domestic doris seeking input.

suzie homemake


I need organization.  When I had my own office, it was seriously organized.  It was a science.  “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”.  I function better this way.  My mind isn’t cluttered and I’m not running around like nutty trying to find things last minute.  It just works for me.  

In my kitchen is a basket of folders, containing emergency information, coupons/gift-cards and a special binder that outlines each month of the year and the traditions and festivities we do during that month, with special notes.   I tell Sean that if anything ever happens to me, all the answers are in that basket. It’s like the oracle.  

Now that I find myself cooking on a daily basis and finding alot of joy in it, I want to cultivate more organization when it comes to recipes, cooking ideas, baking and event preparation.  Like I said….I want to be efficient when it comes to my domesticity and also enjoy the process, but I need to be uncluttered about it, in order for my brain to function.

Tonight I was talking with a friend about how she organizes her millions of recipes and hosting ideas.  She scanned all of her recipes and has them on her computer and it works for her.  I was impressed!  

I was wondering how you organize your recipes?  Are you like me and have 50 cookbooks?  I just adore cookbooks and have to dog-ear and bookmark pages of favorite recipes.  What do you do about that?  What about when you see a cute idea for how to fold napkins or make a fabulous cupcake?  Where do you put those?

Sidenote revised:  I am not set on having to input recipes into my computer. That is what worked best for my friend who is extremely organized and had 8 binders full of recipes.  I have already had several of you email me and say that you are not “sophisticated” and I might not like your ideas because they are in a recipe box!  Absurd!  I am also an old soul and really enjoy the idea of recipe boxes, binders and homemade cookbooks.  I spend enough time on the computer and the idea of having to lug the laptop into the kitchen isnt my favorite idea, so please send me all your “old fashioned” ideas.  Please!

I would love to hear how you organize your recipes, so I can learn from you.  Im already excited to implement a new system!



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16 responses to “domestic doris seeking input.

  1. MacGourmet

    I live by this recipe organizing program and I’m seriously in love with it! A friend gifted this to me when I bought my mac and it’s been wonderful.

    I don’t know if you’re a mac or pc person, but surely they have something like this regardless of what type of computer you have.

    It’s pretty great as long as you don’t mind taking the computer into the kitchen with you. I only have a laptop so it’s not a problem. You can organize different types of recipes into different categories so it’s super easy to find what you’re looking for. It’s like a cookbook with all your favorites.

  2. Oh, also, you can connect photos with the recipes, which I love. If I see something on or Martha or something that looks incredible, I can attach the photo to the file.

  3. I used Mealmaster for a while and it was great – AFTER I spent hours and hours typing in recipes. Sigh. And then the program got a bug in it and all that effort was WASTED. Bigger sigh.
    I’ve gotten away from cookbooks in favor of sites like allrecipes where I can search and store my favorites. My favorite cookbooks though are in a cupboard.

  4. Amy

    I guess I’m too old fashioned to keep all my recipes on my computer. When I had amassed an area of recipe print-offs and small cookbooks roughly the size of Texas, I decided I had to do something. So bought a couple of fun binders and sheet covers (the covers are wonderful for messy cooks such as myself … I can simply wipe them off when I’m done!). In addition to those recipes I’ve printed off, I took out the pages of cookbooks that I only liked a few recipes in. So that cut down on the amount of storage space needed.

  5. I desperately needed a place to keep all the recipes I have written down, and didn’t have time to type them all up, and I don’t have my computer on all the time, so this was all-around not a reasonable way for me to organize them.

    My sister gave me this idea, so I take no credit for it:

    The photo albums with the plastic sleeves for 4×6 photos!

    I have one album for Main Dishes, one for Desserts, one for Breakfasts, and one for Side Dishes – labeled on the outside with a Sharpie marker. I got cheapy ones from Walmart, but you could buy super-nice ones if you wanted, or one giant one for all your recipes together.

    The plastic sleeves keep the recipe cards (and papers and napkins, lol!) clean, while still being able to read the recipe.

    And for general organizing ideas for all kinds of things, Real Simple magazine has a bunch every month, one of my favorite reasons for getting their magazine once & a while 🙂

  6. I’ve thought about this topic for years, tried so many different things, have close to 125 cookbooks…I’ve typed some up and that just took way too much time. I’ve had a master list of recipes from each cookbook and never used it as a reference. The truth for me is that I love looking through the cookbook each time to search for a good recipe. For my top favorite recipes I do write those in a blank recipe keeper book.

    I guess you could always scan the recipes you like and create your own “virtual” cookbook that you can organize by food type, meal type, cuisine, etc. But you would need your laptop with you in the kitchen…or just create a list of recipes and make sure to reference the cookbook so you can easily find the recipe.

