How to Organize Your Recipes

You know you had your mother's apple pie where the heck is it?

Here's how to get your recipes organized with plenty of time to spare until the next craving hits.

First, take an inventory of what you have. Cookbooks? Recipes ripped from magazines or newspapers? Old handwritten recipes or recipe cards? A bunch of bookmarked online recipes? Get everything together (including printing out the recipes you have on the computer) so you know what you're dealing with.

Decide on a recipe classification method, something like: appetizers, soups, salads, meat, pasta, desserts, etc. Once you've looked through your recipes, it should become a little clearer what categories are most important for you.

Preserve any old or handwritten recipes by laminating them. This is an easy and cheap way to keep them intact for your great-granddaughter.

Invest in a big three-ring binder with lots of clear sheets and some tab organizers. Print the name of each category on a tab, and then start filling in the clear sheets behind it with your recipes. Anything with writing on the front and back gets a whole sheet to itself, while one-sided recipes can share sheets. Recipe cards can be glued to a piece of paper -- about four should fit -- or you can buy special clear sheets with little windows for the cards (kind of like a photo album).

As you're going, don't be afraid to toss out recipes you don't think you'll ever use. Remember, they just keep you from getting to the really yummy stuff that ends up buried in you recipe binder!

Now find out how to organize your spices.