Sunday, February 22, 2009

Organizing Things

I've been cleaning out around the house. I have many piles.

I have sold quite a few things in the last several weeks (thank you, craigslist!), but I still have many items left to go. I will eventually have a yard sale, but I'm waiting for warmer weather. Seriously, this is my dining room table full of stuff to sell.
This picture doesn't even show the stuff on the floor in front of the table!

It's mostly stuff from the baby phase of our life (when we had lots of double items, too). Other things are just not used, so they need to go. It's so wonderful to be de-cluttering our house and garage.

But, the reason for my post today is actually RECIPES!

As I have been cleaning out my house and just living life, my recipe collection has been haunting me.

I sold quite a few recipe books in yard sales before moving from Pennsylvania. So, my cookbook collection isn't that crazy. I will probably get rid of a few more in the months ahead, but right now that part is okay.
What's haunting me is a pile of recipe cards that are stacked up and lots of recipes torn from magazines.
Just look at the pile!!!

I have tried to think of a way to organize my recipes so it works best for my lifestyle. I really like having the 4x6 card in front of me by the stove. Our apartment had a magnetic backsplash above the stove and I would just clip the recipe in a magnetic chip clip. I loved it! I have yet to figure out a good thing here at our house.

Also, I was gifted with a very nice recipe book from some special ladies. You can slide your 4x6 recipe cards into the sleeves and organize them by category. I loved it (being able to fully see the recipe as I flip through them) and immediately took out all my 4x6 cards to organize. Problem--not enough pages. And, I can't find refills. (The only ones online are not very inexpensive. So, they're not for me!)

I've been scouring the web for recipe organization. You wouldn't believe how popular a topic it is!

I think I've come up with two options.

The first one came to me while I was shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday. Punch a hole in the top left corner of each 4x6 card and put it on a ring. Have a ring for each food category (I don't get too detailed on categories.)

The second one came today while I was browsing the web. Get a 3-ring binder and page protectors. Slide recipes from magazines or print-outs from the web in page protectors. Get some protectors with 4x6 photo holders and use those for my cards. Only drawback to this method is just how many cards I have and the fact that those photo sheet protectors aren't super cheap either (they are cheaper than the refills for the smaller book I was gifted).

Both these options will allow for expansion and are flexible. They both will allow me to remove my 4x6 card. The cards on rings will require all my magazine recipes to be written on a card--maybe. The binder would allow me to have a pocket page where I can slide recipes yet to be tried.

So...what do YOU think? Come on, my friends! Please, please leave a comment and a suggestion. Even if you just say "I like idea #2" or vice versa. Let me know you're reading. Help me get organized!!!

And, no posting is truly complete without a shot of adorable cooks!


  1. Megan, I have started using manila folders with categories, and I just slip my photocopies/ printouts/ magazine tearouts in there without having to hassle with plastic protectors (did that for a while). I also still have a 3x5 card file that I still use. All of this is in a basket on a shelf in my kitchen; very easy access. :) ~Heidi

  2. Yes, those are adorable little cooks.
    About recipe organization, I like the second idea. It seems like having the cards on rings would not work so well. Because if you are like me, you would accidentally rip them off. Unless you use eyelets around the holes or something. But those are not cheap, and it would be way too time consuming to do that to all of them.
    Another idea that I've had is to make a photo book of my family's favorite recipes. I'm doing that right now. It's gonna be her birthday present. But that seems like it would be more of a keepsake then a functional cookbook.
    I think this is funny, how I'm giving my opinion on recipe organization and I don't have a kitchen of my own.

  3. I like the cheap aspect of the ring idea--maybe put a piece of tape in the corner before punching the hole, to reinforce it?

    I definitely like the page protector idea, but I agree it could get pricey. Maybe check Amazon for bulk page protectors?

  4. Thanks for your comments ladies! I really do appreciate the help.

    Here's my latest thought on the subject...a binder with pocket pages to hold recipes yet to try (magazine clippings, cards, computer print-outs, etc) divided into categories. Then, a 4x6 card holder (which I was using before I was gifted the book with pages) for the recipes I really like! Finally, another card holder for all the extras (family recipes, complicated ones, know--the ones I don't really make but don't want to throw away).

    By the time I've made a recipe a few times, I can transfer it to a card and won't need the picture to "remind" me (for those magazine pages, in particular).

    Tonight I did some "freezer cooking" with a friend. It was easy b/c she did all the prep. I think I liked it. I might be on to something new for the bulk of my menu planning!

  5. My recipes are in disarray. Let me know when you get it figured out and then you can tutor me.

  6. Hey are things?? :) Your kiddos get cuter every time I see them! I am always pulling out recipes too, and I like idea #2. I actually went to Michaels and just bought a cheap photo album on sale (one with refillable pages)....but the pocket pages is something I hadn't thought of...hmmm...I might steal it from you! :)

  7. Hey lady, I just use a small square basket. I took some of the recipes I cut from magazines and glued them to cards, I cut from card stock. That way you can still have pictures too if you want. If the recipe was on a very small piece or on both sides of the paper I typed them out, printed them and then glued that to the card stock. I also have a bigger box that holds larger index type cards with photos that came as a kit and I have added my own cards among them as well.

    My recipe dividers are larger cards and are labeled. Then I made a directory for them that stays in front of the basket so I can see which catagory to look in when I need something.

    My catagories are as follows:

    Be sure to save any recipes that you type up in a file on your computer so that when you need one to share with a friend or for a new bride or something that you can just print one off. Have fun getting it together!