Say it with me ~ Release the cookbooks!!

Okay ladies, let’s be honest here.  How many cookbooks do we really need?  Do they breed in the night or what?  This is what I want to know because it seems I just went through my cookbooks and yet somehow today it was necessary to purge some more.  I managed to purge 7 in fact!   How did I know it was necessary?  Well I have very scientific cookbook criteria don’t ya know 🙂

You know it’s time to de-clutter your cookbooks when:

1.  you can no longer store them all in one location

2.  your shelf is sagging from the weight of them all

3.  you haven’t used one in over a year

4.  you only use one or two recipes from a single cookbook

5.  the dream you were hoping they would fulfill just hasn’t come true

6.  you fill in the blank

Mine all fell under criteria #3.  Here they are on their way out the door to the thrift store.


Yes I know those are perfectly good cookbooks but truthfully it’s a waste for them to sit on my shelf neglected when someone else can be enjoying them.   Since starting Menu Plan Monday I use the internet for most of my recipes now so my cookbooks have been ignored for far too long.  They just don’t deserve that abuse.

I let them go, can you?

I want to hear numbers, lots and lots of numbers.  Leave a comment with the number of cookbooks you’ve released and at the end of the day (Friday night) we’re going to total them up and rejoice.  Oh yes we are.

You can do this.

Be strong.

Do it for the cookbook.


Updated:  Need more motivation?  Check out this post over at Unclutterer ~  It’s a Cookbook! 

Filed under: Purging, Recipe Organization


101 Responses to Say it with me ~ Release the cookbooks!!

  1. 1
    Queen B says

    Oh, Laura. I don’t think I can do this.

    I want to do it. (Sort of.) But I don’t think I can release them.

    Confession: I have boxes of cookbooks in my attic.

    Do I need therapy?

  2. 2
    rainbowcreek says

    Exactly! That is why my blog is “recipe free” ! I even posted no cookbooks in my swap profiles because I faced the reality a long time ago. My habit is to decide what I want to make, browse a bunch of recipes online and then make up the recipe as I go. Except for baking, that is another story, but I do take some liberties with baking recipes too, mostly adding things that sound good to me. I do have 2 cookbooks from my mom c.1948 and they have a lot of old handwritten recipes from my grandma stuffed inside. Will never part with those.

  3. 3
    Karen says

    If I want to make a new dish I always go to You can create your own recipe box.

    However, there are a few old family favorites that I love and if I lose that little 3×5 card I’m mourning the loss.

    I also love those fundraiser cookbooks that organizations sell. Everyone submits their very favorite recipes and they are all good.

    So, when the club I belong to published a fundraiser cookbook, I made sure those old favorites were submitted. Now if that little 3×5 card gets lost, it is in the club’s cookbook.

  4. 4
    Tasha says

    I have probably over 150 cookbooks. I collect them, but even I admit it is time to let some go!

  5. 5
    Kin says

    Not only do I have over 90 cookbooks, I have 2 years of 2 different monthly recipe magazines, plus 4 display folders of ones I’ve ripped out of other magazines before tossing them last time we moved house.

    In my defence, M&M (my daughter – 5) and I enjoy our Sunday morning cuppa on the back patio going through cookbooks finding new and exciting things to cook and eat.

    And about 20 of them are my husbands. I would get shot if I got rid of those. So my cookbook collections stays. Though I am proud that I’ve stopped adding to it 🙂

  6. 6
    Allison says

    Sell them!! Then use the money to buy some great baskets to hold your remaining cookbooks. 🙂

  7. 7
    Kim says

    Wow this is timely! You know what I’m doing? I’m making my own recipe binder with the one or two recipes I like from most of my cookbooks and then I’m going to purge them. I have tons of cookbooks and could never in my lifetime make every recipe. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. I have a Gooseberry Patch book addiction. Oh I just love those! I’m not parting with those! LOL. Oh and someone mentioned, RecipeZar is another great website.

  8. 8
    Everything Moms says

    I am easing my guilt by donating them. I can let go if I think somehow a new Mama is using them 🙂 (I know in reality they will probably land in a dumpster in the ally.. work with me here)

    Thanks for getting me motivated!

  9. 9
    mamajuliana says

    I donated half of mine to a church basket bingo fundraiser. Just my cookbooks alone were enough to fill a big Longaberger basket! Hopefully someone is using them now.

    I am down to one bookshelf full of cookbooks. I like collecting old grange and church cookbooks…sorry I can’t get rid of those…right now anyway

  10. 10
    Sam says

    I’ll admit I gasped a little when I read you purged some of your cookbooks. I don’t think I’ve ever let go of a book. I still have my learn to read books from when I was a kid.

    I do have cookbooks I have never opened that I could use the shelf space for ones I’ve been wanting to get and I know I’ll use. Hmmm…I’m going to have to think about this. It’s going to be tough!

