Our Professional Organizer’s Four Steps to Storing and Optimizing your Family’s Favorite Recipes!

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It’s that time of year when you’ll go to extra lengths, and pull out all the stops to make a holiday meal your family will remember for years to come. Perhaps you’ll make your great-grandma’s famous holiday cookie recipe, or there’s a favorite breakfast casserole your mom always made Christmas morning, that you’ll recreate for your little ones. Whatever it may be, the last thing you want to do when it comes time for holiday cooking, is spend hours sifting through tattered recipe cards, old cookbooks, and salvaged magazines, attempting to locate that one must-have recipe.

Our NYC Professional Organizer shares four steps to help you get your family’s favorite recipes organized for the holiday cooking season:

Locate Your Family’s Favorites

First things first, you need to locate all the recipes you’ll need organized. Search through your cabinets, in your desk drawers, even in closets or under beds – wherever those recipes have ended up, bring them back together and spread them out over a large work surface. If you’ve saved whole magazines, just for one recipe, cut the recipe out (and any accompanying images) and recycle the rest of the magazine. If a recipe is on printer paper, taken from an e-mail or website, make sure it’s in good enough condition to use. If necessary, our professional home organizer in NYC recommends that you re-print a clean and legible paper.

Categorize and Prioritize

Now that the recipes are all spread out in front of you, you’ll want to categorize into a number of different categories – appetizers, salads + dressings, soups + stews, entrees, desserts, etc. Our NYC professional organizer notes that you may need to follow one of our top paper filing tips and create sub-categories, such as red meat, white meat, and seafood under the entrée category. Stack all of the old hand written recipe cards, along with the computer recipe print outs together by category to see all you have to deal with.

Storage Solutions

So, you can see how many recipes you have and what categories they fit under. Now’s the time to determine the best storage solution for you. Will all of your recipes fit into one binder, organized with categorized tabs? If so, utilize page protectors and start filling that binder up! If you have too many items for one binder, consider a multiple binder organizing solution. Select a number of smaller binders, one for each category, and fill from there. You’ll want to label the binders accordingly, for easy location. Our professional home organizer in NYC recommends that you consider decorative labels if these binders will be out on your counter, or on display in a cabinet or bookshelf. If your recipe collection is too large for the multiple binder solution, you may want to make space in a filing cabinet and create categories with hanging files. Lastly, if you’re especially tech savvy, or really lack the storage space, you could scan in all of the handwritten recipes, and magazine tear-outs and file them digitally, alongside recipes you’ve already saved from your online searches. Just be sure to apply the paper filing tips above to your digital files as well.

Optimize

You’ve found the perfect recipe storage solution for you and your favorite recipes will be easily accessible this holiday season… If you’d really like to make the most of those special family recipes, create one-of-a-kind gifts for family members by turning these random recipes into a custom cookbook! There are a number of websites with custom cookbook programs to help you create a professional-looking book full of your family’s favorites. Blurb and Shutterfly are among these custom book creation sites you can work with. If you’re lucky enough to have some of those special hand-written recipe cards from a family member who may no longer be with you, think about custom framing them! Your local custom framer may even be able to create a design where you’ll be able to see both the front and back of your recipe cards, so you don’t miss any hidden notes. Not only will this help your memories last forever, it will create a sweet decorative touch in your home!

We hope these paper filing tips for organizing and making the most of your family’s favorite recipes work to help you save time and energy this holiday season. And, of course, make some delicious memories!

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