Before anything else, I live in the Philippines. ?? Which only has two seasons: wet and dry. So, technically, spring isn’t really ✨ A Thing ✨ here. This also means that I don’t know anything about the four seasons unless we’re talking about the delightfully fruity drink. But I needed a cute and witty blog post title. So, here we are!
2020 has been a huge mess. In just about every sense of the word, it seems. For instance, the Philippine economy is in shambles. Politicians consistently shit the bed. Regular schedules, such as the academic calendar, have been significantly disrupted. With students scrambling to raise enough money to enroll and participate in remote learning. And this is just my country.
The scale of messiness is colossal, if not global. Unfortunately, a lot of it is beyond our control. And that can be very frustrating. Moreover, if you’re like me, it can induce some anxiety every now and then. But there are also smaller and personal messes that we do have control over. Thus, the main agenda of this blog post.
Spring Cleaning. But in September.
Despite all the lockdowns and questionable iterations of community quarantines, 2020 has been eventful and hectic for me. In fact, I mentioned some huge personal milestones in a previous blog post. The busyness of 2020 and my deteriorating motivation have collectively led to my lack of productivity. And as a result, there are several tasks that I haven’t gotten to. Hence, I’m dedicating the month of September to cleaning up after my own small and personal messes. (And also, a bit of casual job-hunting.)
1. Books in my physical library
Believe it or not, I grew up as a voracious reader without a collection of books. Prior to college, I owned less than 10 books (all of which were gifts from friends and guys who had a crush on me ?) and I had no proper bookshelf whatsoever. This was because I was taught that buying books is frivolous and irresponsible — a lesson from lower middle-class households, I guess. But that’s a story for a different post.
I bought my first book when I was in my third year of college. It was a secondhand copy, and I was 18 years old. Admittedly, I only started buying my own books after I decided to commit to my book blog. (Book blogging and consumerism is another potential blog post, by the way. ?) In other words, my personal collection of books started and grew in my college dorm. Miles and miles away from my hometown. And definitely away from the disapproving watch of my parents.
Over the years, I’ve amassed more than 150 books. And you know what? I hate myself for it. Seeing my small shelf and the balikbayan boxes stuffed with books fills me with so much guilt. Not just because of the money I spent, but also — and more importantly — because of the impracticality. For instance, I intend to move out of my house someday. And moving a huge collection of books? Sounds like a nightmare.
By the end of September, I want to unhaul at least 40% of the books I own. That is a minimum of 60 books. Honestly, I might be a little too ambitious for my own good. But I think that I’ve come up with a streamlined process that will help me achieve this goal:
Aside from unhauling books, I want to have a database of all the books and ARCs I own. I’m honestly a hoe for pretty spreadsheets. Additionally, I have the worst memory ever. So, having a regularly updated catalogue would be extremely useful to me. I had been toying around a spreadsheet tracker last June, and it’s finally ready to be filled out with book titles, book condition details, source details, among other information.
2. Shelves on Goodreads
Now that I’m no longer using the conventional star-rating system, I need my Goodreads shelves to better reflect my new system for evaluating books. This new system involves the use of recommendation levels and the exclusive use of 1-4-5 star ratings.
Unfortunately, in its current state, my Goodreads account is incredibly disorganized. Aside from having to categorize books into my new recommendation shelves, I also need to update my star ratings, clear out books that I’m no longer interested in, and if I’m feeling extra diligent, add a few reviews. I know that this is a very, very tall order. Which is why I’m finally(!!!) making #goodreadance2020 a thing.
A few months ago, I offered to host a ✨?? group goodreads spring cleaning ??✨ where we hold each other accountable in organizing our shelves, updating our star ratings, and reducing our “want-to-read” pile. Back then, the original plan was to host a week-long activity.
However, after much thought, I’ve decided to make this challenge as light, uncomplicated, and pressure-free as possible. I definitely do not want to impose the mindset that your worth is equivalent to your level of productivity. (Because it’s not.) I also recognize that deadlines and requirements — even arbitrary ones — can cause anxiety and stress. And most importantly, I understand that we all cope differently. And all these ways are valid!
