My name is Holly and I am a recipe hoarder. It started out innocently enough with just collecting cookbooks. Then it grew to tearing recipes out of magazines. And then it spilled over to the internet. I would watch Food Network instead of studying for exams, make desserts instead of sleeping, and spend a lot of money on ingredients I had never heard of and only used once. Then, about five years ago, I realized that I had amassed so many recipes that I felt like it was beginning to take over my kitchen.
It was at that point that I realized something had to give. Did I actually try at least 1/3 of the recipes in the 30+ cookbooks I had? When was the last time I looked through the numerous manila folders where I stashed all the magazine and internet recipes? And then it hit me. I had to do something. It started with going through the cookbooks and deciding what to really keep, and what to give away. (And the cookbooks that I never even opened were re-gifted.) So after years of tinkering, I have come up with an organizing system that works for me. And for those of you who are recipe hoarders as well, hopefully this will help you too.
My secret? I use binders, (many, in fact–and I have one solely dedicated to desserts), and manila folders.
For the recipes that I love and use (whether it be consistently, or just a few times), I put in a binder. They are organized by subject and placed in sheet protectors. I use Post-Its for tabs.
I like using sheet protectors because that way, if I spill food on it while cooking or baking, I can just wipe it off with a damp cloth and move on. No harm done. In the binders I’ve also included tips and tricks. I especially like using information from the magazine Cooks Illustrated. Like the piece here on beef cuts. This is stored in the beginning of my “Beef” section.
I also store recipes from friends and family, written on small recipe cards.
For recipes that I haven’t tried yet, they go in a manila folder. Again, organized by subject. The manila folders currently sit on top of my microwave, so I see it every day. I do this for two reasons. One, so that I see it and it’s accessible. And two, so that I see it and make sure that I get rid of some recipes from time to time.
Every month or so, I go through these folders and get rid of recipes. For every one recipe I keep, I get rid of one. That way, I don’t have a large stack, which was my original problem.
For the cookbooks on the counter, these are books where I’ve used at least 1/3 of the recipes. (Well, that’s the case in most of the books. Some are just good as a reference.) And my absolute favorite recipes, the ones I make all the time, have turned into a little cookbook of its own. And out of all the books and binders I have, this one gets used the most. If you’d like to learn how to make one like this, the tutorial is here.
I hope that by sharing my tips for organizing recipes it will inspire you to do the same. I’m may still be a bit of a hoarder, but at least I’m an organized hoarder. And I’d be curious, as I always like to improve my system, if you have one in place. If so, I’d love to hear about it! Enjoy. xoxo