Book Discussions

Managing My TBR | What have I changed to make my Goodreads TBR less daunting?

Managing my TBR - Meme%2FDiscussion Pinterest Graphic.png

Since participating in the Down the TBR Hole meme and focusing on book blogging, I have been cleaning up my Goodreads TBR into something that is more manageable and works for me.

Being part of the bookish community, I hear complaints about overflowing, unmanageable, intimidating TBRs so I thought I would share what changes I have been making. Maybe you’ll find something that will help you out too!


So first up, why bother delving into that really overwhelming stack of numbers and book titles in the first place?

You won’t feel so overwhelmed when choosing what to read. Honestly, I didn’t even approach my Goodreads TBR to look for books to read because there was NO WAY I would ever find something without getting lost in pages and pages of books that interested mew at some point.

You can use your shelves to make blogging and recommendations easier. Once you start to tidy up, you can turn your Goodreads shelves into something useful! Have a book tag asking you about the last book that made you cry? I head straight to my ‘feels‘* shelf. Friends asking about what fantasy books you want to read? Head to the ‘sff-tbr‘ shelf. Want to write a blog post about books with mental health rep? Head to the ‘mental-health-psych-sociology‘ shelf.

*All shelves mentioned are shelves I use on my own Goodreads account

If you like monthly TBRs you can use shelves to create and track this! I have an exclusive shelf called ‘immediate-tbr‘ which I use to list everything on my monthly TBR and books that I want to get to ASAP.

You can track book series better. I have 5 shelves dedicated to organizing my book series and BOY has it made my life easier. I finally feel like I can slowly start working through all my unfinished series without feeling overwhelmed and lost.

Where to start?

From my experience, the biggest roadblock for most people is starting. If you have anything upwards of 200 books on your TBR it can feel REALLY daunting.

My biggest advice to keep from melting into a puddle of your own tears:

Don’t feel like it all has to happen at once

Whenever you have a chunk of time to dedicate to organizing your Goodreads, choose one task and stick to that one task only. There’s no point trying to fix everything at once. It won’t happen, you will burn out, and never want to try ever again.

Start by going through your TBR and asking what you actually want there. Now, assuming that you use your TBR for books that you actually intend on picking up at SOME POINT, you want to get rid of the books that you honestly won’t ever read.

What next?

Once you have got rid of all the books that were gathering dust on your shelves, work out how to organize your Goodreads shelves for you. To help do this there are tools that can help.

If you have other books listed to avoid, to reread, to buy for your cat who reads, create an exclusive shelf. Exclusive shelves on Goodreads allow you to put books on that shelf and not also have to add them to the read/to be read/currently reading shelves. Other exclusive shelves I use are:

  • DNF (don’t want to mark as read but don’t want to revisit)
  • Partially Abandoned (not read, not being currently read, but might return to*)
*this is how I avoid having a currently reading shelf of 15 books



If you have other shelves that you don’t want to get lost or you refer to often you can also create sticky shelves. These will appear with an star next to them, as well as sit at the top of your shelf list.


Once you’ve got these sorted, figure out what you want to use Goodreads for: to only track your read books? to track books you own? to track books you want to read? to make sorting through genres easier? to organize your series?

Use these questions to develop what shelves you should create and then slowly start sorting your remaining books onto these shelves.

How do I manage my TBR from spontaneous combustion in the future?

Since tidying everything up there are a few things that I have changed about my TBR. Not all of these will work for everyone, but maybe it’ll help too.

Will I REALLY read this book? Every time I see a book that interests me I really question about whether I want to read it, will I be upset if I haven’t saved it to a shelf in the future, or is it a book that I won’t even remember in a month’s time.

Go through your TBR every now and then to tidy up. Remember that MASSIVE big job you had at the beginning to go through all your books and get rid of the stale ones? Save yourself the hassel and peruse your TBR every now and then, getting rid of books that no longer interest you.

Don’t auto-add. Like auto-buying, I know a lot of readers will add every single book in a series or by an author they like. I avoid this completely. I don’t TBR more than one book by an author and I don’t TBR more than one book in a series.

Instead, I TBR the book that I want to pick up first and once I read that book, I’ll add the next one. If it’s a book series, I will only ever have the next book in the series TBRd. If it’s an author, I will only ever have the book that most interests me TBRd (if I like the book/author when I finish the book, I’ll add another book of theirs to the TBR).

Not only does this guide my reading, it also means that my TBR numbers aren’t as intimidating.

And there you have. My tips for getting your TBR more in order. Keep an eye out, next up will be as closer look at the shelves I use and how they keep me organized and assist both my blogging and reading.

Is your Goodreads account organized or VERY intimidating? How do you organize your Goodreads books? 

Rating and Reviewing DNF Books | Does my opinion really count if I didn’t finish?
10 Book Terms Required to Understand Book Blogging Creatures
International Bookworms: A Day in the Life of a International Blogger


Disclaimer: Header photo by Tom Hermans and Pinterest photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash



20 thoughts on “Managing My TBR | What have I changed to make my Goodreads TBR less daunting?”

  1. I, too, add only the next book in the series I’m reading. I have my shelves sorted by author last name. I have also added the shelves: favorite, library, own, kindle unlimited, arc, ebook and recommended. There are several authors that I read a lot of (Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and Danielle Steel), and they each have their own shelf along with an owned shelf. I also have star shelves. It’s made organizing a lot easier for me and I don’t have a million shelves.
    Good tips! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow, I didn’t realise sticky shelves were a thing. That helps so much. Until now I kinda just put zeroes before the shelves I wanted to keep on top. *goes and makes them sticky*

    What I wish Goodreads had was a way to have subshelves / categories for shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I used to rearrange the order by putting letters or numbers in front of it, e.g. c for character. c-vampire, c-werewolf, c-pirate, and then those are all in the same place. But it looked ugly 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t do the star shelves or the other shelves. I only have the three shelves but I might add DNF and partially abandoned to the list. But I do clean up my TBR and stop auto adding when it comes to series because this is my biggest offense. I realize half of my TBR are just series and I only keep the rest of the books in the series if I know I’m going I read the whole series. So yea. I do clean up my TBR little by little and it helps. But I still have like 3700 something which is better than 4100 XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I find it very helpful to add stuff to your TBR only if ever plan on reading it. I know people just auto-add and dump stuff on their TBR without thinking, but that’s not productive at all lol. Excellent tips! This is precisely what I do whenever I feel my Goodreads is getting out of control as well. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the biggest (and sometimes hardest) thing about keeping everything sane is updating shelves once you read/buy/dnf etc. So easy to just put on the wayside.

      As soon as I saw the link I knew it was one I’ve read. I love that you went more into the ‘how’ because we all know GRs isn’t the easiest to navigate at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice one Becca 🙂 I have recently cleared my Goodreads. I deleted all the book from want to Read section and started again rearranging them in a better way. I have start shelves, read year shelves, year-published, genre shelves and then netgalley, purchased, etc. 😀
    I know there are a lot but I think I need to go once more to clear up 😛


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s