Tips on organising recipes in your kitchen

How is your recipe collection – is it in need of a clean out?   You are not alone and when I work with clients to organise their kitchens it is one of the very first places we often start.  The main reason being is that usually these collections have not been reviewed in a long time and therefore can be culled.  By doing this it then creates more space for other items within the kitchen.

IMG_8179So when was the last time you reviewed your recipe collection?  Do you even know where you would start with organising recipes?  If it has been awhile then you might want to put some time aside to go through them – maybe the next rainy day even?  I usually suggest to clients its a good thing to go through yearly and keep organised.

 

You might be interested in the list below of common issues we find with recipe collections – do any of these sound like you?:

  • lots of loose recipes or bits of paper floating with recipes scribbled on them laying around.
  • you are holding onto many cookbooks as you are planning to cook something from them but never actually get around to it – the question to ask yourself if you haven’t already will you?
  • many cookbooks that have not been opened in years and are just taking up space.
  • cook books you have been given and wouldn’t have purchased for yourself therefore you will probably never even use.
  • you often look for a recipe online these days and don’t refer to your collection very often at all.

So what next you ask – here are a few more questions to ask yourself in order to organise your recipes:

  1. go through all your books and decide if you regularly use them or not?
  2. also ask yourself if you actually like a particular book or not?
  3. if you don’t use them regularly do you still want to keep a book or can it be moved on (donated)?
  4. maybe there is only one or two particular recipes in a book that you like – ask yourself if you want to still hang onto the whole book or can you take a photo or copy of those recipes instead?
  5. collect all of your loose recipes and papers and put into one pile.  You should go through these as well and ask yourself have you cooked this and was it a success?  Or if you haven’t will you in the future?  If the answer is no to any of these questions then maybe it is time to put in the recycle bin!

The next step is to put all the books back that you are keeping and then for all the loose bits and pieces you can either collate into a book/binder or even take photos so you can store them electronically.  Here are a couple of Apps you may want to check out and consider using:

  • Evernote – you can enter text, save photos or clip items from the web extremely easy thanks to its web clipper. You can organize your own notebooks however you choose.  I personally use Evernote, not just for recipes but many other things too.  I must say I love the search function to find things including recipes when I need them.
  • Pinterest – is a social media platform where you can visually bookmark pages on the web that you’d like to read or reference again.  This is the modern day version or way to clip recipes from a magazine.
  • Pepperplate – this App includes built-in kitchen timers, large, easy-to-read displays while you’re cooking, and offline access so you don’t need connectivity while you cook.
  • Paprika – this is more than just a recipe App.  Paprika makes it easy to plan, save, shop for, cook, and organize all your favorite recipes.
  • Big Oven – is like a personal assistant for the kitchen, one that has 350,000 recipes included.  Look through recipes, download a meal plan and even get a grocery list.

At the end of the day there are many so many more Apps on the market these days and I encourage you to review before deciding what might work for you – it really is a personal preference as to how you store and access your recipes online and there is no right or wrong way.

So are you going to find some time to go through your recipe books or will they continue to collect dust and take up space?

Junk drawer organisation in 5 easy steps

In most houses there is always that drawer in the kitchen which is known as the junk drawer – it is the drawer where mainly utensils that don’t seem to have a home end up.  Do you have one of these?  If I asked you to open it up right now what state would it be in?  Do you find yourself always searching for something?  Or maybe you just have too many things and even struggle to close the drawer?  In my experience, unless you keep your junk drawer organised and neat/tidy all the time, then it probably needs organising and cleaning out at least yearly.  When was the last time you organised yoimageurs?

I actually found time a few weeks ago and cleaned out mine.  Here are 5 quick and easy steps to follow so you too can organise your own junk drawer:

Step 1

Take a photo of your drawer in its current state as it is always great to compare the before and after – it can give you a big sense of satisfaction when done!

Step 2

Pull everything out of the drawer and sort into like items – by this I mean group items together that have a similar purpose such as all the tongs or all the bowl scrappers.  As you are doing this have a think about the last time you used each item?  If you haven’t used something for a long time and think you are not going to either then put it in a pile to move on/donate.

Once you have removed all items give the drawer a quick clean before everything is put back in.

Step 3

As mentioned in Step 2 above, create a pile of items that you will no longer use and are happy to pass on to someone else.   In the photo you can see that I actually found about 20 items including 11 medicine cups which had accumulated over time.  I clearly had too many and ended up only keeping three.

Another question to ask yourself is – how often do you get given something from a friend or see something in the shop that you think might be useful and put it in the drawer only to never use?  I have to say my item like this was the sandwich cutter that you sit on top of your sandwich and put the knife through to cut.  I have only probably used it once or twice if I am lucky hence why this ended up in the donate pile.

If you think you could still use these items and are not entirely ready to part with them then why not put them into a small box in a cupboard for that ‘I might need it one day’.  If though after a set period of time ie 3 or 6 months you have not used anything in that box then it definitely is time to move the items on.  Remember to make a diary note to ensure you do this too.

Step 4

When putting the items back into the drawer it might be useful to have some form of a drawer organiser so that you can at least keep like items together rather than just throwing all items back in together like a mosh pit.  These days there are so many different options at storage stores or even places like Big W or K-Mart.

When you put items back in ensure you keep the items of similar purpose together.

Step 5 – last one I promise!

Take the after photo and compare with the one you took at the start then celebrate!  It is always so satisfying when something is organised and in better shape than when you started.  Remember though the maintenance phase is just as important if not more than the organising phase and you need to take the extra time to put the items back where they belong after you have used them and NOT just throw them back in.  Good Luck!

So what will you do when it comes to your junk drawer organisation?  Are you going to go ahead and have a go?  Feel free to share your experiences with me and I’d love to hear how you go and what you find – amanda@organisingyou.com.au