It seems that no matter how busy I stay, there’s always some kind of organizing project waiting around my house to be done! No sooner did I reorganize all the kids clothes in storage than it was time to reorganize all the coats. Finished that, and then had a pile of sewing repairs to do. Did all of those repairs (which is disproportionately rewarding since my kids think I’m the best seamstress in the world even though I just do basic stuff – they say things like, “Wow, this is so perfect, your stitches are so even/tiny!”) and then realized it’s been a while since I organized my recipes. That’s what I did a bit today, so I thought I’d share the system I use that works well for me.
I used to often cut out or copy recipes, stick them aside somewhere and then never think about them again. Or if I did think about them, could never find them when I wanted them. I have a recipe box that I regularly added recipes to for years but never used; it just wasn’t efficient. A couple of years ago I finally thought of a solution, inspired by my son’s baseball card collection, which he impeccably kept in order.
I bought a couple of packs of baseball card protectors – they’re clear plastic sheets with nine pockets on each page with prepunched holes for a three ring looseleaf. Then I bought some unlined index cards and cut them down to fit the pockets.
Each plastic sheet is two sided, and I can fit nine recipes on each side of a page. I copy the recipes onto the index cards, and just slip them into a pocket. Each page (or more) represents a different category – breakfast foods, quick breads, yeast breads, ground beef, chicken, beans, hot dogs, dairy, etc. With this system, when I’m planning my weekly menus, I can easily take in a page at a glance using whatever kind of food I want to include, and all of the recipes are ones I’d be happy to use. If I want to change the order of anything, add a new recipe or get rid of one that no longer works for us, then it’s super easy.
I use this looseleaf now more regularly than any of my cookbooks, even my most favorite ones. What I’ve been thinking of doing is going through some cookbooks that I’ve used for years (one is especially in awful shape) and copying the recipes I like into my recipe looseleaf, then getting rid of the cookbook. That’s a long term project, though, one which I’m not rushing to put onto my list of things to do!