It feels like a lifetime since I have written a post. I have been super busy these past couple of months with a half marathon, the Avon Walk, and freestyle cruising on Norwegian Cruise Lines…did you see my Postcard From Bermuda? With all that going on I FINALLY found some free time to work on a project that I have been putting off now for quite some time…organizing my recipes. On the rare occasion that I do cook (my boyfriend is the cook at our place), I need a recipe to follow. I am no Iron Chef or Chopped star who can create something out of nothing. No, I need step-by-step instructions.

I collect recipes like it is my job, you could consider me a recipe hoarder. And though Pinterest has been my main source, I still do occasionally rip them out of magazines or print them off from the internet. For a while, I collected them in a folder. As time went by and the folder got bigger, I started to put them in a three-ring binder. Three-hole punching recipes and sticking them in my binder with no organization wasn’t working well for me anymore. I kept saying that I needed to organize these but I just continued to put them in the binder with no rhyme or reason. When I did want to use a recipe, it was taking too long to find anything. The madness had to end!

Recipe Categorizing

The first thing I did was collect my binder and take everything out. I spent time purging recipes that no longer interested me or that I had repeats of. I found that over the years, I collected 7 different recipes for “Baked Macaroni & Cheese” and I had never even made one of them! All I could do was shake my head and move on.

Once the purging was over; I separated what I had left into the following categories:

  • Appetizers/Side Dishes
  • Soup/Salad/Sandwich
  • Sauces/Dressings
  • Bread/Grain
  • Dairy/Egg
  • Fruit/Vegetable
  • Pasta
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Beverages
  • Desserts

I was originally going to make dividers for the binder. However, since I have some recipes that are oddly shaped or difficult to hole-punch, I decided to try something else. I picked up this 13 pocket organizer at Target which had the perfect amount of dividers to match my categories. I figured why not give this a whirl.

Recipe Project Organizer

I used the blank side of the file tabs that were provided and wrote out each category.

Since I doubled up on some of the categories (Ex. Soup/Salad/Sandwich) I used some binder dividers that I already had and stuck them in the pocket organizer to separate them and find things a little quicker. For my “Desserts” category, for example, I decided to bunch up similar recipes and paper clip them together to find them easier. For example, I took all the pie recipes in my dessert pile, ripped an index card I had in half and labeled it “Pies”. Then paper clipped the bunch and stuck it in the “Desserts” pocket of my binder.

Grouping Types of Foods

Once everything was placed in the organizer, I placed it with all my recipe books in the kitchen cabinet. I love this system so much more. It forces me to put recipes in a category and if I am looking for something specific, it is much easier to see. This system is working well for me currently so I am one happy chef-in-training! 😉

Organized Recipe Shelf

How are you keeping your recipes organized? Are you a paper hoarder like me or are you all digital? Let me know what’s working for you!