TBR Spring Cleaning Tips

The idea for purging my TBR list actually came from my recent library haul. This is how I borrow books. I have my TBR list open in one tab, the NYPL site open in another and I just put a bunch of books from my TBR list on hold. And whatever comes in, comes in. Most of the time, I don't even bother to read the summaries of the books I choose to put on hold (unless it's a book I specifically want to read ASAP) because if it's on my list, then I must want to read it right?


From my recent haul, there were two books that ended up being DNF and a couple that I didn't remember why exactly I wanted to read it. I knew I wanted to whittle down my TBR list but I was going about it all wrong. I thought the best way to do it was by reading them all when really I should be going through the list and filtering out what I truly want to spend my time on.

When I told Alexa what I was doing, she quickly hopped on board and before we knew it, we were removing hundreds of books. And it felt GOOD! Since so many people on Twitter were responding enthusiastically to our efforts, we decided to share some tips.

JUDGE THE COVER (It's okay!)
Based on the title and cover alone, would you still pick up the book? In a lot of cases, we just looked at the book and knew to cross it off the list.

If the book is part of a series and you started the series, how much do you prioritize continuing it? Likewise, if you haven't started the series, are you sure that you're willing to put time into it later (series binge-ing!). Are you even interested in reading a story that lasts for longer than 1 book?

What things do you generally avoid in books? What makes you uncomfortable/angry/the like? You might want to make sure all the stuff in the books on your TBR don't meet this criteria (unless you trust the author to handle whatever it is well).

If you have blogger friends whose taste you trust completely, you might want to see if they've read a book/series and see what they think. Since we were cleaning up our lists at the same, there were a lot of "have you read this and would you recommend" questions.

I could not remember what half the books on my list were about. And I was surprised by how many times I'd read the summary and think - I wanted to read this? What I would've picked up three years ago may not apply now.

Last but not least, trust your gut. If you just know you're not going to read this ever, delete it!

These tips really worked for us (I got down to 173 and Alexa is down to 200) so hopefully they'll help you too!

Do you guys have any other tips?
And will you join our spring cleaning sessions?
We'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Such a great and relevant post for all of us bloggers! I definitely need to pair down my shelves, but it's so hard to let books go. But then I can get more books that I really like, right?!

  2. Love it! I've recently cleaned out my wishlist shelf on Goodreads and piled up two large (overflowing) boxes of books that I'd like to get rid of. When I first began blogging, I just went crazy and bought books that I thought I SHOULD be reading, not books that I want to. Now that I'm drowning in them, I've decided that narrowing down my TBR pile is the only thing to do. This way I also have more room for when I finally acquire books that I've been dying to get to but haven't had the chance!

  3. This is AWESOME!! I just recently did this too and I feel SO much better! I was overwhelmed and felt pressure to read certain books when, I re-read the synopsis, I was all, why do I want to read this? My TBR list is so manageable now and so short I am hoping to start getting to some of those classics I've been waiting to read for so long. GREAT post :)

  4. I am _ash on twitter and I thank you a million times over and have to remind myself that it's okay to take things off/never read them.

  5. OK, so I have no idea what TBR or DNF is. haha Your book blogger language does not compute!

  6. Okay, so this is just awesome. I've about 550+ books in my TBR and I haven't even added sequels and books I know I'll be reading one day. So there. These are great tips and I need to do some cleaning soon. Great idea both of you!

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  7. These are awesome tips. I really need to parse down my book pile and my TBR, but then at the same time, I like having a huge TBR because of all the possibility. For me personally, one way that helps me get rid of physical books, LOL, totally cheating, BUT, if I see that physical book's ebook counterpart on sale, I buy it so that it occupies space on my kindle instead of my book shelf.

  8. I am still in awe of your awesome ability to inspire me to do random things like clear out my TBR shelf on Goodreads. It was a smashing success, as you mentioned, and I'm happy to have done it! I'm also super excited about this post, because any tips about clearing out a TBR are awesome.

  9. Great tips!! I really need to go through my shelves and weed some books out again.... Especially ones that are series that I know I won't read! That's a big one. I should do spring cleaning for Goodreads as well as my shelves! Great post :)

  10. These are great tips! I've recently gone through my Goodreads TBR list and realized that I had waaay too many books on there that I did not care for. It took me too long to whittle down my list so I simply deleted all of them and started anew. I'm really careful about what I shelve as To-Read now. I want to be able to actually use my Goodreads list, not be scared to the whim by the mere sight of it.

  11. Great tips! I definitely need to do this because my TBR list is insane!


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