Bookish Friends

How to Make Your Own TBR Book Jar

There are a great many ways to keep track of your TBR. In a world of so many books, it can be overwhelming trying to prioritize which book to read next. Plus, as new books come out all the time, your list just keeps growing. Do you track only the books you own or all of the books you hope to read? For me, I’ve found a mixture of Goodreads and a book jar to be the best way to track my TBR.

I started the book jar a few years ago. I have a weird “complex” about going to sleep having just finished a book. For whatever reason, I have to start another book before I go to sleep, even if I only end up reading a few pages. Have you ever tried picking what book you’re going to read next when you’ve just finished something amazing and it’s also late at night? It’s not easy. I found myself pacing my house, going back and forth from bookshelf to bookshelf trying to figure out what to read next. Enter, the book jar.

For me, my book jar tracks the books I own/are currently in my possession. If I get a new book from my Page One Subscription or because I impulse purchased it, the title goes on a slip of paper and right into the jar. I even include eBooks as well! (Seriously, it’s so easy to lose track of books on your Kindle!)

What You Need

To make your own book jar, you only need a few things:

  • A jar of your choosing. I went to my local Walmart and just picked up the least expensive one they had. For me, it was probably less than $3. I’ve seen people use Mason Jars or even coffee mugs. Really, anything that you can add to, close, and shake up will work for this.
  • Slips of paper. It just so happened that I needed some colorful paper for a work project, so I used it for my book jar as well. However, printer paper, notebook paper, index cards, construction paper, etc. will work too.
  • Writing utensil. These are my favorite pens of all time. (I love office supplies, so you can trust me on this one. I’ve tried all the pens.)
  • Access to your bookshelves. You’ll need to be able to see what books you own that you haven’t read!

Chances are, you already have everything you need for this project around your house. From start to finish, it took me about an hour to create my book jar. However, I was distracted with whatever I was streaming at the time AND all of my paper needed to be the same size and such. (For the record, I have since become way more flexible with it.)

How to Create Your Book Jar

This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever. You already (probably) have all the materials you need right at home. Here’s how you make the book jar:

  1. Go up and down your bookshelves to find the books that you own and haven’t read yet. If you want to include your Kindle or other eReader books as well, you should have that with you.
  2. Write each book title down on a slip of paper. You can also include the author if you want, but that’s up to you. I did at first, but I don’t anymore.
  3. Fold up the slips of paper and add them to your jar.

I told you it was simple! Once you have a book jar, it makes it so much easier to “decide” what book to read next because you don’t actually have to decide. The jar does it for you! However, I am still a mood reader, so I will put a slip of paper back in the jar if I don’t entirely feel like reading the book at that time.

As a final caveat, this only tracks the books that you currently own. It does not take into account library books or your overall TBR list. Again, I still use Goodreads for that. Plus, it’s helpful for me to track the books I’m currently reading.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, so I may receive a small commission from sales generated (at no extra cost to you). Happy shopping!