    So many options and I have yet to figure out the best one for me! Good luck and let me know what works out for you!

  7. Julie

    My mom kept all her recipes in those old-fashioned photo albums that were the sticky pages. So far mine are just in a basket but my plan is to put them in a notebook of some kind (probably slip each into a sheet protector and put in a 3-ring binder) and separate by category. I also have a huge cookbook collection which is prominently displayed on bookshelves.

  8. Kat

    I have mine all on index cards in an index card box file alpabetically…I’m not very high tech. I still have my life organized on my wall calender…so advice from me probably isn’t too helpful.

    I too had my office so orderly it was ridiculous. When I got back from maternity leave, I could tell EVERYTHING that had been moved, and I FOUGHT the urge tooth and nail to move it in front of my temp…we overlaped a day because someone else was out sick. That 1 day of letting everything be out of order was a test of my patience. But, Sigh, my home is not like that at all. The task of organizing it all with my own budget, not my bosses is tough. I desire to be organized, but am so not, it’s ridiculous!!!

  9. i’m old school – i keep my cookbooks on the counter and any recipes I pull off the computer ( i get emailed recipes daily from ivillage and foodnetwork) that I want to try i print out the 4×6 version and put it in a cute little storage box that also sits on the counter.
    a girlfriend of mine has organized hers into a 3 ring binder w/ sheet protectors and still has her cookbooks on a little bookshelf nearby. There is something soothing about flipping through a cookbook and finding a recipe you didnt know was there or had forgotten you wanted to try.
    I’m honestly too lazy to put them all on the computer and then have to scroll through them one by one. It’s much more fun to me to actually SEE them and touch them.
    I’m UBER OCD organized in MY office so I totally understand your need for wanting to have it all together.
    P.S LOVE the idea of one central folder for special events and traditions and will probably borrow that idea!

  10. emily e.

    Most of my recipes are on the computer (from before I had children…you know, when you had lots of time and nothing to do!), but they aren’t always handy there. When Adam and I got married, his sister gave me a binder with some of her favorite recipes in it, sectioned off by type, of course. Now, when my “recipe drawer” is getting to full and crazy, I hole punch them and file them in the binder. I have found that it holds the recipes I use more often (either that or my recipe box…but since I print most of my recipes from the computer, most are on 8 1/2 x 11 paper).

    Not much help…sorry!

  11. I also have some of my most used recipes on index cards and stored in a plastic (easy to wipe clean) photo album. It’s kind of my own personal cookbook. It houses my favorites and family holiday type recipes. It’s so nice to have them all in one place. This I keep in the kitchen.

  12. oh if i only enjoyed cooking…i have lots of recipies and they are scattered between books, magazines, printed from the computer in a notebook and a recipe box…maybe someday i’ll get my self organized enough to put them all together (but i’m not counting on it being any time soon)

    i love your idea of the basket in the kitchen with the notebook that has everything in it…i may have to work on doing something like that too. you have some of the best ideas…

  13. Ugh, I keep thinking of more!

    I don’t recommend using the old-fashioned albums with the sticky pages because I like to take the cards out. I use one from Michael’s where it is easy to pull out a single recipe card and put it back in when you’re finished. This way, you don’t have to worry about how to keep the album open, and how to look at the back of the card if the recipe is too long to fit on the front, etc.

    Good luck with your organizing! See you later!

  14. I use the computer too – either scanned or in worked documents. eventually, I’m going to get hubby to set up a recipe database on our family website. I’m not sure how it will work because he’ll either make it or find a program that he believes works well!

  15. Mary L.

    I think I’ve showed you my system. I bought matching red cloth binders, dividers with 2 pockets, sheet protectors, and those photo protection pocket things in 2 sizes. The binders have a clip on the inside to clip things I need to organize. I came up with a million categories, typed up tabs for the dividers, retyped any recipes I had scribbled on scraps of papers, and slid sheets from magazines in the sheet protectors and recipe cards in the photo pockets. I like the pockets for sticking recipes that I want to store or try before committing to storing them. This system works for me!

  16. Laundry Lady

    I absolutely love cookbooks! I also have tons of them. I’ve tried several ways & having them all on my computer doesn’t work for me. I would prefer to open the cookbook most of the time. My exception to that is I keep quick favorites on my blog so there is little hunting around. When I read a cookbook I take post-its (the larger ones with lines) and as I go through, I note the page # and recipes I would like to try first. I may not do them right away, but when I’m in a hurry to find something new next time I look in the front cover for those favorite ideas. (I also make note of the napkin ideas, etc.) In addition to that, I make notes next to the actual recipe when I try a new one on what worked/didn’t, who liked it/didn’t, changes I’d make next time, etc.

    Also, I like to pick one cookbook and cook from it for the week. It’s a good way to actually use the book fairly often.

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