When it comes to organizing recipes “Less is more.” We have all been there, you have 30 minutes to make dinner and you’ve planned to make that great meal you made last month. But where is the recipe? Which cookbook was it in? You thought you would remember where to find it but now…you don’t. Next thing you know you are frantically fishing through countless
cookbooks and the minutes are ticking away. You have been
meaning to reorganize your recipe collection, but the task is so overwhelming and time consuming that you just don’t know where to start.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. These days with the internet at our fingertips, collecting new recipes is almost too easy for our own good. Before we know it, we end up with a excess of recipes that we never get around to trying, or worse, that we’ve tried, and sort of liked but can’t decide if it’s worth making again. The
following 7 steps will help you manage your recipe collection successfully and simply:
Step 1 - Organize the winning recipes you really use and love and get rid of the rest.
Yes, you heard right, I am giving you permission to throw your luke warm recipes into the recycle bin. A successful cook does not have to have an elaborate recipe collection with volumes of books and recipes
taking up half the kitchen. In fact, just like the clothes hanging in our closets, we only really use about 25% of what we have. Additionally, with today’s technology, some of us also have a digital collection of
recipes we are trying to organize on a device. This is why keeping your paper recipe collection simple is more important than ever. Don’t worry about those tossed recipes, after all, how difficult would it really be to find another zucchini pancake recipe on line if you decide to try it again?
Step 2 - Do not put recipes that you have not tried into your recipe box.
Your recipe collection should only include winning recipes and of course all of those special recipes
that have been carefully preserved and cherished like Grandmas recipe for her famous chocolate cake. Place recipes you would like to try into a separate location until you get around to preparing them. Then ONLY put the recipe into the box if you tried it and it was truly a winner.
Step 3 - Set up a simple recipe box collection system.
I prefer to use a recipe box rather than using a photo album type system because it is easier to change and update my recipes as needed. I use a larger index card system since the larger cards will better fit those recipes you print off of the computer. The larger cards also give me more space for notes and such.
Step 4 - Use a good cookbook index to categorize your box.
Each cookbook index is different so search through several of your books until you find one that works best for you and your recipes. Label your categories and when filing your recipes into the box, ask yourself, “Which category would I look in to find this recipe?”
Step 5 - Let go of perfection.
If you feel obligated to rewrite a recipe you have printed off of the internet neatly onto an index card,
let go of that notion and just do a little cut and pasting. Unless of course…you have too much time on your hands. Your recipe collection does not have to be perfect, it just has to work for you. Finding recipes in a timely manner when you need them is what is important, not having a recipe
system that looks just like your mother’s did.
Step 6 - Eliminate the search for cookbook recipes by using reference cards or a reference page.
What about all those winning recipes that are in your cookbooks? Create a simple and effective system for finding them fast. You can place an index card in the front of each category of your recipe box and use this card as a reference for listing successful cookbook recipes. Again, remember to only
list your winning recipes and include the recipe title, cookbook name and page number. Another method, and the one I prefer, is to create a reference page and tape it to the inside of your cupboard door. Be sure to organize them by food category, NOT by the cookbook it is in. Leave plenty of extra space between each category so that you can add more recipes as needed. You may need more space than just an 8 X11 sheet of paper. Use pencil so that you can erase recipes that have lost their shine over time.
Step 7 - Every time you finish a new meal and declare it “delicious,” immediately write the recipe
information onto the reference card or page before you forget.
This step is equally the most important and most challenging part of keeping your recipes at your fingertips. Making this step part of your routine is the key to preventing your recipes from getting lost in the shuffle. This is why I like the reference page system, it is so easy to just open up the cupboard door
quick jot down the information. I also love having all my recipes displayed inside the cupboard door because I can use it as an idea source when I can't think of anything to make for supper. I just skim
through my list of recipes until I find something that talks to me.
Following these steps will not only save you time, but will make mealtime preparation a more peaceful experience. Keeping this process simple allows you to overhaul your recipe collection system without
spending endless hours putting it together. Put an end to wasting time searching for lost recipes and get started!
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.