28 January 2011


While I can make a great big mess just about as well as anyone, I also have a talent for organization. Sometimes, I try to organize things and the system fails.  For example, all the whatzits for my various gadgets...

I have failed a few ways at keeping these organized.

However, I have a recipe organization system that has stood the test of time.  It is based on an article I read in Real Simple 5 + years ago.  It's buit on binders, sheet protectors, and tape.

To put this system in action, you must first decide what main categories your recipes fall into.  Mine are...
veggie mains
veggie sides

For each category, there is a tab and a cover-sheet.  The cover sheet is used to write down favorite recipes in books that fit into the category

I made these by sending lined paper through my laser printer.  

For loose recipes--things scribbled onto scrap paper, xeroxed from library books, clipped from magazines, or printed from the internet--I slip them into the sheet protectors and file them in the appropriate section.

With smaller recipe cards, I recommend taping them to a colorful sheet of paper.

Now, the Real Simple article recommended using a big binder and adding recipes you hope to try soon.  I do not do either of these things.  (a) I use a 1.5" inch binder.  But I have four of them.  And I know which sections are in which because they are different colors. And I keep a list on my fridge.

In my opinion, a bigger binder would just be too cumbersome to whip out and flip through...a few lighter binders is better!  Also, (b) I keep recipes I want to try, but have not yet tried in a separate binder (the "fourth" binder).  Most of the time, I just want to make stuff I already kind of know how to make, and I don't want to dig past a bunch of recipes to find my "tried and true" recipes.  And then there are other times when I'm in the mood for branching out and trying something new, and it is fun to have all of the new ones already in one place.

And by the way, I take the recipes (in their protective sheets) out of the binders when I am making my grocery list for the week.  I put them on my clipboard which I keep in the kitchen.  I put recipes back in the books--at the beginning of the section--once I have made the dish.  It's all pretty seamless and awesome.

Anyway, I was just thinking about the recipe binders today because for the first time in a long time, I need to add a new section: homemade goods.

I've had a homemade deodorant recipe on the fridge for over a year (based on this recipe).  And earlier this week, I made spoon oil for my cutting boards (found via Happy Stuff). And today I tested out some handmade leather cleaner (test splotch looks great so far), so, you know, I need to put all these recipes somewhere other than the side of my fridge!

Looking at this picture of the spoon oil reminds me...I need a lightweight little jar or tin to for carrying lotion in my purse.  Any recommendations?  Something the size of a spools of thread or a matchbox car would be perfect.


  1. I use a little jam jar from a hotel I stayed at once for holding my homemade lotion that lives in my purse. You can also get the same little jars (in a variety of sizes and shapes, actually) at World Market (with all sorts of yummy things inside to boot).

  2. I prefer solid beeswax lotion bars, they won't spill and I put them in recycled candy tins.

  3. Film canisters work great...

  4. I use a small plastic shampoo type bottle - the type from a drugstore to be used for travel? It's three ounces maybe?

    You may be interrested in my friend's blog, she shares lots of recipes for going green. body scrubs, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. Check her out!


  5. What about those little tins you get some breath freshener mints in, or the ones you can get for putting medication in to carry it around (and protect in your purse) there are some lovely ones here (http://www.etsy.com/listing/62155549/small-rectangle-mint-gift-tins-pill) on etsy

  6. Too funny! I love Real Simple Magazine but must not have been reading when this article came out otherwise my life would have been Real Simple Real Sooner. I've been working on a similar project (for an embarrassing long time) http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com/2011/01/recipe-scrapbook-new-2011-project.html

    No suggestions about the lotion but hope you can find something!

  7. I love your organisation. I have something very similar. But I now have four big fat folders with just desserts! :)

  8. http://www.rachelssupply.com/lipbalm.htm

    This is a source (I googled it & I have no idea about value/service/reputation/etc.) for lipbalm pots - sounded worthwhile for your lotion...

    BTW I keep my recipes on my yahoo e-mail - I can search "chicken" & get far too many hits. But tonight, I am going to try a new recipe - that I had cut & pasted from "somewhere on the net."

    Oh & my 2 year old son loves lip balm - I may get one of those kits, so that we can make some. :o)

  9. I keep a little tin of Burt's Bees Hand Salve in my purse. Can't spill - great for cuticles and hands while on the go.

  10. SO CUTE! I love the zucchini bread recipe page!


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