The No New Book Challenge: Why I’m Showing My Bookshelves Some Love This Year

I am one of those who falls into the problems of too many books to read yet not enough time to read them all. The struggle is real I assure you all!

I collect books like some collet shoes or other valuable accessory. I’ve always been a book hoarder, I guess there could be worse things to collect but for me books is it.

Are your bookshelves overflowing with books just waiting to be read? Why not commit to a No New Book Challenge this year? Commit to only reading the books you already own and show your bookshelves some much needed love!

When I was a child I would save my allowance for trips to the big, dreamy 4-story Barnes and Noble. Other kids would have preferred to go to the toy store with their plastic coin purse bulging with their cash.


Nope, it was the book store that called my heart.

I would ride the multi-story escalator up to the top floor where the children’s section was housed. I have no idea what my mother did during this time because my browsing was not to be rushed.

This was an event.

I would browse the chapter books looking for a new favorite, even though I was always drawn to the series of my youth including The Boxcar Children, the original American Girl Books (think Samantha, Molly and Kirsten), Anne of Green Gables and even The Babysitter’s Club. When I was even younger, it was The Berenstain Bear books that filled my bursting bookshelves.

Carefully picking my selection (it was a glorious day if I got to purchase more than one book!) I would find my mother, we would pay and I would spend the rest of our shopping trip holding that book bag proudly impatiently waiting to get home to read.

As an adult the thrill of purchasing new books hasn’t left me although I don’t get to browse the bookstore as frequently but the thrill of receiving an Amazon package on my front step is equally thrilling.

The ability to order any book I could ever dream of and have it delivered right to my door is a luxury to the modern day mom who doesn’t get out of the house much without the hassle of bundling up three little ones.

The “Buy with 1-Click” Amazon button is both my friend and my nemesis. While it certainly is convenient, it also fuels my book hoarding addiction.

Can I get an amen?

Are your bookshelves overflowing with books just waiting to be read? Why not commit to a No New Book Challenge this year? Commit to only reading the books you already own and show your bookshelves some much needed love!

This is my main bookshelf that houses all of my books. The second from the top is the one filled with books I haven’t read yet. 

I’m a little ashamed to admit this but I currently have a whole bookshelf full with books I haven’t yet read but I have collected over the past few years. Some books I have purchased myself, others have been given to me but the problem is I keep collecting but I’m not reading them.


Why do I keep collecting books?

I don’t collect other things like this yet books are my weakness. My husband even rolls his eyes when he sees an Amazon package arrive on our doorstep because he knows.

There are a few legitimate reasons, the main two being:

  • My library holds keep coming up preventing me from reading the books I already own
  • The amount of time I actually have to read is limited these days

I have a slight addiction placing books I want to read on hold at the library and usually they always come due at the same time.

I’ve gotten a tab bit smarter about this and use my library’s website with a little bit more intention now. For instance my library has the option of adding books to a “To Read” virtual shelf, which is similar to an Amazon Wish list. It doesn’t place the book on hold rather it just keeps it on a list so when I do want to request it, it’s there waiting for me.

Still though my virtual “To Read” shelf is also quite extensive, and we won’t even address how long my Amazon wish list is!

The amount of books I want to read is so large, and it keeps being added to as more fabulous books are being recommended to me or some of my favorite writers are publishing new books (Can you all please stop writing for a bit please, so I can catch up? Thank you very much!)

In December I was placing some new books on my overcrowded bookshelves (these books I didn’t buy but were given to me) and my eyes scanned all the books that I had collected. My heart hurt a bit because I was realizing my problem…. and yes, a book addiction can sometimes be a problem.

Are your bookshelves overflowing with books just waiting to be read? Why not commit to a No New Book Challenge this year? Commit to only reading the books you already own and show your bookshelves some much needed love!

The is view #1 of my bookshelf I’m going to love this year. 

So many books I desperately want to read yet were continuously being pushed back further from my own To Read list. So I made the decisions right then and there. I would real ALL (OK let’s be realistic) MOST of those books in 2016.

Reading what I already own is key this year and to help me out I have challenged myself to not buy a single new book this year. I’m not going to lie, this is going to be HARD especially when I know of a few new books being released this spring from some of my favorite authors.

Are your bookshelves overflowing with books just waiting to be read? Why not commit to a No New Book Challenge this year? Commit to only reading the books you already own and show your bookshelves some much needed love!

View #2 of my bookshelf.

