Thursday, July 5, 2012

recipe organization.

a few years ago i was in dire need of help. my recipes were ALL OVER THE PLACE. i had some of them in misc piles, in binders, on the computer, in magazines, etc., etc. i hunted high and low for organization ideas. i'd seen lots of different methods, but i needed something that worked with my train of thought not someone else's {every body works differently, so should their organization. i needed something that fit me}. 

i finally came up with a game plan that merged several different ideas i've seen over the years and i've never looked back. it works perfectly for me! not gonna lie, it took sometime, but i did it all in 3 phases, which helped to break up the daunting task.

in a nut shell, i created folders to hold all the recipes i've saved that sound yummy, but i've never tried. i also created a family cookbook, full of recipes that we've tried and loved! no more going to multiple places to find recipes or sifting through things i haven't made mixed with things i have. the best part about this though is that it's STAYED ORGANIZED! it's so easy to temporarily store something i don't have time to specifically file, keeping things decluttered until i have the time to put it right where it goes. hope this helps you think of a method that works for you!

creative idea #20: recipe organization.
idea sparked by: sadly, i don't remember where all the bits and pieces of the idea came from. it's been awhile.

PHASE 1: recipes you HAVEN'T tried {loose pages}.

  • folders. {# depends on how many categories you chose.}
  • magazine holder.
  • address labels.
  • sharpie.
  • loose leaf recipes.
  • gather all the recipes you own, that you've NEVER made before. tear them out of magazines, print them off your computer.
  • determine how you want to sort them and begin separating them into piles. i chose:
      • breakfast.
      • drinks.
      • condiments.
      • snacks, apps, and sides. {these 3 things overlap in my opinion, so i combined them.}
      • entrees.
      • salads.
      • bread.
      • dessert.
      • food facts. {i keep misc info here like how to substitute oil for butter.}
  • place each pile of paper into a different folder. 
{i put all the small pages on one
side and the full sized pages
on the other so they're easier
to find.}
  • use an address label and sharpie to label each folder.
  • place all folders into magazine holder. through out the week, as i find recipes i like, i stick them in the magazine holder. whenever i have the time, i sit down with the stack of unsorted recipes and put them all away.
{i chose a different design
for each folder so i can
remember which design is
which category and grab
what i need quickly
rather than pull out each
folder to find the "entree"
one, or whatever.}
  • give yourself a high five.
PHASE 2: recipes you HAVE tried {loose pages}.

  • a binder. i went with a 2 inch one.
  • page dividers.
  • 3 hole punch.
  • printer paper.
  • tape.
  • loose leaf recipes.
  • gather all the recipes you own that you HAVE made before. tear them out of magazines, print them off your computer.
  • insert labels into page divider tabs that are the same as the categories you chose in phase 1.
{i need to redo my tabs.
i never finished them.}
{i also added tabs for things like:
  • Grocery List - i keep notebook paper behind this tab so i can make my list easily. 
  • Try Soon - for recipes i can't fit in this week but that i don't want to forget that it sounded so good! i check here first when i'm meal planning.
  • Seasonal Produce - I'm trying to get better about shopping what's in season, but i can't meal plan around it if i can never remember what's fresh! i printed off a list for all 4 seasons. }
  • BONUS STEP: add subcategories. i only did this in the entree section with the following subtitles:
      • crockpot.
      • sandwiches.
      • ethnic.
      • grill.
  • 3 hole punch all your recipes and place in the corresponding section of your binder.
  • any recipes that were small on a large piece of paper, i cut out. i taped these, along with other small recipes, to computer paper and hole punched them. i wanted this to be as uniform as possible! i didn't want all my pages to be different sizes.
  • give your self a round of applause.
PHASE 3: recipes you HAVE tried {cookbooks}.

  • notebook paper. {1 per category in your binder - including subsections}
  • pencil.
  • all your cookbooks.
  • at the top of each page, write a different category name.
  • go through every stinkin' cookbook you own. if you made it and you would eat it again, write it down on the corresponding piece of notebook paper with the name of the cookbook and page number.
  • when you are FINALLY finished, insert each page at the beginning of each corresponding section of your binder.
  • whenever i made a recipe we loved but don't have the time to hole punch it and put it in the right section (sounds silly, but it happens...), i just stick it in the front pocket and get to it when i can!
  • treat yourself to a nap.
how does this work?
  1. anytime you make a new meal from your folders either throw it away if you didn't like it, or insert it into your binder if you would make it again.
  2. you have now created your own personal cookbook. a giant go-to for all your favorite recipes. no need to shuffle through recipes you don't really like to find something to make for company, you have tried and true recipes at your finger tips!
misc. tip:

take notes on all the recipes you keep. i like to write down: 
    • if it would be great for company.
    • what i would change next time i make it.
    • if it would freeze well.
    • if it would be a good meal to take to someone.
    • what would go well with it.
    • who we made it for if we had company over that night. it's fun to go through the binder and remember all the fun times we've had at the dinner table. :-)
love and organized recipes,

ps - i'm working on rearranging my pinterest food boards to line up with these categories also, and to only include recipes i haven't tried. i'll delete any i have, to remove visual clutter and keep the concept the same as my folders/magazine holder. i'm all about uniformity.


  1. Hopping over from Weekend Whatever. I LOVE this post. I love any post about organizing...and this is a great idea. I had organized mine as well - but they have once again deteriorated into disorganization. So, I think this weekend I will start all over again and get them better organized! I would love for you to link up this post on my blog right here:

    Blessings from Zagreb: A Little R & R:

  2. so glad you like it! i linked up this and another meal planning organization system i use :-) i totally know what you mean about things falling apart! with the system, my recipes are well in order, but every other aspect of my homekeeping life is in major need of overhaul...i can't figure out a system that works well enough for me to stay on top of it!

  3. Great tips! I WISH I could be that organized! Stopping by from the blog hop and am now your newest follower:) Hope you can come check out Crazy Mama Drama !

  4. This looks like a great system! Thank you for sharing. I'll be pinning!

  5. Looks great! I know I couldn't live without mine now that I made it. Thanks for linking up at Making Space Mondays. I hope we see you there next week! -Tabitha