20% into it, I’m done. Sometimes, I’m really generous and give it a whole 25% before calling it quick.

I feel like if a book doesn’t capture my attention in the first quarter of the book, then it probably never will. Why make myself suffer through the rest of it when there are so many more amazing books out there to enjoy.

5. Make a Physical Boundary

It seems like no matter how many shelves I buy, they can still quickly get out of control with all the books I want and buy.

Curb the urge to keep stuffing your shelves and squeezing books everywhere by setting a boundary. Decide on the shelves you want to have in your home. Decide how many and where you want to have shelves that will give you a good amount of storage space for your books while also allowing your home to feel uncluttered and organized.

Then tell yourself that this is it. You can buy and own as many books as can nicely fit on these shelves, but once they’re full, they’re full.

It’s time to edit out what you don’t need anymore. Odds are there are some books that you didn’t really enjoy that much that could probably make room for some newer books and the books that you really, truly loved. This may sound cruel, but there’s nothing better than staring at a shelf that’s truly filled with books you love.

The books you don’t love anymore can be donated to those less-fortunate or to schools.

6. Buy a TBR Cart

I saw this trend going around on Bookstagram and BookTok and I absolutely love it. Basically, they advocate buying a small cart that you can keep all your TBR books on. This helps you keep all your TBR books in one place for easy access, while keeping them contained and organized. Plus, it gives you a little bit of time before you have to start rearranging your shelves to make room for the newcomers.

Don’t forget to keep your ebook library organized as well. Take a look at this awesome blog for some great tips for organizing your ebook library.

Bonus tip: If you’d like to get some of the best, legal, free ebook deals around, then check out Book Cave’s Daily Free Ebook Deals. They are a great business that specializes in helping connect the right readers with the right books.

What about you? How do you stay on top of your books? Share your tips with us in the comments below!