But I have to show my shelves some love this year. I need to stop fueling my own book addiction and purposely read what I already have invested in. I need to discipline myself and practice a little bit of self-control.

Would you like to join me?

The No New Book Challenge {Reading What You Already Have}

I’m thinking I’m not the only one who has a slight problem when it comes to overflowing bookshelves filled with books we haven’t read… yet.

So I’m creating a little challenge for myself. Are you curious?

This year let’s make the choice to show own bookshelves some love by making the conscious choice to refrain from bringing in any new books until we have read what we already own. Let’s challenge ourselves

Are you with me?

The Guidelines

When I challenge myself to do something hard (OK I realize reading books I already own isn’t that hardest thing in the world) I also need to make a few guidelines to keep myself accountable.

Here are the rules for the No New Book Challenge

  • Do not spend a single penny on any new books this entire year… not one cent!
  • Do not check out any new books from the library (FYI this only applies to us, not books for our kids)
  • Do not download any free or cheap Kindle deals (This might just be the hardest!)
  • Place any new book recommendations of books you want to read on a list, like a virtual library “To Read” list or Amazon wish list. Save this list for later but don’t browse it regularly.
  • Stay out of the bookstore… I repeat, stay out of the bookstore (and off of Amazon if you must!)

I found it helpful to rearrange my books to place all the books I needed to read this year on the same bookshelf. Did you see my bookshelves above?

I even organized it a little more to group similar books together, for example all fiction together, all spiritual growth books together, homemaking books together, etc. This way to keep it fun I have a variety to choose from.

What About Digital Books?

This also included all the unread books I have stored on my Kindle too. Collecting virtual books is a whole other issue but let’s just say the number of books I have housed on my Kindle could last me for years!

Most of them were free books I downloaded on a whim, and to be honest probably should just be deleted, but there are also some gems on there too. I have a whole separate post on how to organize your digital books.

So along with reading the physical books from my shelves, I’m also committed to reading many of the digital books on my Kindle too

Let’s Show Our Bookshelves Some Love This Year

Every week I’ll be sharing what I’m reading in my Weekly Review post on Saturdays, as well as a monthly review of everything I’ve read over the month.

You all are my accountability 😉

I’m excited to commit to only reading the books I already own this year but know I’ll be tempted along the way which is exactly why I’m sharing my challenge you! I have so many treasures waiting be read!

You can also join in the on the challenge with hashtag #NoNewBooks2016 or #BookShelfLove and tagging me on Twitter (@CreativeHomeKPR) or Instagram (@victorialynnosborn). You can also share your posts on the Facebook page too.

What about you? Have you ever challenged yourself to love your bookshelves?

Are your bookshelves overflowing with books just waiting to be read? Why not commit to a No New Book Challenge this year? Commit to only reading the books you already own and show your bookshelves some much needed love!

**Affiliate links may be used in the post meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. You can read my disclosure policy here. Thanks for supporting CHK!

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  1. I am right there with you! For the past year I have not allowed myself to buy any new books or craft supplies until I read the books I have and complete the crafts I have already started. The only thing I am doing differently than you is I am allowing myself to “buy” free Kindle books. My priorities are magazines I have not gotten around to reading (I have already stopped all subscriptions), then books on my bookshelf (to pass along/declutter), then PDF ebooks on the computer (including your Simplify) and then I’ll work on the Kindle. I figure they take up no space and are not cluttering my hard drive. In order to make this happen, I have bumped my bedtime 30 minutes earlier to read every night. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t happen. Be strong fellow book lover, you can do it!

    1. It’s amazing how much time we have to read when we create time for it. Love that you are making it a priority to read for 30 minutes every night before bed!

  2. i was planning on doing a version of this too! i own 30 unread books – but none of them are fiction. So i plan on borrowing fiction from the library and reading from my unreads for nonfiction. Mostly i read nonfiction anyway but i wanted some breathing room 🙂 i also have a few books that i borrowed from friends that i still need to read. Oops!

    i like to go to to read other people’s reviews so i can pysch myself up for that book that is sitting on the shelf and currently loos unappealing. Once i do that i remember why i bought it in the first place and i want to dive in 🙂

    1. That’s a great compromise making sure you get to read both fiction and non-fiction. Most of my physical books are non-fiction but I have a ton of fiction books on my Kindle. I also love your idea about heading to GoodReads to check out other reviews. Sometimes I forget why a book was added to my collection so I need to do that!