Personally, work and escapism are my two coping mechanisms. I either throw myself into tasks or throw myself into fiction. The Goodreads Spring Cleaning Challenge (or #goodreadance2020) is intended for readers who cope by distracting themselves with tasks. Nonetheless, I want this challenge to focus more on the experience than the end results. If you want to join in and participate, the details are provided below:
Goodreads Spring Cleaning Challenge
The Goodreads Spring Cleaning Challenge is otherwise known as #goodreadance2020, a pitiful pun that infuses ‘Goodreads’ and ‘good riddance’ together. Running from the first to last days of September, it is a month-long challenge dedicated to any and/or all of the following goals:
- Sorting or organizing your shelves on Goodreads
- Removing book titles that you are no longer interested in
- Updating or changing your star ratings
- Writing Goodreads reviews for the books you’ve read
- And most importantly, sharing your approaches, goals, and personal experiences over time
How can you participate?
Simple. Just use the hashtag #goodreadance2020. Share whatever updates or tidbits that you feel like sharing! You can set concrete goals for yourself, or you can opt not to. It’s all up to you!
What else can you do?
If you’re feeling extra, you can challenge yourself further by completing some of these prompts and mini-challenges:
- Form a game plan and write about it. How will you reorganize your shelves? What criteria will you use for removing books from your shelves? How will your rating system change? How will you keep track of your progress?
- Create concrete, measurable goals. By the end of the challenge, how many books should be in your ‘want-to-read’ shelf? How many reviews will you write? What are your target numbers, ratios, and percentages?
- Do a before-and-after update. Before the start of #goodreadance2020, how did your Goodreads look like? And how did it look like after? How helpful was this challenge to you?
- Share tips and strategies. These can be extremely valuable to other participants and even non-participating readers who want to revamp their Goodreads someday. (I would personally love tips on how to effectively organize my Goodreads shelves.)
- Reflect after the challenge. What are your main takeaways from this challenge? Did you learn anything? Would you encourage other people to try it?
If you decide to write a blog post dedicated to #goodreadance2020, please link back to this post so that other people can find the challenge details and prompts. (Plus, I would love to see everyone’s experiences with the challenge!)
3. Spreadsheet trackers and databases for books
This is sort of, kind of related to Item #1. Over the past few months, I’ve been quietly working on a set of comprehensive spreadsheets that collectively make up the Ultimate Reader Spreadsheet. It’s a series of trackers and databases that every reader can use to effectively step up your reading and reviewing game. Additionally, I’ve posted a few teasers on Twitter, and I do plan to share them with all of you someday.
Currently, the Ultimate Reader Spreadsheet encompasses and includes the following:
- Separate databases for physical books, e-books, and Advanced Review Copies (ARCs)
- Database and tracker for books on your wish list
- Database of publisher contacts
- Tracker for reading and reviewing books
- Tracker for purchasing books
- Tracker for requesting ARCs
As a perfectionist, I don’t feel comfortable with sharing my work until I’ve tested it out myself. Thus, my goal for September is to test my spreadsheets, refine the features, and make as many improvements as possible. Afterward, I can finally move forward and take the necessary steps to make my spreadsheets publicly accessible.
4. Boxes from my college dorm
Last July, I picked up the last of my things from my college dorm in UP Diliman. It was definitely a bittersweet moment for me. Especially since I had been a proud dormer throughout my whole stay in college. But I digress. Because I’m admittedly a lazy bum, I haven’t finished unpacking the boxes. In fact, I only grabbed and wiped my books and called it a day. ?
I definitely need to get the whole unpacking thing over with. Ideally, before September ends. Hold me accountable!
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I’d love to hear from you!
? What are your plans and goals for September?
? Are you going to participate in the first-ever Goodreads Spring Cleaning Challenge? Will you give the prompts and mini-challenges a try?
? Do you keep spreadsheets to track your reading? What are your thoughts on the Ultimate Reader Spreadsheet? Would it be something that interests you?