Chatterbox: A Book Hoarders Mentality

June 5, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features


I experienced something pretty confronting on the weekend. That awful moment when you realise you don’t care for half your books anymore. I haven’t read heaps of books on my shelf, which is a common problem that us booknerds have, but I finally realised the underlying cause – I just don’t want to read these books anymore.

This stems from my hoarder mentality which I’ve tried weaning myself off during the years. Go to a sale, grab a bargain, add it to the collection and experience instant – also limited – gratification from my purchase. Then put it on the black hole of my shelf and admire it every once in a while, while continuing reading what I usually read – ARCs and new releases.

I’ve had several phases during the years, my body lotion phase. My perfume oil phase. My makeup and japanese cosmetics phase. My DVD and gaming phase, my nerd tshirt phase and my gaming merch phase. But books are here to stay, which is the problem – I’m just going to continue accumulating while promptly filling up the precious limited space of my bookshelf – and my unit.

Because I get sent so many review copies (of which I am eternally grateful), the rate of which I’m accumulating is much less than the rate I’m removing books. So I deal with this by donating books I am no longer attached to every six months or so, holding giveaways, giving them to my fellow Aussie bloggers and putting them up for trade.

But while going through my shelf and realising I’m never going to pick up the Blue Blood series or I shouldn’t be hanging onto the Twilight series for old time’s sake, I realised there’s a bigger problem at stake. I should be treating my space like it’s a precious limited resource rather than a commodity. There shouldn’t be a “I’ll make space for it”, there should be a “do I have space for it?”. And realising that the book is really going nowhere if I happen to stumble across it and am drawn by the inherit need to own and acquire. After all, I’m lucky enough to have a job and the means to purchase it at any time.

My shelf should be filled with my favourites, which I am proud to own and to display. Not filled with books that I wouldn’t even take a second glance at or even borrow out from the library. Time to cleanse, time to get rid of the old to make space for the new.

…It’s going to be an emotional road ahead.

Are you a hoarder? 


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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75 responses to “Chatterbox: A Book Hoarders Mentality

  1. tonyalee

    Um, yes. haha I have books everywhere. Most of the time, I am able to purchase bargain copies so I don't feel AS BAD about buying them. But the hunt to find the deals and series is half the fun!

  2. Shannelle C.

    I don't knowif I am a hoarder, I just don't give any books away because I don't know how. But I really do want to get rid of some of the books, especially all the books I don't love. That way I can make some space for even more books.

  3. I am definitely a book hoarder and just like you I have both books on my shelves that I probably won't ever read. I was planning to when I got them, but my reading tastes change and sometimes I just lose interest in a book that once sounded great. On the other hand removing them from my shelves seems so definite and I have a hard time doing that as well. So I have a lot of books and hardly ever remove any of them. It's just so hard to actually do them away.
    I don't acquire as many pghysical copies anymore recently, partly due to getting a lot of review copies, partly also due to money issues and not being able to afford buying all the books I want, which has eld me to be more picky about which physical copies I buy. Which means I mostly only buy physical copies of books by my favourite authors. I still have a lot of unread and read books from before that tiem though and lots of books i probably will never read and I just can't so goodbye to them,
    My recent post Sunday Post #130

  4. redizabzh

    Guilty ! I really tried to slow down on the book buying and book requesting these last months, but it's been… hard. And some of my own books I bought a couple of years ago, I'm not sure why I bought them at the time, my tastes have evolved. Some I'll try to read anyway, but I'm afraid some will just go to trash – after all, there was a lot of freebies included 😉

  5. I think I could be called a hoarder? I do have a lot of books on my shelf that I haven't read, but seeing as I only really got into book buying about a year ago, I still have a lot of room. So I don't mind too much yet ^^ However, maybe in the future I can hold some giveaways and get rid of some books that I don't want as much so my favourites are what takes up the space.
    My recent post The Book Thief (Review)

  6. I realized this with some of final books I have in trilogies and some other books in my pile. I no longer care or have moved on from that particular genre. It happens. I will say that as you age your hoarder mentality lessens in other aspects of your life. You find that fragrance, that brand of coffee, the jeans you love etc. However I am still a book hoarder.
    My recent post Test It Tuesday- What does my blog look like to visitors?

