Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Great Recipe Reorganization

I love it when I find a good recipe. (And by good I mean extraordinarily tasty and requiring very little skill. And time. And skill.)

Do you know what I do when I find one?

I ssssssssstttttttttuuuuuuuuufffffffff it inside of a grody old binder. Without even using a three ring hole puncher. I'll print a recipe from my laptop or tear it out of a magazine, and after being used, it ends up crammed inside of what can only be described as The Trapper Keeper From Hell.

I can't believe that I'm sharing this.

Anyway. Here's where I ask for your help and apologize for stirring up all of that Velcro and unicorn imagery from 1986.

These are the only ideas I could come up with to systematically reorganize our recipes.

Online. Tons of websites have tools that help store them methodically, or I could send them to a designated email address. The problem is, I'd have to print them out every time I want to use them.

In a book. I could make something or buy one already set up. But I'm afraid that I'll end up with another ghetto binder again.

Boxes. Old school mom style recipe stashes. Sweet. Small. A pain in the hiney to put together, though.

So that's all I got. Each requires me to rewrite or copy or scan all of my existing crusty recipes. Ugh.

Any ideas of better or easier ways to do this? How do you organize yours?


Miss Chelsea said...

What if you just put the clear page protector thingys into your binder... then you can just slide your recipes in and out of those. You could stuff all the desserts into one like a big happy sweettooth orgy or get extra fancy and give each recipe it's own page protector. Either way... at least you wouldn't have to scan/copy/rewrite/lose Lisa Frank.

Deb said...

I actually have a "recipe book" (Yes, I'm old school and I also have a recipe book holder my dad made me to hold it open to the correct page while I cook. Big Dork.). There are a lot of online recipe print outs just folded in half and shoved in. I have a rule that all recipes have to be tried three times - with succcess - before being written in "the book". You can tell our favorites by the stains on the pages :) Given my penchant for spilling things on my keyboard (burnt salsa is a horrid small by the way) storing recipes on my computer could get expensive.

the Abercrombie's said...

It sounds like you prefer to have paper in hand. If that is that case i would try another bind of sorts, but this time get the clear sleeves. that way when you tear out of a magazine or print one out you don't need a 3 hole punch. all you have to do is slip it into a sleeve. You could have labeled dividers so they are easy to find (poultry, beef, casseroles...you get the picture i am sure)

By the way...this is the system I use and I like it a lot.

Hope this helps.

Kerry at just-you-wait said...

I use the prettiest (non-ghetto!) binder I could find (hey, binders work!) and a lifetime supply of sheet protectors. Clip a bunch of empty ones into the rings of the binder, and then each newly printed/torn out recipe only needs to be trimmed narrow enough to fit into the next empty sheet protector.
The plastic wipes up easily when you're cooking, too!

Steven Anthony said...

I have books, binders, boxes....sorry I'm not much help;)

Anonymous said...

I am also in the midst of organizing my recipes so I feel your pain!

You kinda have to decide if you really need page in hand when you cook or if you are willing or able to have a computer or laptop in the kitchen (could get messy and/or expensive).

Currently I do the clear sleeves in the binder. I'll put several smaller scraps in one sleeve if they are similar recipes. Works quite well and easy to clean when I spill while cooking. But I have a larger pile that have never made it into the clear page savers - so finding a recipe is still iffy since I can never remember if it is just in a pile or in the binder!

Since we plan on retiring and traveling (which means limited storage space) I am slowly migrating my scraps & piles into a software package called Living Cookbook (cost less than $50). My eventual plan is to have it on a laptop that I can bring into the kitchen when needed - currently I print out when needed (not often since we work too much to cook anything complicated at home very often).

I'm always leary of saving things online - what if the website goes away and all my hard work is lost? This way it is all on my computer. And I can find things. And it takes up a lot less space than the several dozen cookbooks I have that only have a few recipes I like in them.

If you decide that software is the way to go there are several sites that compare & review the major software packages. And many of the packages have a short trial period before you have to pay.

Good luck with your search.

Vonda said...

I organized all of my recipes just last year (great project for in front of the TV). To start it though, I went through all of them and threw out the ones I knew I'd never make or ones that were too similiar or complicated. I do exactly as the Abercrombie's above. I have a huge 3-4 inch binder, dividers that I labeled and sleeves. And because I'm lazy I also incorporated a 4x6 recipe box that I was already using. I glue the smaller magazine recipes onto 4x6 cards and save the binder for full pages or grouped smaller pages.
BTW, WHERE did you find the pic of the blue box?? I've been wanting to replace the plastic ugly one I have with something just like that.

Laur3n Newm4n said...

If you like having paper recipes, you really don't have an alternative to either keeping them in a binder or a box.

If you wanted to get all tech-y, what *I* would do is either take good quality pictures of the recipes or re-type them, and save them as notes in Evernote notebooks, based on the "category" of the recipe. Then when I wanted a recipe, I'd open Evernote on my computer or phone (or iPad if I had one) and cook away.

Of course, I'm a geek, and don't really use paper that much, so this works for me.

Melissa @ Life on Prairie Creek said...

I also use a binder with plastic sleeves. Works great. Although I tend to fill it with every recipes that catching my attention. I am thinking to switching to a 2 binder system. Once with my favorite tried and true recipes and the other with recipes for I would like to try.

