5 Easy Action Steps to Create Cookbooks (and De-clutter Too!)

Create cookbooks and get organized! That’s right. You can create cookbooks and de-clutter at the same time!

Somewhere in the back of your mind you know there is a better way to organize all those recipes printed from the internet or clipped from newspaper food sections that you’ve been stashing away. Maybe you have a box full of them in a garage cupboard waiting to be tested, tried and perhaps tossed one day (I admit I still have one out in the garage).

Organizing these recipes to create cookbooks doesn’t have to be such a monumental project that will never get done. Break up the task into small stages and it will be a cinch to create cookbooks that have purpose for you and your family.

Here are 5 easy action steps to get you going:

Action 1 – Set a Deadline
You must set a time frame to complete these action steps so you don’t find yourself staring at an unfinished project weeks from your starting point. If you have hundreds of recipes to declutter, perhaps 15 days is a realistic deadline. The sooner the better. Otherwise, you will get distracted by something else that needs doing (you know you will).

Action 2 – Make a Place
Get started in your new quest to declutter and create cookbooks by locating a small space in your home to work temporarily. A small portable table that folds up or can be moved easily is an excellent choice.

Action 3 – Sort Recipes
Plan to sort your recipe collection a little at a time every evening while watching TV or walking the treadmill (multi-tasking in its finest art form). Alternatively, put the kids to work sorting all those collected recipes into neat common “food-grouped” piles. You’ll be surprised at how they can get involved in the idea to create cookbooks, and they may also want to try new dishes, too. Of course, you may have to bribe them with the promise of chocolate chip cookies, or whatever, but that is small payment for what they can accomplish for you (that is, if you can get ’em to sit still long enough, and NOT in front of a computer).

Action 4 – Make File Folders
Once the recipes are piled into categories, put them all into file folders that you have labeled by type. If you have a lot of folders due to the variety of your recipe sorting, you might need a box or upright file holder to keep them neat. Or, if you are more like me, just pile them together. In a few days, when you are using the recipe template to enter your recipes to create a cookbook, you will be able to work on similar sections at a time (although you don’t have to).

Action 5 – Sort Again
You are almost ready to create cookbooks! Open up each file folder and ask yourself these questions, honestly and sincerely: Do you really, really, really need to keep this recipe? Do you really, really, really want to make this recipe? What is it about this recipe that you like so much? Your tastes change, and what looked good to you 20 years ago may be ridiculous to eat today. Once you’ve gone through this exercise, you can set yourself free to create cookbooks that will be contemporary and more personal. In this action, you may also find that some recipes you want to save may need to go into a different category!

There, you are ready to create cookbooks. You’ve already accomplished a great deal just by tackling that nagging “I’ll do it someday” feeling about clearing out your recipe collection. Plus you’ve opened up some extra space and gained some satisfaction in the bargain. Now you can begin entering your recipes into the recipe template because you are familiar with all the recipes and know they are ones you really, really, really want.

Interested in learning more about how to clean up your recipes? Check out how cookbook templates can help, and just in case you are 7 Reasons Not to Make a Cookbook in Word.

I make Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software, a great way to organize and create family cookbooks.

Happy cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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