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Are you buried under a mountain of recipes? Piles of cookbooks, boxes of gravy-stained recipe cards, printouts of recipes you want to try – where does it end? All you really want is a system for honoring your family’s special recipes and organizing new favorites. Try these four methods to bring order to your recipe chaos.
Piles of cookbooks, boxes of gravy-stained recipe cards, printouts of recipes you want to try – where does it end?
All you really want is a system for honoring your family’s special recipes and organizing new favorites. If you’re ready to create a simple, effective, and foolproof system for keeping on top of your recipes, try these four methods to bring order to the chaos:
1. Split your recipe collection in two.
No matter what format you use for organizing your recipes, make at least one critical separation:
Keep your favorite recipes separate from your want-to-try recipes.
Mixing the latest offerings from America’s Test Kitchen or the Food Network with treasured family dishes will only lead to frustration when you’re trying to get dinner on the table.
You can duplicate the recipe organization system you use for your favorites to keep your “someday” recipes ship-shape, or adopt a separate method that works for your collection.
2. Use your scanner.
Got a lot of bulky cookbooks with only a couple favorite recipes in each? Tired of fumbling through crusty boxes of greasy recipe cards?
Ditch the bulk, and flip on your scanner.
You’ll transform a mountain of paper into a tidy digital copy of exactly what you want. Plus, you can easily print, reprint, and share your favorite recipes.
3. Grab a good old 3-ring binder.
I’ve seen some beautiful Shutterfly layouts that allow you to publish your own personal cookbook.
But I’d never do that for my own use!
After all, if you want to add to or modify your recipe book, you’d have to go through the hassle of creating a whole Shutterfly cookbook for consistency. Or, worse still, you’d need to adopt a separate — and different — repository for your recipes.
Either way, you’ve got two books or two systems and it’s dinner time. Where’s that recipe you love? Is it in Volume 1 or Volume 2? In your published book or stuffed in a drawer or loose paper recipes?
Your basic binder solves that problem.
If you’re feeling fancy, type up your recipes so that they’re consistently formatted. If you want an even quicker solution, print out your scanned recipes and your online favorites. Punch three holes, and — if you want to take extra care with your pages — slip them into plastic sheet protectors that slide over the binder rings.
Got recipe cards? Order some plastic photo protector sleeves. They’ll accommodate your recipes and allow them to be filed nicely in a binder.
At a minimum, print a basic cover page and spine label for your binder (so you don’t confuse it with your kid’s homework later). If you’re the crafty type, you can customize your binder further by creating a pretty cover sheet. Toss on an inviting title — something like “Our Family’s Favorite Recipes” or “Exciting Recipes to Try.”
4. Go digital.
If you’ve always got a tablet or smartphone handy, digital may be perfect for your lifestyle.
You can easily access copies of your scanned favorites, but you can also take advantage of online storage systems that are ideal for categorizing, storing, and retrieving recipes.
You’ll have your recipe collection instantly at your fingers and sortable by keywords and tags with popular tools like Pinterest, Evernote, Paprika, or Pepperplate.
If you’re weary of the recipe mess, you want to be able to find all of your favorites, and you love the idea of trying some new dishes, don’t wait on getting organized!
What’s your favorite method for keeping your recipes organized?
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