Recipe Organization

So what does the professional organizer do when she gives herself time off for the holidays? She cleans up her own organizational systems.

At least, that's what this one did.

Anyways, it's not work when you love it.

This time of year, I generally do a purge of my entire home and I decided to take some time during this long weekend to focus on my magazines and recipes in particular. The recipes had been giving me particular issue because what I would like to do is have two systems - one by course and one by ingredient - but that's just too OCD, even for me.

First, I went through magazines, cutting out articles I wanted to keep as reference and recycled the rest.  Then went through binder of articles and recycled those I was no longer interested in.  (Just as I described in this quick tip blog post.)

 Then it came time to deal with the recipes. I keep the cooking magazines separate from my other subscriptions in the kitchen.  Many recipes found their way into the binder, but I also had many cut-out or hand-written recipes in a recipe file box.  I've had that file box since looooong before I ever actually cooked and, quite frankly, hated it. It was difficult to find things in and just wasn't as functional as I'd like.

As I tell my clients, if you hate something then get rid of it and find a new way.

I started by emptying the file box. I looked at each recipe and determined if I would ever make it or not. Basically, if I didn't like the sounds of it, didn't have all the required equipment, didn't know a particular technique necessary or just plain knew I'd never make it, then it found itself in the recycle bin.

Next, I pulled out all the recipes from the sleeves in the binder and combined the two sets. I then separated the recipes into piles according to what they were for - breakfast, breads/baked goods, snacks, salads, soups, mains, sauces, sides, dessert, beverages. I then purged through those recipes according to the same criteria as before. I also found several duplicates from when I couldn't find a recipe and would just print it out again.

After everything was sorted and purged, then they went back into protective sleeves and placed back into the binder according to category.

Now everything is simple and easy to find. Meal planning is cinch and when I cook, I can just pull the sleeve out and the recipe will be protected from any spills. 

Do you have any special tricks to keeping your recipes organized? If so, tell us in the comments!