15 Practical Tips To Help You Avoid Hoarding Books

How to Avoid Hoarding books

Two years ago, I got paid my first salary ever, and the very first thing I did was place an order for several paperbacks. A little confession: I have only read one out of the 20 books I bought since then.

What I didn’t consider at this point was that I hadn’t read an actual paperback for a long time because I lived in hostels up to this point, and when I did try to read the paperbacks, it felt a little stressful.

Now, this isn’t me saying paperbacks are bad or they are good, but I definitely feel that I could have made a wiser purchasing decision because now the books occupy a lot of space, and I haven’t read them.

I feel that a lot of folks unintentionally start hoarding books, and aside from the fact that it simply takes up a lot of space in your room, it’s also not good when you consider fire hazards and all that it means for one’s mental health.

So, if you have noticed that you are sort of toeing the line between hoarding and actually keeping books you would like to read, I have listed certain ways in this post that you can continue enjoying your love of reading without hoarding books.

And as always, I’ve made sure to make them all as fun and intuitive as possible, so there’s something you can get right on with almost immediately.

1. Rent or Borrow eBooks

It goes without saying that if you want to avoid spending a lot of money and space in your apartment storing your paperback books, you definitely want to consider e-books.

Aside from being relatively cheaper, they live on whatever digital device you use, so there won’t really be a case of them occupying space in your living area.

You can use platforms like Kindle Unlimited or borrow from your local library, and you’ll find that you can amass a vast collection of books without cluttering your space.

2. Join a Book Club & Do Book Exchanges

If you are already a member of a book club and you guys don’t do exchanges, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for to bring it up with the rest of your club members.

Essentially, if you have a copy of a book that another person in your book club would like to read, you can trade it with them or for a book in their collection that you would want to read, and you can do this over and over again.

At the end of the day, you might find that using only one book, you have read more than 10 other books, and it’s more fun because you are doing this with friends or your book club members, so you can discuss it all with them afterward.

This is perfect because it allows you to read several titles without accumulating the books permanently, and it’s a very good way to avoid hoarding books.

Also See: 82 Book Club Questions For Any Book That Will Keep The Convo Going

3. Gift Giving & Switch Up Your Requests 

If you’ve already fallen down that hole and you see that you have a lot of books and you’re looking to slowly declutter, it’s a great idea to give out your books as gifts.

Perhaps you have a reader friend, or you’re in a book club, or you simply have someone in your circle who appreciates books. Giving out a book you enjoyed but no longer want to possess is going to make their day.

And when you are asked what you’d like as a gift, rather than outrightly asking for physical books, you could ask for coupons for online bookstores or something similar that lets you borrow or buy e-books rather than paperbacks or hardbacks.

4. Create a Reading Schedule

Now, this is something I will advise people on, but I have never really been able to do it because I am a very big mood reader. But if you are someone who can follow a schedule, creating a reading plan is going to do wonders for keeping you from buying books unnecessarily.

Essentially, since you already know that you can only finish a set number of books anymore or you are slotted to only read certain books in a month, you will inadvertently kill the need to buy books that you don’t really need.

I know for a fact that the backlog of unread books is what accounts for the majority of books that a hoarder acquires. So, when you are able to give yourself a rigorous schedule, you have sort of a long leash for yourself, and in time, you’ll no longer feel the urge to buy books simply for the sake of buying them.

When you are creating your reading schedule, it’s very important that you be as realistic and grounded as possible. Basically, you need to acknowledge that you can only finish a certain number of books in a certain period, so your reading should be prioritized based on your interest and the available time.

5. Use Book Swapping Websites

Earlier, I talked about doing book exchanges with your book club members. This time around, I’ll be recommending book swap websites where you can permanently exchange books in your collection with others.

The primary difference between this and what I mentioned earlier is that for book exchanges, you more times than not will get your book back, but for a book swap, you are essentially selling your copy in exchange for a book another person has.

You can find communities or websites where members are looking to trade books on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Goodreads. This is fantastic because it helps you gain access to new reads without additional cost or the clutter that comes with it.

Related Content: How To Read 100+ Books & Articles A Month: 20 Valuable Tips To Get You Started

6. Consider Audio Versions

As the biggest proponent of the “don’t knock it until you try it” school of thought, I gave audiobooks a chance last year, and you guys, it has been amazing so far because I get through my reading list even faster now.

