Recently, one of my favorite Book Tubers, Kristin from Super Space Chick, released a video detailing how she organizes her Goodreads shelves. This video was so inspiring to me, as someone who joined Goodreads back in 2011 and never really had a true system to it. Over the years I’ve made some attempts at organization, however for the most part it was a half done job and my “Want to Read” shelf was out of control. I basically had the bare bones outline for how I wanted to reorganize my Goodreads but Kristin’s video was what finally pushed me to make an effort to do so (seriously, go check the video out, it’s amazing)!
So in an effort to keep me more accountable (and also because I enjoy having a record of my organizational plans on my blog) I’m to be recapping my new system, including using some of the methods and tips that Kristin chatted about in her video!
The Dreaded TBR
Of course the biggest area of my Goodsreads account that I wanted to clean up was my “Want to Read” shelf. I’ve done clean outs of it every once in a while, but there are still a LOT of books on there that have been hanging out now for 8+ years that I’m honestly probably never going to read. I loved Kristin’s system of how her “Want to Read” shelf is really limited only to books she really, really wants to read next realistically, and the rest go on another exclusive shelf for “consideration.” I loved that idea because it helps declutter the main TBR shelf without having to permanently get rid of books that you may be on the fence about still. I did actually have a “consideration” type exclusive shelf already, but had only used it a few times for books that I was really hesitant about, not books that I knew I wanted to read but wasn’t sure if I’d get to immediately.
Prior to moving a huge amount of books to this new and improved “consideration” shelf, I did take a hard look at my current “Want to Read” shelf (that was at 444 books) and cut about 80 or so books from it permanently that did not move over to the consideration shelf. I also created a “childhood favorites” exclusive shelf for books from my childhood that I either want to reread or series I want to finish from my younger days (this shelf is like 98% Babysitter’s Club Super Specials, lol). I tried to get my primary “Want to Read” shelf down to under 100, but settled for 140 (still 300 less than it was previously)! I ended up moving around 215 books to the “consideration” shelf, which not has a total of 224 books on it. I will admit that I left all of my anticipated 2020 releases on my “Want to Read” shelf so I don’t forget about them, and also created an exclusive “series I want to finish” shelf that 18 books as well as a “non-fiction to read” shelf to separate those from my main TBR and consideration shelves as well.
Taking another page from Kristin’s book (haha, intentional bookish pun) I attempted to renumber the order of the books on my “Want to Read” shelf so that they’re in a loose order of when I want to read them. I found the Goodreads interface to be VERY SLOW while I did this so I only edited about the first 10 spots with the books I hope to get to in September (the rest are still randomly prioritized).
The Rest of My Shelves
In addition to overhauling my exclusive shelves, I also deleted a LOT of my non-exclusive shelves too. I’ll be honest, I still think I have way too many (and am still overwhelmed by them) but I feel like they at least make a little more sense now.
My non-exclusive shelves are mainly organized into the following groups: date, genre, age group, source, setting and topic. Date is pretty self explanatory, and these are actually some of my favorite shelves. I have a shelf for each year that has all of the books I read in that year, as well as shelves for specific year releases (for example a “2019 releases” shelf, a “2020 releases” shelf, etc). I really like this system in particular because it’s easy for my to track upcoming releases I am excited for, and I typically will go to that annual release shelf each month, sort by month and make a note of all the upcoming releases I am excited for in my Always Fully Booked planner, add some to my immediate TBR and request any from the library if applicable (so this month I went to my “2019 releases” shelf, sorted by publication date and reviewed all of the September 2019 releases).
For my other non exclusive shelves, they are all used to track books POST reading them. I’ll go in and mark the book as finished and give my rating, and then go down the list, checking all of the shelves that are applicable to the book, such as the category (ya, adult, etc.), genre, source (library, overdrive, own, etc), setting and topic (family, illness, grief, coming of age, etc). The topic category is probably the most loose, however putting the word “topic” in front of each element I may encounter in a book that I want to track makes it a lot easier to add books to shelves because then the “topics” are all alphabetically next to each other (for example, I can sort a book into the shelves “topic- family issues” and “topic-grief” really easily since they’re all in the T’s rather than scrolling up and down my list of shelves to find all of the applicable places I want to put the book).
A Work in Progress
After my 3 hours Goodreads overhaul, I am feeling MUCH more focused and less overwhelmed about my TBR! However, I will say that I still have a lot of work to do, including going through all of the books on my “read” shelf and adding them to all of the appropriate “non-exclusive” shelves that they belong on. It’s a daunting task, one that I’ll probably have to do in small chunks at a time.
Do you keep your Goodreads account super organized or is it more of a place for you to just add books freely? Do you have a lot of shelves or keep it to the basics? Do you actually use Goodreads to track your reading or do you have other methods for that? Let me know in the comments!