list I’ll admit it: I like to play with my books. I have far too many books. And as with most of us, that means I have storage problems. Over the years I have tried dozens of different methods to organize them – keeping them in bins by author, by genre, by subgenre – and yet for all the brilliance of the plans, for all the hours I put into said plans, I have yet to find a permanent solution. Right now, my books are loosely stored by type in plastic bins in my basement. Mary Balogh books have received their own bin but the rest are stored pretty willy nilly . The only thing I make sure of is that the bins are well sealed. I don’t want mold or damp or some similar book damaging pestilence to get at them.

I should mention that I would love to have all my books on shelves throughout my home. However, my house is small and the books are many. It just isn’t feasible at this point. And the bins are working. Since I very rarely re-read anymore and since my friends are reading the same things I am, I don’t need to delve into old books very often. A part of me wonders why I am keeping them but I know that a dark part of my soul is storing them against a future book apocalypse. What if they suddenly stop publishing things I like? At least several hundred of my favorites are stored carefully in my basement, waiting for those dark days.

And of course whenever I tire of rereads, there is always my to be read pile.

I did organize that. The fact was that the four small shelves I had dedicated to it were simply overflowing. It was organize or risk having books perish. To begin, I had guesstimated my TBR at being about sixty books. I was off by roughly a hundred. While I know many folks do a complicated spread sheet approach to cataloging their bounty, I went extremely old school with mine. The reason is simple: I don’t plan to keep most of these books. I plan to read and release, so to speak, by taking them to the UBS once finished. Only a handful will make DIK status. So I took a binder, some alphabetized dividers and some loose leaf paper and went to town writing down everything I had. I organized the shelves alphabetically by title and did the same with the written record. I’ve taken a certain amount of joy in crossing off books as I read them, though I will admit to having had to the list as well.

One of the things that surprised me was how much I simply enjoyed playing with my books. Pulling them out and being surprised to find a title that I wasn’t expecting. The satisfaction gained from having some idea of how many there were and what they were. Writing them down and then crossing them off. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. With the holidays approaching I know I will not have time to organize my bins but getting the shelves done has inspired me. I want to do them and I plan to finally do a really thorough job of – numbering, labeling, and recording everything.

So, here’s my questions to you – do you like to play with your books? Take them out, dust them off, make lists of them? And how do you store your TBR books?

– Maggie Boyd