    • YESS I know, I used to buy series all in one go so I could binge read them and you know what happens? I didn't even pick the first book up.

  7. Oh Jeannie. You know that I feel the EXACT same way. I have so many books that just sit there on my shelf (or floor, because HELLO lack of space), that I just KNOW that I will never read them.

    Like we said at Bookfest: there's a triumph in the challenge of searching for the books. I like to acquire whole entire series before I even know I want to read them (I really should stop that – although I must say I have been better lately!), and books that just look vaguely interesting. And then I never read them.

    This is ridiculous because:
    a) MONEY. I shouldn't spend money on books I don't even know I will read.
    b) Space. Like you said: our bookshelves should proudly the display the books we LOVE, not the randoms that we acquired just for the sake of it.

    But then I always have my problem of never wanting to let go of books because they are the precious. I bought them, and I was interested in them at one point – doesn't that mean there is a slim chance I will read them?

    I don't know. I have swapped some books recently, but that just means I have more books – eep.

    I wish us both luck in our book hoarding! <3
    My recent post Books for Mail + Simply Sunday (#21)

    • Absolutely, that's why I got really picky at the bookfest. We're so lucky to have it here but yeah, sometimes it's more about the hunt than wanting to read it. Good luck Chiara!

  8. I used to want my own library growing up. I did achieve that to a small degree, but one day, I didn't like the hoarding aspect I was exhibiting. I like to have control, and it felt out of control. So I gave them all away. There are a few I regret parting with for sentimental reasons. I don't keep more that 5-ish books at a time anymore.
    My recent post Venom by Jennifer Estep

    • Yeah, same with me, definitely getting your own library is a dream but if it's filled with books we don't want to read, there really isn't a point. Show me your ways Christy!

  9. rlsharpe

    I do hoard books, but I'm pretty good at only buying the books I really want to read. I admit I'm a lot tougher now when deciding if I will buy a book or not as I've ran out of space and currently have about four boxes full of books to deal with the overflow, and my husband is NOT willing to get another book shelf at the moment (I do have 6 and we don't really have space for another one) but I do want to own my library one day so I don't want to let any of them go.
    My recent post A Writerly Update 69.

    • Wow, you have 6 bookshelves! That's twice as much as I have, but I make do with what I have until we get our own house.

  10. jordtravel

    I realised the same thing a while back, I would buy books because they were on sale, the cover was pretty or because I had heard it was amazing. But then I was left with no room on my bookshelf and a ton of books I had no interest in reading… I ended up selling them all for a fraction of the price I bought them… I love books and my dream one day is to have a library 'room' in my house where I own lots of book I love and can lend out to friends and family. But as of right now, I have no point in owning all of these books because I don't even own my own house yet let alone have space for books. Plus I'm at the stage in my life where I'm travelling and constantly moving countries so I can't lug all of these books around… Hoarding books is so easy to do though!
    My recent post How do you relax when you’re stressed?

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  12. thesepaperhearts

    Right now my bookshelf isn't full yet, so I haven't started worry about my book hoarding tendencies yet lol. I actually organize my bookshelf by favorite to least favorite books so hopefully it's easy for me to take books off the shelf when it starts to get full. That could really be any day now with the number of books I keep buying D: I need to stop preordering so many books…there are just too many sequels coming out this year that I want haha.
    My recent post BEA 2015 and New York City Recap

    • Lol that's such a great idea of organising your books! It would be easy to cull when you need to. I know what you mean though, it's so exciting to get new releases!

