I used to organize my recipes with the binder system, but I changed my system for two reasons. The first reason being that I wanted something that would be pretty and fun to maintain. Secondly, I found full-sheet recipes cumbersome to deal with in the binder, and when I took out a single recipe page to use instead, I got reeeeel lazy about filing them back in the binder.
Here's my solution:
This is my recipe file box. It's somewhat large (11" wide x 7" deep x 5-1/2" high), and I found it at Michael's. Michael's usually has lots of different sized boxes in their Home Decor section, so I recommend looking there first. You'll want to take one of your recipe cards with you to make sure that it's a good fit, especially if you're planning to keep the lid on. Baskets also work nicely. I recovered my box with scrapbook paper and a little Modge Podge, and I also removed its lid (because of the laziness filing factor--I don't want to have to lift and close the lid, you know). My recipe cards are approximately 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" and they are stored inside these sheet protectors. I made the dividers out of chipboard and just covered them with scrapbook paper and a digitally scrapbooked title for each section. It was all adhered and covered with Modge Podge. I'm not wild about the labels, they're too industrial looking for this pretty box, but I haven't come up with a better solution yet. I'm open to suggestions.
This is what my recipes look like inside their sheet protectors. I digitally scrapbook recipes that are tried and true keepers, and then they end up in this box. I have lots of my digitally scrapbooked recipes on my blog, so be sure to check them out on my right side bar under the Recipes heading. If you want to know how to print and use my digitally scrapbooked recipes, go here.
I always have lots of recipes that I want to try out, and I don't want to keep them with the tried and true recipes because my recipe box would be cumbersome to deal with. When I'm in a hurry, I want to grab something I know is a hit, and I don't want to have to sift through question marks.
This mostly happens when I'm doing my menu planning and making my grocery list. If I have a super busy week, I stick with the tried and trues. If I have a lighter schedule, I'll try a few new recipes and then make recipe cards out of them if I decide they're worth it to me. If not, I just throw them away. Er, recycle them. I have tremendous environmental guilt.
This is an example of my Grocery List, which is double-sided. Peanut Head and I have been using this since we got married nearly 18 years ago, and it's a system that I swear by. Especially since he is in charge of the maintaining of the list. I have a tendency to screw up the columns when I'm trying to be too anal about hyper organizing everything. If you want to give it a go, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send my list to you to customize for yourself.
The list has been updated many times, as we have it organized by the grocery store we do our shopping at. When our grocery store moves things around, we do a bit of grumbling because it means we have to change our list to accommodate it. Grrrr.
However, this list saves loads of time and virtually eliminates the problem of running out of things because we can check items on the list immediately, or simply jog our memories by reading down the list and checking things off.
Once I've planned my menu for the week and made my grocery list, I store the recipes I plan to make that week in a little magnetic pocket on the side of my refrigerator.
I'm also a bit of a messy cook, and can easily lose my recipe, so I keep it on this little magnetic stand while I'm cooking. It's simply a piece of sheet metal, covered in pretty scrapbook paper, and then that metal piece is resting in a wood block with a groove cut down the center at an angle. I love this thing, I can't even tell you how much.
Here it is doing it's job. I just digitally scrapbooked this recipe, so if you want it, and it's to die for by the way, go here. You won't be sorry.
That's it. That's how I organize my recipes. It's an ongoing work in progress for me, and I will probably never be finished. That's okay though, because I love trying new recipes. Thanks for stopping by.
UPDATE: I now laminate my recipe cards instead of using the page protectors. I also made some recipe card dividers to share. Go here to read about that.