Getting Organized: Recipe Edition

  My life seems to be a series of events all based around “Getting Organized”.  No no, wait, STAYING organized might be a better title since my kids seem set on destroying said organization as fast as I achieve it!

  One area I cannot blame the kids on, is my recipe cupboards.  Yes, cupboards with an S.

As in, more than one, embarrassing, unorganized mess to be dealt with.

  I cannot be held responsible for the shocking images you are about to see:

This is my stack of “To Try” lurking in my desk to hide the shame of it’s disorder.

{hides face in hands}


Here is one of my recipe book locations, there are two more, one far worse, and one much better than this particular one:

{I’m so ashamed.}


See those black note books? That is how I used to stay organized.

{Before I printed off 500 pages of new recipes online.}


Inside these particular notebooks, are all our family recipes.  Before I got married, I spent MONTHS typing out my mom’s recipe boxes, so I’d have them in my future kitchen.  I had NO idea just how much of a Foodie I was going to become, or that Dale and I wouldn’t repeat a recipe for the first 9 months of our marriage! 

And that is how my love of trying new recipes began……

This is my “To Try” drawer, it lives in my kitchen island.  Recipes are moved from the ugly stack hiding in my desk, to out here per season.  I pick the ones I really want to try in the very near future.  IF they pass the test, they will be typed out on Tasty Kitchen and shared with you.  Then printed off, with photo, from Tasty Kitchens site and moved to the new organized notebooks I am about to show you! 

Yay! A plan of action!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  My first step in organizing was to take all the recipes I have blogged and print them off of Tasty Kitchen.  (Find me here.)  I wanted them in a notebook of their own because they passed the test and had made the blog, which means we really, really liked them!  Plus, if I am going to go to all the trouble to photograph a recipe, I want to see what I am picking when I flip through my notebooks. 

  This is what my desk looked like on Organization Day:


  I didn’t get a picture of it, but Dale helped me one evening, and there we sat in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of pages, slipping recipes into clear plastic sleeves.  There was quite a bit of muttering and mumbling under his breath, but I’d say overall he was a real trooper!!!  🙂

Uh oh! Bad news!  Apparently just ONE year of Foodie Blogging, fills up more than 1 notebook.  Time for Plan B.


Transfer all my hard work to multiple notebooks like I did before. 


And here they are, subdivided into separate categories:


  I used the same system I did for my first set of notebooks. 

(I need to remake some of these labels to reflect this last-minute changes….)

This is how I break them down:

Main Dishes: Casseroles

With sub categories inside:

Italian, Mexican, Chinese

Meat Dishes & Sides
Sub categories inside include:

Chicken, Beef, Pork & Fish

Side Dishes

Soups, Salads & Sandwiches

Appetizers, Breads & Brunch


As I blog recipes, I will print them out and slide them into a clear plastic sleeve before finding their new home in one of these notebooks.

  The “To Try” stack of shame will stay in the desk, just because I don’t know how else to do that.  I don’t want to go to the trouble of putting those in notebooks until we have tried them, because we may throw the recipe out after tasting it!

  I am a bit worried how many more notebooks I will be needing at the end of 2012’s year of sharing recipes, but I guess we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there!



14 thoughts on “Getting Organized: Recipe Edition

  1. Tonya! Your recipe book shelves and stacks and stacks of pages printed out to try look just like mine! I am so bad I will often print out a recipe to try for breakfast here at the b&b, only to not be able to find it later when I want to try it out for real! I have also tried the notebook thing on a smaller scale. Oh, for a recipe file “organization day” around here!! You have inspired me!! We’ll see how far that inspiration gets me though-LOL!

  2. Oh how I giggled to see your photos! It looks like MY house with all those piles and binders! I have a drawerfull of recipes/files myself, AND I also have a pink binder just like yours! How about that??? I’m working on purging and organizing too. In fact, my blog post today talks about that very thing! I think you are getting organized nicely. We rarely repeat recipes in our house either…LOVE trying those new ones.

  3. Tonya! You and I are so the same! I should probably have a few “go to” recipes…and I’m planning on that…but I try a new recipe *every time* I create something! I need to revamp my recipes as well. Unfortunately I don’t really use cookbooks at all. I’m contemplating keeping them…isn’t that sad? I look at all the lovely pictures online. :’P Thanks for encouraging me to get started on that!

  4. One of my “big goals” for the next few months is to organize my recipes…I don’t have NEARLY as many as you, but for shameful disorganization, we are neck and neck. I hate making a recipe I love (but just reading it off my computer) and then being unable to find it a few months later when I want to make it again. Arrrrggghhhh!! I’m going to have to be really smart with my organizational paradigm because we have a teensy kitchen and a teensy house!

  5. Your beautifully organized new binders are making me want to go get organized! I have 3 binders of mess to deal with, back from my pre-online-recipe-finding days. Maybe this weekend . . .

  6. what about an electronic file on your computer? You could scan them and save them the same way. To try recipes could be just saved into a file rather than printed. You could still organize them the same way. Plus it would save trees. Not that I am innocent I do the same thing. I see something I want to try and print it. If it makes it I put it in the cabinet and if not I throw it away.

    • Teri, great thoughts! I had played with that idea before, but in my house the computer is WAAAAY at the other end, opposite the kitchen. I’d have to get a laptop of some sort and internet access for the kitchen. I make myself feel better by being an AVID recycler and require my family to do the same. 🙂

  7. Looks like were all on the same track 🙂
    My computer is in my kitchen( the end of my one counter is a desk area) and on my desk top I have a folder that I call test recipes and every time I try one It either gets printed out and put in a sleeve in one of my many binders or in the trash can!
    I take a photo of every keeper and add it with the recipe as I like to see the finished product every time I make something.
    I try not to print anything I’m not keeping so I don’t waste my paper or Ink!
    My Binders are all Orange or lime green and there is a top cover insert area and on my dessert binder I have a photo of muffins cupcakes etc and on my main dish binder I have photos of spaghetti tacos etc ….Just for fun 🙂

  8. I’m with Teri. There are programs available to input your own recipes. Then you can search by name or ingredients. Maybe someday you can do that.

  9. Girl! I have tons of printed recipes too. 🙂 You are going to hate me for telling you about this after you’ve done all that beautiful organizing….have you checked out You can “pin” a recipe you see on-line (rather like pinterest) to your own personal recipe box. You can also pull ingredients from the recipes to make your grocery list. I’ve just started using it, and it’s awesome. I like the way you’ve organized your printed recipes though. I need to do that with all the recipes I already have printed. Thanks for the inspiring post. 🙂

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