  13. I am. Buying books and putting them on the shelves gives me immense pleasure and happiness. I'm trying to limit myself to buying only my highly anticipated books and I'm sort of doing okay this year, haha. I'm also in the process of getting rid of books I no longer want or that I didn't enjoyed and just kept for no other reason than hoarding. Two bags of books have been donated so far 🙂

  14. danielleisbusyreading

    I try not to be! I'm kinda OCD, so it would drive me nuts knowing I have a ton of books I don't want/need anymore. It's one reason I always get rid of my ARCs and buy finished copies if I loved the book enough. Having a Kindle also helps – I buy certain books for that, and certain books for myself. There are a few titles I own that I actually hate, and I'd prefer to have them for my Kindle, but I already bought physical copies and I like having the "evidence" that I read them… if that makes sense lol.

    • I totally get what you mean Danielle, that means you get to only put books on your shelf that you loved which is great 🙂

  15. I am such a hoarder 🙁 I'm going to take some photos of all my shelves one day and post them so people can judge my problem lol it's horrible. There's books on the floor, on top of shelves, on my desk, I have no more space. I also need to do a clean out, I plan to in a couple of weeks, and maybe once a month I'll donate a pile of books. Because really, there's just so many I will never, ever read 🙁

    Although I did buy some stickers, so that when I read a book and if I didn't like it a red sticker goes on it, and if I'm not sure I want to keep it, it gets an orange sticker. Perhaps I should get some green ones, so I'm certain of what I've read 😛

    I have the same problem with dvd's. It's the worst *sigh*
    My recent post Showcase Sunday #27

    • Absolutely, I know what you mean! Until I was forced to clean my bookshelf it was starting to look a bit like a bookish graveyard. Yeah, I have to donate every few months as well! I love your sticker system though.

  16. Oh my goodness, you speak to my soul! I did the same thing, had to buy ANY book I had ever heard of, especially when I had just started blogging, if it was on sale! And now, I am MUCH pickier, and have all these books that I am likely never, ever going to read hanging around on my shelves. AND I went through those phases too- I had ALL the Bath and Body Works sprays, and nail polish, and DVDs… yep, I am a hoarder for sure! I plan to start paring mine down too- I was hoping to do more books for trade, but I think it lost its steam! Good luck with it, I can't imagine it will be easy for either of us!
    My recent post Review & Giveaway: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

    • Oh my gosh, definitely sounds like we're both alike when it comes to hoarding Shannon! It's definitely a difficult journey but I think we just have to face reality lol

    • I know, it's so difficult isn't it? But I justify it in my head like I won't want to read it anymore if I've read it before, or if I'm never going to read it then there's no point in holding on.

  17. Faye M.

    I am definitely a hoarder.. I go to a bookstore and I see so many books and I buy a lot, spending like $60 every time, which puts a big dent on my wallet. But I can't stop myself! I see a book and I just want to have it! Then six months later, I still haven't read them yet. I'm aplnning to sell the ones I still have but am not interested anymore. And I'll buy it with even more books! XD

  18. I know I have too many book lets be real here, they are starting to stack up on my floor. Some of these books I won't read and some I won't read again but I have a bigger problem. i can't throw books away, give them away, donate them. I simply cannot do it. I will some how make an excuse that I somehow need it.
    It's fustarting.
    My recent post Book Review: Modern Monsters by Kelley York

    • Yup, I knew I had a big problem when they were on my desk, my floor, and all over my bookshelf in every crevice.

  19. keionda

    Hmmmmm I think I COULD be a hoarder which is probably a very good thing I mostly read books on my Kindle. I have no doubt I would hoard books like no one's buisness! I've lost count of how many I have on my Kindle now. I want my bookshelf reserved for books I really, really would just like to stare at all day. If that doesn't sound overly….weird. 🙂
    My recent post Discussion #6^^ Put a Lil’ Love in Your ♥

    • That is definitely a good thing! Gosh I haven't even turned on my Kindle for months. I just don't want to deal with it lol

  20. livvvy75

    I am such a hoarder. My parents say it's genetic. Both my kindle and my bookshelf and my cupboard (with childhood favourites) are absolutely packed. That of course has two problems 1) I never can pick what to read and 2) I can't get rid of the ones I don't like. The struggle is real, Jeann. Anyway, great post! I think we both have the same feelings towards the Blue Bloods series 🙂

    • Yeesss I can definitely see where I would have gotten it from my parents lol. Everything I have is so packed! But I've since learned to cull when I need to.

