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...
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.