Overflowing with stacks of recipes? Here's a super simple way for organizing recipes that uses easy to find photo albums and binders to make finding a certain recipe easy again.
One of the goals for 2010 was to do an organization series. So far I've written about how I organize the contents of my freezer and today I'm talking about organizing printed recipes.
I should admit that I'm not a super organized person. But I do like organizing and have found a few strategies that work for me that I would like to share. I like to think about real life organizing, you know? It may not be picture perfect, but it works!
One of them is organizing recipes, because I found myself dealing with a lot of printed recipes that I would have to thumb through to find what I wanted. And the system I came up with has worked really well with little money spent.
I do not, however, think my recipe organization method is the best, most awesome method ever. But I'm sharing anyway.
Why? Because I don't believe a perfect organization method exists.
Each person has different amounts of time, energy, and needs, so a one-size-fits-all approach just won't work. But seeing how other people do things does one of two things that are helpful:
- It inspires us to use part that does work and create a hybrid system that works for us
- OR, it makes so much sense to us that we just copy it!
And I do have to say that when I started this method for organizing recipes, it was like a light going off for me! It immediately became easier to find a recipe I wanted without going through stacks (and stacks...) of papers.
But no matter what method you choose, hopefully you'll be inspired to get those recipes in order!
I keep my most used cookbooks above the stove along with the binders I've created for organizing my recipes.
I have a two-binder system, which you can see illustrated above: the two binders on the right are slightly bigger and hold certain types of printed recipes while the regular 8 x 10 inch binders to the left are divided by categories.
The first type of binder is for small clippings and recipe cards.
These "binders" are actually three-pocket page photo albums.
I found two that coordinated with my decor at Target years ago. They had a fabric type cover, though, so I used clear Contact paper over the outsides to protect them.
And since they were both the same (because I really liked them...) I just numbered them "1" and "2." After a bit I just came to know the categories in each.
You can make it easier on yourself and get different ones if you'd like.
To make divisions, simply attach stick-on tabs from an office store.
This is another bonus to making your own versus using a pre-made system. You can make as many divisions as you need and use labels that make the most sense to you.
Here are the divisions in each book as examples:
Small recipes book 1:
- Meat (beef & pork)
Small recipes book 2:
Then simply place all the recipes you've collected that fit in the photo sleeves (well, after you probably throw a bunch away that you wonder why you'd been keeping, if you're anything like me...).
TIP: Some I have to pull out to read the whole recipe, but I try to cut and tape them so they can be read without having to be taken out.
This is photo album method is pretty simple, but was such a revelation for me. It is SO much easier than the little recipe boxes and files I attempted to use before.
The second type of binder can hold larger recipes.
The little photo pockets obviously don't work for large recipes from magazines or printed online, so I use a basic three-ring binder with divider pages labeled similar to the photo albums.
They include clear page covers which make it easy to slide large clippings into (or out of...) as well as regular hole-punched pages.
This is what most people use, I think, but what helped me was realizing I didn't have to try and fit all the recipes into one size binder - it's okay to have two.
Because those little clippings and recipe cards were a pain to try and fit into the large binders. I find it much easier to slip them into the photo pockets.
One large binder or two (or more...)?
Depending on how many recipes you collect, one binder with divisions may be fine for you.
Once I outgrew one, though, so I divided the categories into three of these large binders:
And then I created some recipe-specific binders when those recipes started piling up:
- Slow-cooker recipes
- A binder for homemade "basics" recipes (Pantry basics as well as health/beauty recipes)
- Our past menus
TIP: I keep our past menus to be able to refer to when making new menus and I arrange them by month so I can easily find what we like to eat for that season using what is growing in the garden or on sale.
The Organizing Recipes Video
Now please make sure to watch the accompanying video Brian made about this!
A video on recipe organization? Yeah, I know - I've tried to tell you he is weird and now you've got the proof.
But he's good for a laugh. Actually he's great for a laugh. It's what makes life so fun with him.