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A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing Your Recipes

This guest post was written by Certified Professional Organizer® Tiffany Engler – St. Louis, Missouri –

Tiffany-recipe-supplies Supplies you will need

  • Pen
  • 1 – 4 Hardcover 2” Binder(s)
  • 100 top load Page Protector
  • 5 packets of 5-tab sheet protectors


  • Clear off the biggest table in your home.
  • Gather all of your loose recipes into a box and put the box onto a chair near the table and where you will be sitting.
  • Keep the supplies nearby, but not on the table. You will need all the room you can get.

Step 1
Pick up one recipe at a time and decide what type of recipe it is. Is it a recipe for soup, bread, or
Halloween cookies? Once you decide what type it is place it in a pile. Each pile represents a category.

When you pick up a recipe you have three choices:

  • Add it to a pile you have already created.
  • Make a new pile.
  • Recycle it. Strongly consider this option if you can’t read the recipe or you have no interest in eating and/or making it.

Tip: Keep your categories broad. Right now itʼs important to know what you have. If some piles are
becoming very large, donʼt worry about that now. We will discuss large piles. Use the following broad
categories as a guide: Beverages, Potatoes/Rice, Fish, Appetizers, Sides/Condiments, Turkey, Breakfast/Brunch, Sauces/Spices/Herbs, Chicken, Breads/Muffins, Casseroles, Lamb, Salads, Vegetarian, Pork, Soups, Low Fat Entrees, Beef, Snacks, Italian/Pasta/Pizza, Desserts, Fruit Sides, Mexican, Holiday Recipes, Vegetable Sides, Chinese/Oriental, Kid Friendly Recipes.

Tiffany-recipe-labels Step 2
Unwrap the tabbed sheet protectors and locate the tab inserts. Write the name of each category on the paper insert, with the exception of the larger categories. At the end of this step every category (minus the large categories) should have a label.

Step 3
Now take your tab inserts and line them up in the order you want them to go in to the binder. You might start with appetizers,then breakfast, then sides, entrees, desserts, etc. There is no right or wrong way. Go with your instinct.

Step 4
Put the inserts into the sheet protector tabs and then put those dividers into a binder.

Step 5
Now you can begin to put your recipes into sheet protectors. For example, if your first tab is labeled
“breakfast” put all of your breakfast recipes into sheet protectors and put them into your binder following the appropriate divider. Repeat this step until the only piles that remain are your largest piles.

Tip: If a recipe is printed on both sides of the paper then that recipe gets its own sheet protector. This way you can read both sides without having to take the recipe out of its protector. If however, a recipe is only printed on one side then you can put two recipes back to back in one sheet protector. Baseball card protectors and photo protectors are also available to buy – which might be good for some of the small clippings.

Step 6
With the larger piles remaining separate them into further categories. For example, if you had more than 30 recipes in the beverages, desserts and holiday categories, you could break them down as follows:

  • Beverages: juices, non-alcoholic Mixed, wine cocktails, flaming beverages, mixed drinks, and beer cocktails
  • Desserts: cakes, cookies, pies/pie crusts, cupcakes, ice cream, pudding
  • Holiday: Christmas, birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Year's, Easter

Tiffany-recipe-desserts Step 7
Use one binder for every large category and label the spine of the binder. For instance, Beverages will go into a blue binder and the spine will be labeled “Beverage Recipes,” Desserts will go into an
orange binder and the spine will be labeled “Dessert Recipes.” And Holiday Recipes will go into a red binder and the spine will be labeled “Holiday Recipes.”

Step 8
Similar to what you did in previous steps, use the tab inserts to make your labels, insert your recipes into sheet protectors and put the recipes behind the appropriate binder.

Step 9
Keep extra sheet protectors in the back of your binders. That way if you clip a recipe from a magazine or newspaper you can just slip it into the protector and move it behind it appropriate divider. Make space in your kitchen cabinets or pantry for your binders. And make sure it is in an easy to reach place.

I’d love to hear how you organize your recipes

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3 Responses to A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing Your Recipes

  1. I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  2. Tiffany Engler September 25, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Hi Stacey, I like how you place the most often used recipes in the front of the binders. Great idea!

  3. Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer September 22, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Great minds think alike! This is almost exactly how I have organized my recipes for years. I place my most often used categories in the front of the binder and categories of recipes I barely use live in the back of my three recipe binders.
    I have found that the plastic sheet protectors repel any food that has splashed in the general direction of the recipe and keep them nice and clean. No food splotches on our recipes!
    Stacey Agin Murray
    Organized Artistry, LLC

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