Jessika said...

The problem I have with books is that you can't organize the permanent pages well. You write down a dessert, but the next item is a casserole? How do you find things then? And what about removing recipes when using them?

My mother-in-law had a great idea: use a photo album, binder-style. You can stick in tabs for categories. Then, it's just as easy as printing out the recipe (or tearing) and sticking it into the pre-made photo pockets.

I think she's pretty smart.

I tried to do that, but time got the best of me. So now, I email recipes to myself, including searchable terms. Pretty easy to find.

Cindy @The Flipping Couple said...

Uhhh, yeah. I stuff them in a binder. So I'm no help at all. But I'm interested to see what your peeps come up with, because I could certainly use an upgrade in the recipe storage department.

Kelly said...

So it's back to the binder then, huh? I'll at least upgrade to pretty. And add sleeves.

Vonda, that tin is from Martha Stewart.

Deb, your recipe book sounds endearing!

Chelsea, strongly considering the orgy.

liz @ bon temps beignet said...

I use binders. I 3 hole punch or slip each page into a clear plastic sleeve then stash it in a kitchen cabinet. It doesn't get much easier.

Melissa said...

Hey! I've tried all these ways, but the easiest I've found is that I created a tab on our blog called recipes, and I post recipes there as I cook them. That way, I can just cook off of the computer. I do have a binder for recipes I want to try, but that is never organized!

a Broad said...

I think of all the options, the binder is best.
I have file boxes crammed with unreadable recipes on old file cards, I have quite a few cook books and then there are the 2, no it must be 3, no 4 folders that are holding loose sheets of paper with printed recipes, pages torn out of magazines etc.
I have to put them in plastic sleeves and make it neat and in some sort of order... Then you have to keep them that way. That is the hard part.. the anal part ( of me anyway) loves making everything alphabetical according to soup/salad/dessert etc.
I am also going to see if I can do the photo albums instead.

** I have sent every recipe I have ( or just about ) to myself at yahoo.
I might have about 500 but they are in no particular order so I don't know how I will find things when I need them ... maybe I just take comfort in the saving but not the using **

pendy said...

I have some printed in plastic sleeves in a binder, but this is my go-to...my laptop is normally in the kitchen anyway and having them online lets my grown kids and others have access...

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

LOL a trapper keeper from hell! Flashback :) I sadly don't have organized recipes. If you come up with a brilliant idea, please let me know! xo

Elena said...

I love, love, love this. It has the plastic sleeves but it stands up and acts as its own "cookbook holder" as well.


Rebecca said...

I find myself in the no-binder camp. I don't know what it is, but I always just stuff recipes back in the top of the binder and within a few months, all organization is lost. Those d-rings are a bugger.
This is what I did: I got one of those magnetic file folder boxes (mine is bamboo) and I stuck it on the side of our steel island. Then I put in file folder tabs with very specific labels (quick for two, fast desserts, party apps). I just dump my recipes in the right category and, for some reason, I always put them back in the right category.
Sure, the recipes still get crusty, but that's part of the charm.

Anonymous said...

Here is manufacturer's link to the No-Cookbook Recipe Stand mentioned by Elena. The Delight website appeared to have a problem keeping it in stock based on the reviews and everyone was asking about refill pages. So I went looking for the manufacturer - this should show the stand & refill pages.


If my husband wasn't committed to going paperless I would be all over this - seems perfect. It will keep recipes clean & organized with a great way to read the recipe while cooking but not taking up too much counterspace.

Looks like I may have to get a few as Christmas gifts - may even load a few recipes in them as part of the gift. Thanks Elena!


Elena said...

Cheryl--I received mine as a gift from my SIL and I always say it's the best thing she ever gave me (and she's a pretty good gift-giver). :)

amy_sue said...

I put all of my recipes into photo albums with the clear sheets that you can peel open and then re-stick. Then you can remove the recipe if you need to and the clear sheets provide protection from spills.

Plus the albums can be found in fantastic designs for next to nothing! I found mine at Walmart for under $5.

I have two albums, one for cooking and one for baking.


Kelly said...

Amy Sue, I'll have to check those out! What a steal.

Elena, that IS a good gift idea, too.

Shannon, remember the ones with, like, Voltron and My Little Ponies? Classic.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

lol at the trapper keeper from hell. Just the memory of trapper keepers makes me smile.

I have a recipe book similar to yours above. Online, I pin the recipes I want to make into pinterest, and then when I actually make it, I write it into the recipe book. It's a little tedious to write everything, but I kinda like it. My grandma had a recipe book like this that she handwrote everything into, so I kinda like doing it the same way. (Even if I do get the recipes off Google.)

Good luck in finding the best system for you.

Kelly said...

I know, right, Kim? And remember slap sticks and Hypercolor t-shirts?

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Oh my lord.... Hypercolor. I used to blow on them myself before school and the hot air make a good pattern on them. I was even ocd then. ;)

The memories are coming back.

Kelly said...

That deserves some kind of award, Kim. SERIOUSLY.

Life in Rehab said...

Ours are in a three ring binder with page protectors. Just slide them in. Even Sam will keep this easy trick organized, and that man is a mess.

Christa said...

Your suggestions are great for recipes that are hand written. Here's a site for recipes that you use and already are in a cook book. Enjoy! http://www.eatyourbooks.com/