  21. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I actually started getting rid of books that have been sitting on my shelf for more than 2 years unread. It's sad, but if I haven't gotten to them yet then I should give it to someone who will appreciate them! Plus my Netgalley/Edelweiss books are too many. I have to start reading more of those. I'm trying to cut back on the purchasing… but it's so hard, Jeann! Show me your ways!

    • Oh man, I have so many of them! But yeah, I totally know what you mean Marianne. Gosh I haven't even touched my Kindle in so long I have so many books to read. I can't show you my ways because I'm barely coping lol!

  22. readerswonderland

    Yeah I know what you mean, I talked about this issue in my When Books Become Decorations post. There are so many books on my shelves like your Blue Bloods series-I'm probably never going to get to them. It's hard though, because I always have that well what if you DO want to read them someday feeling. Plus I feel so bad because I have pumped hundreds of dollars into these books (and so have my family and friends) I feel so bad just giving them away without reading them but I want a shelf like you mentioned too-one just full of favorites.
    My recent post ARC Review: Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

  23. bingeingonbooks

    Great post. I used to be a hoarder until I realized how much space my books were taking up. Most of them were either a) ones I was never, ever going to read or b) ones that I had already read, but would never, ever read again. I got rid of a lot of them. Right now, I do have some physical books I haven't read (about a dozen), but my other ones are books that I just absolutely love!
    My recent post BOOK REVIEW: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

  24. LilysBookBlog

    I'm terrible at this. I have so many books on my shelves that I just don't care for anymore but i haven't gotten rid of them yet. it's terrible because I should be getting rid of them. I mean…I don't want to read them anymore. I don't have any emotional ties to them…but it's hurts to think about giving books away. LOL. See…i'm a terrible book lover. I'm far to selfish!
    My recent post Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2)

    • Oh I know, it's pretty terrible isn't it? I think I need to be more disciplined with purchases and it definitely hurts to give them away, but sometimes we just gotta do it.

  25. Braine-Talk Supe

    I feel you, I'm the same way. The difference is I have family members who love reading too so at least I can share it with a few people.

    You need a kit: mellow music, some candy, wine (can you drink yet?) or ginger ale maybe? lol
    My recent post Liked It: Working With Heat by Anne Calhoun

    • Ah that makes it all worth it then when you can share it with family. Hehe don't worry Braine I am well past the legal drinking age 😉

  26. This was such a fantastic post, Jeann! I'm definitely a book hoarder myself, which makes me guilty because like you, I end up just reading ARCs and new releases. I buy a lot of books and in that moment, I have a little YAY! moment in my head and I want to read it ASAP, but if I don't get to it immediately, I'll forget about it and wouldn't glance at it again. 🙁

    I don't think I'll be purging my shelves anytimes oon though. I occasionally give my books to friends, but that's usually just one to two books a year. I considered selling them at one point, but I'm really thinking twice about it and… Gah. D:
    My recent post Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

    • Thank you Aimee, yeah it's pretty exciting with new purchases but if it sits there collecting dust then better at the bookstore.

  27. Oh yes Jeann! I used to be like this myself, I was a 'collector' *cough* hoarder* and something just clicked one day and I asked myself, do I really want all of these books? I started taking off what I no longer wanted or was going to read or didn't like, and gave them to the library, as well as offering them currently for trade. I just don't want to hoard anymore, I want my books to be books I loved, I liked, I think are beautiful or books that mean something, they're my showcase, and you wouldn't have things you didn't like on show, so I don't! Great topic Jeann! 😀
    My recent post Blogger Love: Awesome Posts That Rocked May

    • Oh yes, a "collector" I have used that one a few times hahah. Yeah, definitely want my books to be something that I am proud of, not one that I wouldn't give a second glance. Thanks Amanda!