So, if audiobooks are something you’re up for, you might want to consider swapping out your physical copies for audiobooks. They’re even better because you can listen to your book while commuting or doing chores, and it won’t take up space in your room.

7. Avoid “Just in Case” Purchases

At every single point in time, you need to remind yourself that you cannot buy books solely for hypothetical scenarios. Instead, focus on what you are genuinely interested in reading at the moment.

You guys, in my rush when I got my first paycheck, I bought a lot of books, including some punk fiction crime thrillers, which I haven’t even given a glance, and they are simply collecting dust in my house.

8. Share Books with Family

I’m personally not keen on sharing books with my entire family because there are a few rounded teenagers who do not understand the importance of the written word, but when books are designated as family property, it helps prevent hoarding.

How? For one, when the entire family shares a single book collection, there is more accountability, and it also helps reduce duplication, saving money in the long run.

Also See: More for Less: 13 Best Sites To Get Free Books In 2024

9. Set Limits

To make any tangible progress in avoiding book hoarding, you really need to decide on the maximum number of books you are comfortable within and make sure you stick to that limit.

To do this, consider everything from your interests to the amount of space you have available in your house, as well as any other considerations that apply to your situation.

10. Schedule Regular Decluttering Sessions 

It is also very important that you make time, perhaps every month or every other month, to review and donate the books you no longer need.

You can use your map or any social media platform of your choice to find organizations in your area that are accepting book donations, and more often than not, you’ll find several.

Even better, you could launch a neighborhood free library and arrange books in stacks so your neighbors can pick them up and perhaps even refill them, and you can also make your pick.

And if you’d like to take it up a notch, you can also volunteer in book-related opportunities like book drives and community literacy programs where you can declutter while helping the community.

11. Try The One In, One Out Rule

Just as the name implies, the rule is that once you add any book to your collection, you need to take out another book.

Taking out could be giving it away, using it as a gift, or donating it, but what matters is that you make sure to stay within your limits by removing one whenever you add one.

12. Get A Library Membership

Aside from providing a clean, quiet, and peaceful place to read, many libraries also lend out books, which is perfect if you are looking to cut down on the number of books you add to your home collection.

Usually, you need to get a membership with the library and then ask enough questions to determine eligibility and whatnot, and in time, you should be able to borrow books rather than buying them.

You May Also Like: 6 Proven Ways To Set & Stay On Track With Your Reading Goals

13. Borrow from Friends

You can also share your books with your friends to reduce the number of books you add to your individual collection, which will help you save money in the long run.

Remember that you need to be respectful of the book you have borrowed, so don’t eat with it and don’t stain it so that others aren’t reluctant to lend you their book.

14. Create a Wishlist

Instead of buying every single book you want, it’s never a bad idea to simply keep a list of the books you’re interested in on your wishlist, and then you can buy them one by one.

This way, you can avoid buying books in bulk, and it definitely helps you make more mindful purchases in the future and avoid hoarding.

15. Don’t Be Tempted by Sales & Promotions

I know a good sale always sounds tempting, but if you have discovered you have a tendency to hoard books, you need to look the other way whenever you see an unbelievable sale.

The FOMO is going to be crazy when you see everyone raving about the deals they were able to snag, but trust me when I say that when you build up that ability to not overbuy books, your bank balance is going to thank you for it.

And it won’t hurt if you put in some measures, perhaps blocking certain terms from your social media feed if you feel the temptation will be too strong. The truth is that you’ll be able to make more intentional decisions about purchases when you aren’t being bombarded with advertisements or sales left and right.

When you are already used to doing something in a particular way, the first few times you try to shift away from the status quo might make you feel almost physically ill, but I promise when you keep at it, you’ll find it easier.

Read Next: 40+ Fun & Exciting Things To Do While Listening To An Audiobook

Hoarding will not only affect you physically when your space is overtaken by all the items you gather, but mentally and psychologically, it’s all going to be a mess, so you want to avoid it as much as possible.

These are just some of the ways you can enjoy your love of reading without hoarding those paperbacks and hardbacks, and if you want more content about life as a reader, check out the related posts below.


Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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