If you like to have hard copies of your recipes, you’ll probably need a place to store them so you’ll have easy access when it’s time to brainstorm dinner ideas. Keeping your recipes neatly organized can be a breeze if you have a recipe binder.
I know what you’re thinking. Why not just use a tablet or your phone to look up the recipes online? That could work too. I have a Pinterest recipe board with sections for recipe categories. But for those of us who prefer instant access to our recipes, a binder is just more convenient. I have a hard enough time getting myself motivated to make dinner. If I’m on a device, I may get distracted or start doing other things I’d much rather be doing. Cooking is not my favorite.
A recipe binder is easy to create. Keep reading and I’ll walk you through how I set mine up.
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Supplies You’ll Need
You don’t need much to set up a recipe binder. Here are the basic supplies.
Any binder will do. You can even reuse a binder you already have lying around the house. My recommendation is to use something with a plastic cover. Keep in mind that this binder will be living in your kitchen. Things can get messy when you’re cooking so it’s nice to have a binder you can wipe down.
It also helps to get something pretty since you’ll probably want to keep it out where it’s easy to grab. If you have to see it often, you want it to be easy on the eyes.
It’s a good idea to go with a standard size. In the US, the easiest to find is an 8.5 x 11, three-ring binder because that’s probably the paper size you’ll be using to print out your recipes.
The spine size entirely depends on how many recipes you think you’ll be printing out. If you have a ton of recipe printouts, you may want to go with a three-inch binder. Or you can even set up multiple binders, one for each large recipe category. I don’t have lots of recipes so I have a one-inch binder. I find that the smaller size is much more manageable. I also made sure my binder had pockets on the inside of the cover to keep recipes I want to try but am not sure I’ll keep.
I got my cute, polka dot binder at Target. They have a great selection of colorful binders so it was easy to find one I liked. Amazon also has a ton of options and I purchased this adorable cupcake binder set for a different project. These would be perfect to store recipes as well.
The next thing you’ll need is page protectors. You could skip these if you have a three-hole punch, but I recommend them for two reasons. The first is that if you flip through your binder often, the pages may tear at the puncture holes then you’ll have pages falling out and nobody wants that. The second reason is to literally protect your pages and make things wipeable. I tried skipping the sheet protectors and would get food stains on my recipes which was super annoying. (Yes, I’m a messy cook.)
You can find page protectors anywhere. I got mine at Staples but you can also order them on Amazon which has slightly better pricing. The Amazon Basic sheet protectors are a good, inexpensive option.
To make things easy to find, you’ll want to divide your recipes into categories. The best way to do this is to use dividers for each category. I’ve seen some good DIY dividers you can make using file folders or cardstock. Here’s a great tutorial created by Megan over at TheHomesIHaveMade.com.
If you’re not the DIY type, you can buy inexpensive dividers but make sure they’re the right size. It turns out that using page protectors bumps the pages out by about half an inch. If you don’t buy dividers that are long enough they won’t stick out past the pages. (I found this out the hard way.)
My solution to this problem was to create my own dividers using the Avery Ultra Tabs. I found a polka dot set to match my polka dot binder, because how could I resist? I created a cover sheet for each recipe category using Canva.com and placed it inside one of the page protectors. Then I stuck a tab on the edge. You can also write the category name on the tab but I decided against that since I don’t have very many categories and my handwriting is the worst.
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The last thing you’ll need to do is set up your recipe categories. The categories you choose will be entirely up to you and you should go with whatever makes things easiest.
I only have five categories:
I would recommend having fewer categories just to keep things simple to find. But if you really do have lots of recipes that need to be categorized then maybe you should consider creating multiple binders.
Set Up a Maintenance Schedule
As awesome as a recipe binder is sometimes it can get overstuffed. I make it a point to go through it and figure out what recipes I’m actually using. I keep it from getting too full by purging recipes a few times a year.
It’s That Easy
Now you have a place to store your printed recipes, the ones you tear out of magazines, and even pages ripped out of your cookbooks if you’re feeling especially daring.
Until next time, happy organizing!