  3. I love that I came across this today! I decided to do the same thing about a week ago. I have so many books I want to get through! It’s also a way to declutter my home. I have many books from my mom and others and I cannot get myself to return them until I have read them. It will be satisfying to read a few books this year and then get them out of my house.

    Good luck in this challenge! I’m with you. 🙂

    1. Along with not reading any new books until I read the books I already own, I also need to work on letting go of those books after I read them! Book clutter is probably my biggest area of clutter 😉

  4. What a great idea! I started keeping a list of books that I own but haven’t read and am slowly moving them to my “read this year” list. I probably have at least 30 on this list- more than enough to read this year. I’m with you.

    1. That’s a good idea to keep a list of books you own but need to read. My to-read list is a lot longer than 30 books 😉 so we shall see!

  5. Hmmm… I don’t know if I can do this 🙂 But I love the idea. I have a lot of books to read that are on my bookshelf but I think it is very possible to read them all this year. Maybe once I read them all then I will allow myself to buy more right away? 🙂 It’s a great challenge!!

    1. Yes, I realize this challenge isn’t for everyone but as you shared, it’s adaptable to fit your own rules. I knew for me I just had to draw a strong line for myself or else those books would keep sitting there not being read. 🙂

  6. Leah McLean says:

    I am DEFINITELY doing this challenge! I wish I could show you my list of books…it’s so bad. LOL

    1. Yeah Leah! So glad you are jumping on board. My bookshelves need some love, even though it’ll be so tempting! 😉 I’ll be posting updates and reports here monthly to help keep myself accountable and to encourage you all too!

  7. This is a great idea! I’m on board with this challenge. I have lots of books and ebooks to read. But it’s so hard not to download free books that seem interesting or are from favorite others! Maybe I’ll download free ones only and read them after I read the ebooks I’ve already downloaded. Looks like I’ll be moving the book shelf with junk on it into my room this weekend like I’ve been planning to do for months. 🙂

    1. Free eBooks are my weakness too! Good luck as you organize and set up a shelf for the books you are going to love this year!

  8. Hi, I just found your blog from Intentional by Grace. I can relate to this post. I’ve “collected” a lot of books over the years that fill up 3 long shelves and a large container that slides under my bed. I’m also a fan of my local library. I like most of you here know my library card number by heart. It’s going to be tough to get through all of this but you’ve inspired my to show my own bookshelves some love. Thank you for making this blog! I’m obsessed!

    1. So glad to have you Erin! My library now has an app on my phone where I can check out and reserve books straight from the comfort of my comfortable chair and let’s just say while that is super convenient, it has defiently lead to this issue! LOL

  9. I love this idea and it’s exactly what I needed to see today! I literally have hundreds of books to read but recently was gifted a kindle and I rapidly sank down the rabbit hole of free books, getting sucked into series, and losing so much time on my Kindle! We’re moving soon and as I packed up my library (the fact that I have a room for books should tell you how bad my addiction is!) and fell in love with each one all over again and wondered why I hadn’t read any of them yet! Thank you for sharing this idea! Here’s to happy reading and loving our shelves!

    1. I think if I had to pack up all my books for a move too Claire, I would cry! LOL So many books! But I’m glad it was a reminder to go back and show those beloved books some much needed love again. Hopefully once you are settled in your new place you can read those again. And as for the Kindle…. it’s such a challenge! I mean who can turn down free books?!?!?! 🙂

  10. This is a great idea! I have gotten sick of looking at my filled shelves so I moved them into the walk in closet and attic. (Now it looks like an Amazon warehouse in both!) So I have started reading them halfway then listing them for sale before I am even done reading them. This forces me to finish them quicker because “Any day now they could be sold!” Tough reality check! lol.

  11. I had decided to do this for 2017 before I saw the link to this post. I’ve got no excuse for my book addiction, but I need to get it under control! (I have the Kindle App from Amazon to read books on my computer and I haven’t even touched it. There are probably a thousand freebies on there. Disgraceful.)

    I have one last order from Amazon that I need to put in before the end of the year–a copy of Women of the Word and two or three manuals for sewing, etc.–but I have stacks on my shelves in my bedroom ready to go for next year.

    Oh, and the rest of the ebooks from the last couple years’ Ultimate Bundles. Those things are killer!

  12. How are you doing? Have you run out of things to read? My goal for 2019 was to read all the books that I purchase/acquire in 2019. I have been keeping a list of purchase I acquire and then ticking them off when I read them. I just went on a book buying moratorium for 60 days hoping that I will be able to read what I have. This doesn’t include books from previous years. I might focus on that a bit in 2020.

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