I received this desperate email from a reader recently about organizing recipes and cookbooks:
I have collected recipes for over 40 years and have quite a few!! Also cookbooks!! They are overwhelming my kitchen and book cases!! Help!! Please before my hubby starts to burn them!!
Oh my do I feel your pain! I share your love of exclamation points, too!! I had to do this several years ago and it was hard. A major purge is in order.
How to Organize Recipes and Cookbooks
Before beginning this project, make yourself a nice drink like a cup of coffee or tea. And, make sure to wear clothing that can get dirty! After 40-years of collecting, you’re going to need a refreshment and once your bookshelves are empty, you’ll likely want to clean them, too.
Let’s start with the books…
First, clear them ALL off your bookshelves and put them in the middle of the room. Next, make 2 piles:
How many to keep? Pick out 7-10 of your favorite cookbooks and then plan to give the rest away. Tell your husband there is no need to burn books. The cookbooks can go to your local second-hand store that accepts donations. Make sure to ask for a receipt so you can use the donation on next year’s taxes. You could also invite friends and relatives over for a “cookbook giveaway” party and send the books home with new owners. Another option is to pass them along yourself, giving them to those who you think might enjoy them.
Now, onto the recipes themselves…
Get all of your clippings and printed recipes and sort by food type (main dish, side, vegetarian, etc.) and recycle all duplicates and similar ones. Once you have an idea of how many recipes you want to keep, check HERE for tips on setting on binders for your recipes.
If all of this sorting seems too overwhelming, consider recycling the whole lot of them. With the internet and so many excellent food blogging sites, it might be very freeing for you to start completely over. I give you permission to do this if you promise to recycle them! 40+ years of collecting is a long time. If you have the urge to purge, go for it! (My apologies for the rhyming but I couldn’t resist.)
One thing that has really helped me when I find a recipe that sounds good, I put on the brakes and do the following:
I read the recipe again and ask myself the following:
- Is this similar to something I already have?
- Am I really going to make this?
- How many recipes and cookbooks do I really need?
Be strong. You can do it!! Good luck.
What do you collect that needs sorting or purging? Are you a clipper of recipes? Or a collector of cookbooks?
Go Gingham related links:
National Match-Up Day: A step-by-step on how to clean and organize your food storage containers!
I love to collect chairs! Yes, chairs!!
A free chair – that was rejected!
Wrapping presents with free maps makes for pretty gifts
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet