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How To Organize Recipes: Ideas From Readers For Hall of Fame

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Ever wondered how to organize recipes? Well, there are actually lots of different methods, and none of them are right, or wrong.

organize recipes and cookbooks challenge
All that really matters is that the method you choose for yourself is easy to start, and then to maintain.

Below I've created this hall of fame, with pictures of how readers have decided to organize their paper recipes, that they've worked on as part of the Organize Recipes & Cookbooks Challenge, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

{Please note if you're interested in organizing your recipes digitally I have a separate hall of fame for the at the link.}

If the ideas you see inspire you and you take on this project yourself, or you've got you've already got your own methods that you want to share, I encourage you submit your tips and pictures to the Home Organization Hall of Fame, and I'll add the best ones to the page.

Make sure, however, that before you begin a big organization project with your recipes that you actually are only organizing the recipes you want to keep. So before beginning this type of project declutter your recipes, and you can get step by step instructions for doing that at the link provided here on this site.

So, without further ado, scroll down to see all the pictures and ideas from readers as part of this Hall of Fame.

Real life ideas and solutions for how to #organize recipes {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #RecipeOrganization #OrganizedHomeuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Top photo courtesy of Lizi Beth

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Create An Organized Recipe Binder

Tracey sent me this picture of her new recipe she did as part of the challenge about how to organize recipes. Doesn't it look great?

Tracey said, "I got it on Amazon. It's made by Galison. I just cut out recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tape them on the paper inserts (then it slides into a clear protector)."

Unfortunately this particular binder she used is not available anymore, but it is really just one of many types of pre-made binders that you can buy if you don't want to create your own. The nice thing about this one, or similar pre-made binders, is they tend to already have the tabs created for you, with general categories of recipes, and come with page protectors, etc.

Here are some of the available pre-made recipe binders you can choose from:

Recipe Binders {Referral Links}

This is certainly one way to organize your recipes, or you can create your own binders or use a completely different method too.

For example, here's a photo provided by another reader, Melissa, who created her own set of binders -- lots of them! She explained, "I have recipes I used or use regularly - typed on the computer - placed in sheet protectors and filled in notebooks - it takes a lot of space on the shelf but I can find recipes I use pretty quick - sometimes....better at trying to organize than actually cook. ;) "

Lots and lots of homemade recipe binders for lots of different categories of recipes {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Add Your Recipes To An Accordion Or Expanding File Folder

Organize your recipes in an accordion or expanding file, to keep things categorized easily, but without having to do much to each recipe (featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Here's a great idea from a reader, Lisa. She adds her recipes to what she calls a file sorter, but what I refer to as an accordion or expanding file folder.

She explained, "I use a file sorter. I used to have mine loose in a drawer and put them in here one day about 5 years ago. Works amazing. Can take out or add as you like. I keep most used at back of the slot for quick access. I have mine labelled easily - beef, pork, etc., cookies/treats, misc, appetizers, etc."

This is an especially quick and easy way to categorize untried recipes, since you can print them straight off the Internet or pull them out of the magazine, and then merely put them into the right categories file. No additional prep work necessary!

You can get these types of file folders here:

Accordian Or Expanding File Folders {Referral Links}

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File Your Recipes In A File Box Or File Drawer

Add recipes into file folders in a file box or drawer to get them organized {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Similar to the accordion file idea shown above, you can also create file folders for each category of your recipes and then add them to a file box or drawer.

That's exactly what a reader, Charlsie, did, and it looks great, doesn't it?

You can get supplies to make a similar system here:

File Box {Referral Links}

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Add Your Tried & True Recipes To Recipe Cards

Use recipe cards to help you organize only your tried and true recipes, and not ones you've never even tasted before. {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

As you might have noticed when showing you these various organizational methods for recipes, I've been distinguishing between tried and true recipes, and ones you'd like to try, but haven't yet.

The reason is that you should put more effort into organizing the recipes you and your family have tried and love than the ones you've never tried yet. Sure, it might be amazing, but it might be a dud. Don't spend even more time on a recipe you haven't tried until you know whether it is worth your effort.

That's why for things like untried recipes I like the idea of adding them to a file folder, or loosely into a binder, but not onto recipe cards.

With recipe cards you either are typing or handwriting lots of information, so only do this if you really love the recipe!

But assuming you do like the recipe I like this idea from a reader, Kristina, who uses her own recipe cards. She explained, "Evernote didn't work for me. A popular app was nice but didn't work for me. A binder with printed recipes (I typed them) didn't work for me. Recipe cards are working great for me. I created them. They were initially small and I didn't like cramming stuff in there, so I made them twice as tall and they're perfect now. I like the not-perfect look of them being hand written and it's super easy for me to add to them. I only write out recipes that I've tried and like enough to make again."

If you don't want to make your own recipe cards you can purchase them here:

Recipe Cards {Referral Links}

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Add Loose Recipes To A Journal Or Binder

If you decide you don't want to keep your recipe card system anymore here's a way to convert it to a recipe binder without a lot of additional work {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Sometimes you start out using recipe cards, but then decide you don't like that method and would rather have a book.

Instead of wasting a lot of time transferring all those cards into a new system, you can do what a reader, Elisabeth, did, and add them to a book.

She explained, "I have all my loose recipes in a journal. I keep a table of contents going in the front as a guide to help me find recipes."

I like this method, especially with the table of contents, but I also like to be able to move recipes around if I add to the categories, or add another recipe into a category. Therefore, while you could use the journal method, a small tweak to this method shown would be to add the recipe card pages instead to a binder which makes it easier to move things around if you want to later.

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Creating A Recipe System For Tried And True Recipes And Those To Try

by Stephanie

Stephanie shared her picture on the Home Storage Solutions 101 Facebook wall.

Stephanie says:

Here is a picture of my new recipe system!!!! I love it!!!!

I should have taken a picture of before! But you probably can imagine what it used to look like!

I wanted to thank you for last weeks challenge of "Organizing your recipes". I finally stopped putting it off!

My recipes are finally organized and planning my two week meal plan was so easy!

Keep the challenges coming. I may finally get my household organized so I may better enjoy my family and life!!!!!!!!!

Taylor says:

organizing cookbooks hall of fame
Stephanie, your system looks wonderful!

I like that you have a recipe organization system which utilizes recipe cards, in a recipe box, for those recipes you've already tried and know your family likes.

In addition, I see you've taken my suggestion to create an easy to use binder system to hold the recipes you've still not tried yet, but want to.

Thanks so much for sharing your "after" picture, and keep up the great work!

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Add Handwritten Notes To Recipe Binder To Know Who Loves What

by Crystal

Crystal from Crystal's Ramblings shared how she organized her family's favorite recipes in a binder.

I think Crystal had some great advice about how to best use your recipe binder. She says:

as we use recipes that we like, I add them to my binder. You may even notice in this one below there is a little note that says, "Rebecca loves!" I also write notes to myself if I don't like a recipe. I usually do this in the actual cookbook itself.

I think really individualizing and personalizing your recipes is the best way to organize them. That's because food is such a personal matter, and everyone's tastes are different. The more you can remember who likes what, or tweaks to the recipe you've made to make it more to your family's liking, the more useful your recipes will be.

In addition, your organized recipes will eventually become a treasured family keepsake, reminding your family of how much you loved and cared for them with something as simple as the food served.

***Update: After publishing this I got a comment from another reader, Lolli, who did something similar to personalize her recipe binder. Here's what she said:

Lolli's Reasons For Loving Binders With Page Protectors

After I began keeping my recipes in a binder I regretted that I hadn't started collecting this way my whole adult life.

With the recipe in the protective sheet I can take out all the recipes I will use for a particular event and put the binder away.

The recipe is protected from spills and tears.

Those recipes that do have spills and show wear are also in the binder and they provide me with memories from BEFORE I had the protective sheets.

BUT the best thing that I added to the binder in the protective sheets are menus from holiday dinners and special events like "Mexican Meal."

I can add notes as to what the guests enjoyed and either repeat or delete the items the next year.

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Scrapbook Of Recipes Family Likes + Special Book For Child With Allergies

by Jennifer @ Life of Reilly

Binder for recipes that family likes

Binder for recipes that family likes

Jennifer from Life of Reilly shared how she keeps her recipes.

She explained, "I have this 3 ring binder for any recipes that the family decides are keepers. I'll take pictures of the food and make a scrapbook page. Until they make it in the scrapbook I have a recipe box I keep them in."

Further, she also has a recipe book for one of her children. She explained, "I have a 4 year old who is a very picky eater and has food allergies, so he has his own recipe book. . . . Anyone can pick up this book and know what he can/will eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks.

I used lunch paper bags for the inside pages so as I find recipes for food he will/can eat, I can easily put it on an index card and insert it into the paper bag for that section."

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Finally Organized My Recipes!

by Jackie
(Appleton, WI)

Jackie says:

Thank you so much for the recipe challenge last week! I started that project over a year ago, and ever since they have been sitting in a bag in our office. I finally had the motivation to finish copying and sorting them into a binder.

I have sections for:
  • Breakfast
  • recipe categories

  • Soups, salads and sides

  • Main dishes

  • Sweets

  • Dips, Appetizers, and Misc.; and

  • Drinks
Within there, I put tabs on our family favorites so they are easier to find.

Main dishes were sorted with chicken together, fish, pork, etc.

I kept a pen and extra tabs with the binder for making notes and marking new favorites.

The dividers have pockets to stash new recipes in the right place until I can copy them and get them in the binder.

I also recycled about 8-10 cook books that had been handed down to me that I finally admitted I would never use. Feels great to finally have this done!!

Taylor says:

Thanks so much for sharing these great pictures with me Jackie.

I am especially loving your idea to use divider tabs with folder pockets in them! (such as the ones below). That's absolutely brilliant, and I can see how that would make it easier to save the recipes in the right spot until you had time to add them to the binder properly!

Binder Divider Pages With Pockets & Tabs {Referral Links}

I also like how you've kept your supplies for your recipe binder close at hand so when you need to add a new recipe you can do it quickly and easily, without having to search throughout the house for the supplies. This, all by itself, should help you keep your recipes more organized from now on, since it will be easier to do the one recipe as it comes up.

Great job, and please send me more updates from other challenges when you've completed them too!

Are You Inspired To Get Organized Now?

organized home challenge
You've seen some great ideas and storage solutions from other readers who've taken on Week #5's organizing challenge.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to get your own paper recipes in order. If it has, I would also urge you to join the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge where over the course of the year we tackle every room and major type of item in your home to get everything decluttered and organized.

In addition, if you decide to tackle this particular challenge I would love for you to share your before and after pictures with me for the Home Organization Hall of Fame, and I'll add the best pictures to the site.

Real life ideas and solutions for how to organize recipes {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

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Go From How To Organize Recipes Hall Of Fame To Home Page

Comments for Finally Organized My Recipes!

Click here to add your own comments

I use a binder
by: Patti

I've been doing this for a few years now and love it. So much easier to find a recipe then looking through those little recipe boxes.

I use several binders
by: Bonnie

I keep mine in binders labeled, baked main dishes, baked desserts, baked side dishes, stovetop main dishes, stovetop desserts, stovetop side dishes, etc., etc., etc.

Love the Way she Included the Pen in Binder!
by: K E

I've been searching for an easy way to include a pen in my minder, and the binder clip is genius! Thanks!

Binders with sheet protectors work great
by: Melissa W

I did this a bunch of years ago because you can put cards, magazine and newspaper cut outs and printed computer sheets in sheet protectors. I did one for my sister in law too. I need to sort through and get rid of some because the binder is so large!

I use a view binder
by: MamaBear

My recipe binder is one that has a clear pocket on the front where you can put a title page. Instead of having a title page I use that spot to stash the recipe I'm currently using. Opening the binder allows the recipe to stand up and the clear cover keeps it safe from splatters and tears. When I'm done I just slip it out of the cover and put it back in it's place.

Always Learning
by: Nancy Benner

Although I have been keeping my favorite recipes in a half sized binder for several years I saw some great ideas in this article to help tweak my system. I enjoyed this article. Thank you.

I use a hanging file system
by: Anonymous

The notebooks are beautiful, but let's be honest, how many of us will take the time or have the time to put recipes in sheet protectors in a notebook? I using a hanging file system. I have ten hanging file folders (each labeled "main meals, desserts, etc.) with a manila file folder in each. When I find a recipe in a magazine, I cut it out and drop it in the appropriate file. When I'm looking for an idea to make for dinner I just pull out the manila folder and leaf through the recipes--quick and easy.

Keep up with filing
by: Cal

I have 20 notebooks I have organized this very way. One book I have is "FAVORITES" which include all the recipes I have tried and liked, with my handwritten notes on them. I even have the "TO TRY" book. I am an addict.

Cooking Magazines
by: Jeanette

I receive two cooking magazines that I keep. I went through each issue, marking the recipes and other information I wanted to access. I created a spreadsheet with 3 searchable categories in addition to the 'normal' information (title, date, magazine, page number).

It took me a while to do this, but now that it is done, I can quickly access the searchable file or look through the paper printout.

I took some old magazine storage boxes, used duct tape to spruce them up, and made labels indicating the magazine title and the years in each box.

They look really nice & they are very functional!

Lost and Found
by: Jan Libby

This week I found a 26 year old recipe book that my daughter's 2nd grade teacher had made of their family recipes. I knew I would see my friend at church so I made the cookie recipe that her son had put in the book. She was thrilled when I gave her the cookies - it was her mother's recipe for pudding cookies!

recipe cards
by: Marty

I use Christmas cards and other cards like birthday for recipe cards. I put the name of the recipe in black magic marker on the picture side and the recipe on the blank other side. I made a recipe box from plastic canvas so my "cards" are larger than normal recipe cards.

Binder with photo pockets
by: darleneh

I had a huge assortment of TYPES of recipes - some whole pages typed or torn from magazines, some recipe cards, some small clippings, etc. I was sick of the assortment of places each needed to be filed, and wanted one place where I could put everything.

