Thursday, April 27, 2017

Organization Inspiration

I love an organized home. That has been one of the challenges of having a new baby. I had grown accustomed to having things stay in their places for the most part. But now my living room looks like this every day:

The adjacent kitchen doesn't fare any better, because
he can tear apart it apart in record speed. I am reminding myself to surrender to this season because I do know that it's only temporary.

However, I still love organizational strategies, and I thought I'd share one of mine that really works!

Tim and I had a folder stuffed with recipes that were printed off the computer, ripped out of magazines and newspapers, and on recipe cards. Each time we wanted to cook something, we would rummage through the pile looking for our tried and true recipes, but they got lost amidst scraps of paper and the many recipes there was NO WAY we would ever get around to making.

Often, Tim and I found ourselves asking each other, in frustrated tones, "Did you put the recipe for X back?" Later we'd find it in another stack of papers, stuck to the fridge, or shoved somewhere in the folder.

Next, I tried putting everything on the computer, but I found it awkward to cook while looking at a screen, and I didn't want to let go of some special old recipe cards from family members.

The solution that has worked for us the past 3 years is surprisingly low-tech. The reason it works so well is that it's crystal clear to both cooks how to use it, so we each follow the system!

Large 3 ring binder
Tried and true recipes on cards, printouts or from magazines (I suggest being selective and only including recipes you will cook!)
Plastic sleeve protectors

Put 2 recipes in each sleeve, one facing front one facing back. The order is not important because all recipes will be equally accessible. Category is not important either. My previous attempts categorized things by type of dish, but I find this much simpler. Because there aren't hundreds and thousands of recipes, they won't get lost.

With a Sharpie, number the plastic sleeves. (Remember when I made that ice cream cake for Jack's 12th b-day?)

Write or type up a table of contents with a name of dish and the recipe number. We have about 75 recipes so far.

When we need a recipe, we look at the table of contents to find out what number the recipe is, then take out the sleeve to cook with in the kitchen. A bonus is that if we splatter on it, it wipes clean.

Because the number is on the sleeve, the recipe always finds its way back to the proper place in the binder.

I use Pinterest and magazines to find new recipes to try, and IF they make the cut, they get added to the binder. I hope someone finds this ridiculously simple idea helpful. What is your favorite way to organize recipes?

My LOVE of streamlining and organization led me to discover an awesome deal on a HUGE "Bundle" of online resources that includes eBooks, eCourses, and even printables to help me in my home. While my goal was organization, I was thrilled to find out that it included MANY other topics of interest to me as well: home decor, goal setting, recipe books, saving money, parenting, and even faith. It feels like Christmas in April to me! Don't let the "Homemaking" title fool you. There is something for everyone here! There are only a few days left in which to purchase this bundle, so I wanted to be sure to share it with you here: 


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Just recently, I was rummaging through all the little bits of paper I had shoved above my sink (where I keep cook books)trying to find my spinach salad dressing much time wasted!! Will do this asap in a quest to simplify my life!!

Karen L. said...

Love love this simple way of doing this! Why hadn't I thought of that before, ha! I will do this project this weekend while my husband is traveling---it'll be a fun thing to accomplish. Thanks!

Tina M said...

Great idea. I have one overflowing drawer in my kitchen with all of the recipes I have printed out or clipped. The ones I use most often are usually on the top, but if I can ever find the time to organize them, this a great idea! I vow to make it a goal! :)

Jenny Hart Boren said...

I started a recipe binder method years back, and although I was too 'thrifty' to buy plastic sleeves, the basic premise works great. My adult kids have requested their own binders with their old favorite recipes in them. Someday they might actually get them!

Ggeise14 said...

I also just finished reorganizing my recipes in binders. I had done it few years ago but used 3 inch binders which were just too big for the counter. I also went through the recipes and got rid of "some day" ones to make.

Unknown said...

I do this! It makes it so easy... :)

Anonymous said...

I use something very similar but easier for me: "magnetic" photo album pages. They are slightly sticky, so you just peel back the plastic, stick on the recipe, and close the plastic. I keep them loosely organized by categories, but am familiar enough to page through and find the one I'm thinking of. Occasionally I remove a recipe that I haven't made in years. An index could be a good addition.

Plymouth Lighthouse said...

This is so absolutely brilliant! I am so excited to do this with the folder of recipes I have. I find myself reprinting instead of searching through folder and then throwing away when I splatter on them or they get wet. Thank you.

KathleenM said...

I've used this system for years. I don't have an index but do separate by type of dish, beef, chicken, breakfast, sweets, etc. Love it and couldn't survive without it. ❤️

AMY said...

Anna! Thank you for sharing. I already use a binder and plastic page protector system...I still find myself paging through every.single.recipe. to find the one I'm looking for, recalling that it was on yellow lined legal paper or from a magazine, hand written by someone etc. Never thought to make the table of contents. Brilliant! I was thinking I would have to categorize next but I will draft up a table of contents instead.

Again, thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see some of those recipes--I need something "new" to cook! :)

L and Ce said...

I do the same thing! I also add a note "add more x" or "loved it", etc. so the next I make the recipe I can tweak it if needed. I probably need to do some purging....and my collection of cookbooks, yikes. Time to donate the fancy ones that I would never use......Happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty about your house and mothering. I am in the throes of toddlerhood and missing the organization thing too. But they will be big before we realize it and I am trying to enjoy everything...except the lack of sleep.

Also, thanks for the bundle recommendation. I got it and am looking forward to working my way through it!

kimmyQL said...

What if you bought the binder, sleeves, etc over 10 YEARS AGO and still have the above mentioned piles? Oooops!

Sharon said...

What brand is the vacuum in the photo?