Managing Your Hoard – Er – Library

For those of you who have a rather expansive hoard library like myself with a (possibly unreadably) large TBR pile, it can sometimes be tough to not only store your books but keep track of which ones you own and what book to read next.  Just wanted to share my thoughts on what it’s like to have a big personal library.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I log all of my books on LibraryThing and that mostly keeps me from accidentally buying multiple copies of the same book (excepting, of course, when I purposely buy multiple copies). However, the site only works when I actually remember to check it. Sometimes I pick up a book and it sounds familiar, so I check my library. Other times, nothing about the book sounds at all familiar, so I buy it, then when I get home and log it on the site I get the notification that I already own a copy! This is rare and so far has only happened with books that I’ve yet to read, but still.

As for storing my books, well, I’ve mostly given up trying for any semblance of order. We have bookshelves all over the house and they’re all double stacked and vertically and horizontally stacked and generally cluttered. I’m actually pretty good at remembering where certain books are (or at least what shelf they’re on) but I know to the outside eye my collection is a hot mess – or maybe it has a quaint, homey, used bookstore kind of vibe.

I’d love to roughly categorize them and alphabetize them, but I would need a literal library for that, with room to grow. I do have a shelf that is strictly vintage books. And a couple cubbies on other shelves that are dedicated to comics, middle grade and historical fiction, but those types of books can also be found on other shelves.

Recently I culled about 80 books from the hoard, followed by another 20 about a month or two later. I rearranged several shelves and managed to spread out some books from overcrowded shelves. After sinking some time into this, I stood back proudly, hands on hips, feeling accomplished and said to Sweetbeeps: “See, doesn’t that look much better?”

To which his reply was a blank stare and a muttered: “Well, to you I’m sure it does. Honestly, I can’t tell.”

Womp!

I still feel good about my purge (which went a long way in telling myself it was okay to purchase sixteen books during Book Outlet’s recent sale) and lately, I have been trying to be more selective about which books I buy. I try to take a moment to consider the plot and if I’ll really make an effort to read it – though it could still sit on my shelf for a million years even if I’m making an effort – and I have managed slow down my buying by a teeeeeeny bit. Progress, right?

My TBR will forever be a mess and even my attempts at making a “priority TBR” (some of which is featured at the top of this post) and a log of books I received specifically for review don’t do much to keep me on track. I’ll always read what I want when I want and buy too many books. I’m ok with this.

So tell me, if you have a massive collection of books, read or unread, how do you manage to store them, organize them, and pick what you’re going to read next? Do you live with people that understand your hoarding, or at least put up with it? Pleeeeaaaase tell me I’m not alone!