I use a big three-ring binder, and an assortment of inserts to hold the recipes. Some sheet protectors for whole pages, but mostly photo pages in assorted sizes. They come in wallet sized (don't use many of those), 3x5, 4x6, 5x7, and a little bigger. There's a size to hold pretty much anything.

Best of all, I had just decluttered my photos, tossing the non keepers, and had lots of these pages without having to go out and buy them. I love this system, can find everything I want easily, and the plastic pages protect the recipes from splatter and other damage.

Now to go through what's left of my recipe books and thin those out too!

How I'm organizing recipes based on my diet plan
by: Beverly

I'm working on the Mediterranean Diet plan. It incorporates eating 1/2 plate of veggies, 1/4 plate of grains, and 1/4 plate of proteins. Portion sizes. 4-5 servings of veggies a day, 3-4 servings of fruit, whole wheat, grains and nuts, 2-3 servings of fish a week, 2-3 servings of chicken, and red meat once a month. I'm going to organize my recipes by veggies, fruit, fish and chicken. Focus is the availability of produce according to season. Fresh and frozen because canned veggies and fruits can contain lots of sodium or added sugars. No processed foods. Snacks can be a golf-size of nuts, olives, a piece of fruit. These foods are very filling, so it's not really a diet, but a lifestyle change.

Recipe collection
by: Kathy

A study in 2009 showed that most moms rotated about 10 dishes on a regular basis. I'm not a mom, but it helped me get rid of the many yellowing magazine recipes and bargain cookbooks I'd saved and never used. I saved a few special recipes on index cards or full pages that I keep in a photo album that also accommodates pages with 3x5 and 4x6 slots.

Next, I replaced as many of my favorite cookbooks as possible with Kindle editions. (Freed up a whole shelf!)

Finally, whenever I get tempted to buy new cookbooks or save printed recipes, I remind myself that there's no recipe that can't be googled. And if I still have to have it, there's Pinterest.

My System
by: Deborah

I have an A4 ring binder and tabs I have written with things like fish, beef, chicken, sauces etc i alphabetical order. I print out recipes for weekends, highdays and holidays. The recipe gets graded on eating. Anything below a 7 is ditched. I also add notes on how we can improve it next time to maybe make it a 10 if approrpriate!

Family recipes
by: Juli

Last year, my 97 year old Grammy passed. She had great recipes. About 3 years ago, the entire family sent favorite family recipes and one of my cousins put it into categories, including pictures from internet and photos of several dishes. Then, we all got to purchase a nice Shutterfly family recipe book. Some recipes were my Great Grandma, my Grammy, my aunts, cousins, siblings and my own mom. A treasure for sure, that gets used but is protected from splatters when used.

Keeping track of who likes what
by: Kate

When my 3 children were still living at home I would try a new recipe and everyone got a vote. If it got at least a "4" it would go into the recipe box with a number printed in the upper right corner. After a while I would not remember who didn't like it so I started to add that persons name to that corner and would make that dish when that person wasn't home for dinner.

making a binder system for each of my kids
by: Jane

When my children moved out on their own, I made them each a binder with the recipes I made for them when they were growing up. I was lucky enough to find a picture of each child cooking when they were little. I enlarged the photo and slipped it into the clear pocket on the cover of the binder. i.e.- cute picture of my son coloring Easter eggs: caption
Peter's Family Recipes. They took the binders to college and when they married their spouses loved having the recipes to make for my grandkids! The best thing is getting invited for dinner at their homes and being served recipes from the binder! Now my binder has recipes given to me by my daughter and daughter-in-law.

Recipe binders
by: Galee

I have six binders that I use to organize recipes. My categories are:

1. Soups
2. Salads/Vegetables/Appetizers
3. Meat, Chicken, Fish
4. Indian Cuisine
5. Desserts/Baked Recipes
6. Thanksgiving/Holiday

Each recipe is written or typed on 8 1/2 X 11 inch paper, placed into a sheet protector and put into the appropriate binder.

When I cook I take out the recipe and put in on my refrigerator door with a magnet so the notebook is not in my way. After dinner I put recipe back into its place in the correct binder.

My husband and I cook a lot from scratch and this system seems to work quite well.

Recipe Manager
by: Colleen

I switched to the Paprika app for my non-cookbook recipes years ago and love it. There's upfront costs but NO ongoing subscription cost and it's usually on sale around American Thanksgiving.

To keep down on cookbooks piling up in my house, I get them from the library and take photos of anything I want to try. I put the recipe into Paprika in a "To Try" category and then once we make it, it gets categorised & rated so it's easy to find.

Paprika also has meal planning & grocery list functions so I'm starting to put a lot of my cookbook recipes in, as well.

Be warned though, the current version came out somewhere around 2017 so it's a bit dated and can be clunky.

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