How do I organize my recipes?

Summer means drinking long, tall strawberry daiquiris by the pool, hanging out with close friends into long hours of the day, and barbecuing with herbs and sauces. I find myself going over my recipes again and again, wondering what I should cook next. Will it be barbecue pork ribs, beans, fresh fruit salads, burgers, chicken cooked in packets with vegetables, steaks, or stuffed potatoes wrapped in foil, and cooked on the grill? It means the best fruits, and the freshest vegetables, and I want to take make each and every recipe before this short season comes to an end. 


Some people collect trinkets. I collect recipes. Clipping away at all my magazines, I am stimulated by the colors and the creativity of each page. In the past, I would place them into laminated pouches and store them in three ring binders by category, i.e.; appetizers, breakfast foods, barbecue, dessert, meats, vegetables, salads, etc. In each binder lives a recipe collection composed of those I love, in addition to those I think I will love once I’ve tried them. When I open the book, I am entertained by an array of pictures that help me to visualize each enticing meal.


Recently, I started cutting out the recipes and filing them into a folder that I use in my weekly meal planning. It takes less time, and seems to make more sense. At the same time, I am starting to sort through years of collected material in my binders to question whether or not I will ever manage to make these new recipes. As a result, I now have enough recipes to wallpaper my entire kitchen.


This is a perfect project to get input from our friend the professional organizer, Kristin Mastromarino. Kristin, what is the most efficient way to organize all the recipes that have been passed down and treasured as well as those new ones I’ve clipped? Cooking for a family of six is hard enough never mind having to go through files to organize first. Should I sit down one time to meal plan for the entire week? Should I go back to my old-fashioned recipe box?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

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