  28. thebookowl

    I can so relate!!! A few months ago I cleaned out my shelved of books that have been sitting there unread realizing that I had no real desire to read them anymore!

  29. booksbonesbuffy

    Jeann, I am a TOTAL hoarder, and I don't think that will ever change. I have a very big book collection (which I've shown on my blog) and I know I'll never get to all of them, but my philosophy is, there's always room for one more pile! My husband isn't crazy about that, but he's learned to accept it:-) I wish you luck, though, with your idea to trim down your collection. That's got to be hard!

    • Yup, I have the same philosophy Tammy. My bf has definitely learnt to accept it too, though every now and then he likes to have a say XD Thanks Tammy, I think I'm doing well. Gave a whole bunch to my sister the other day.

  30. My shelf is filled with books that I wouldn't care to give a second glance as well. I mean, I have a single shelf filled with children's books from my mom because (since she's an educator) she would often bring home books for me to read before as a kid. But I solve it usually by donating the books 🙂 It's going to be a tough road ahead, I know. 🙁 You're really lucky to receive lots of review copies! 🙂 But I do hope you solve your book hoarding problem. It really is a huge thing for us book bloggers.

    • Yeah, I've ended up having to donate books that I don't want to too. After all we're making room for what we really want to fill our space with!

  31. The first step is admitting you have a problem, which is really half the battle. Yeah, Oprah said that so much better. I have two floor to ceiling bookshelves that are completely full and I've read every single one. Every few months I have a massive cleanout. Anything I've rated less than three stars is donated or given away to anyone who wants them, because chances are if I didn't like it the first time, I'm not going to pick it up again. I still buy books, but lately it's been those I really want to read or collectors box sets. I rarely request anything anymore, I think I've only requested 2 books all year because the amount of unsolicited copies keeps me busy and still allows me time to read my own books too.

    Well done for donating though Jeann, there's so many out there that can't afford books because let's face it, they're quite pricey when they're new and you're giving them a lovely new home and clearing space for better books that will be well loved <3
    My recent post I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson… Simply Beautiful

    • Thanks Kelly, I do indeed have a hoarding problem but I haven't abandoned my house like in that show. That's so impressive Kelly that you do big clean outs. I try and do it too, and I was surprised by the time I did my next clean out that things I was hanging onto I just didn't want, especially with more books taking up space. I mainly donate through Lifeline (because I buy so much from their bookfest) and the library somteimes.

  32. I read a lot on my kindle – but I do hoard books there. I have just recently gotten some actual physical books. But besides my signed copies or favorites I will probably pass them on once I am done reading. I really don't like clutter so I often go through my stuff and donate/trash so many things.
    My recent post Review ~ Everything I Never Told You

    • Oh yes, don't even get me started on my Kindle. I haven't touched it in months. That's a good idea, I'm slowly getting there when it comes to getting rid of clutter and realising I just don't need this stuff.

  33. I'm not much of a hoarder…I mean, I think I would be if I had the funds? I like to collect books. NOTHING ELSE THO. Literally books are the only thing I own, hobby-ish. hehe. I keep running into this 50 cents trolley at the library and ZOMG IT'S SO HARD TO PASS. I nearly bought a few books I'd read and sort of enjoyed the other day but then I thought…come now. You're not going to reread it. dON'T BUY IT. *nods* I'm so proud of me. 😉

    • Oh my gosh I would be raiding that trolley like it's crazy, I just can't stay away from bargains. But yes, I need to keep telling myself these things I think.

    • Ah, it started like that for me but then I ran out of space…glad your shelf is filled with your loves.