  11. 11
    Kris Van Allen says

    So wild you posted this….just last week I started cleaning out things in the laundry room (I keep cookbooks on a shelf above the washer). I looked up at the books, and it was like they were taunting me. All that money spent on books that I never use. So I did it…got ruthless.

    I didn’t even open them. Didn’t look at the recipes that has PostIt notes sticking out.

    I kept 3 (1 of which I really should have gotten rid of)….one was my mom’s Betty Crocker she got from my uncle back in the early 60s, complete with food stains, and 4 leaf clovers she found over the years pressed inside.

    I took TWENTY FIVE to Half Price books. I only got $17.50 for them, but I feel so free!

  12. 12
    Berit says

    I agree. I have way too many! I did find about 5 the other night that I am just getting rid of! I don’t think I ever used them. Granted some are more of the cookbooklet style, but still…

    Then there are some where I only want a little information from them – so I will pull that information out. I just haven’t had the time to do that yet – but it is part of my plan.

    There are more where I do want to save even more recipes, so that will take longer… but given time (and willpower), it can be done…

    some, I’m not sure I’m ready to give up… but at least I’m making progress

  13. 13
    Casey says

    For most of my menu planning, I also use allrecipes. (It’s such a great site!)But the thought of getting rid of ANY of my cookbooks sends me into a panic.

    I am obsessed with two items…cookbooks and baskets. Even though they don’t get used often enough, I just can’t bear the thought of getting rid of them!

  14. 14
    Cupcake says

    I want to do this!! and my cookbooks haven’t been used in at least a year!!! so i just purged 4 but it hurt.. hurt bad!! (LOL) now I need a mt dew… whewww…

  15. 15
    orneryswife says

    A few years ago when we changed our eating style to more healthy fare, I got rid of about 40 cook books. I have added new ones in their place, but they are about how to cook this newer healthier way. It does seem a shame to keep a whole book for just a few recipes, though. Good plan for a purge-fest!

  16. 16
    Andrea says

    I just put about 25 in a box to take to the used book store. The rest are ones that I kept to get my favorite recipes out of before I purge some of those…. I have a small cookbook problem. LOL

  17. 17
    Krista says

    Get rid of my cookbooks? Are you serious? I have boxes of them in the garage and the bottom of my china cabinet is full! I love cookbooks. I read them just like novels. I can’t do it, I just can’t!!!

  18. 18
    Betty says

    This is an area at my house that needs to be gone through and discard those that I don’t want or use anymore. Before I decide to get rid of some, I’ll look through them and see if there is anything that we could use at Midweek manna dinners and if a recipe lookes interesting, I will make a copy of that and then get rid of the book. Have to return some library books back this weekend, so this will be a good time to go through the cookbooks and decide what has to go.

  19. 19
    Honey says

    Got rid of mine a long time ago! I bought some cheap (but cute) photo albums from Walmart and made my own cookbooks. Now I only have tried and true recipes. I keep a small folder of things we might like to try, but until we try them and they pass inspection they don’t make it onto the shelf in the kitchen. For anything else I need I google. Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. 20
    Jeni says

    A bunch of mine are on their way out! I’m keeping 2 for sure – my basic Better Homes & Gardens that I use all the time, and my Hershey’s cookbook, that has all kinds of delectable desserts. Everything else is headed for the yard sale or Goodwill!

  21. 21
    Pam says

    I was actually ahead (or with) you on this. I went through cookbooks over the weekend and purged SIX. I kept FIVE. Most of them are homemade family ones. I too now use the internet to find recipes. My friend has a blog for her personal cookbook and I’m thinking that is how I am going to organize my recipes.

  22. 22
    Jane says

    I purged my cookbook shelves a few weeks ago – didn’t keep track, but 2 BOXES worth went out the door. I still have more than I really need, but some have special meaning to me!

  23. 23
    Katie says

    When you google “Organizing your recipes” they all have one thing in common when they talk about purging cookbooks . . .
    Save the basics! Never throw away your Betty Crocker or Joy of Cooking cookbooks. They are more or a resource for tips about cooking, canning, and storing food than recipe books. When I go home for lunch I’m already thinking about which books have to go, but Betty and Joy get to stay!

  24. 24
    Amy Norton says

    But… but… what if I need them later?

  25. 25
    Andie Anderson says

    I’m with ya Laura, I’ll go through my stack, I know I have at least 10 I never use. I’ll probably sell them on Amazon or Craigslist!

  26. 26
    Laura says

    Oh my I see we have some cookbook release resistance…LOL

    Trust me if you haven’t used a cookbook in over a year, chances are you never will.

    If it makes you feel any better scan or rip out the few pages you do use and get rid of the big book. Just think of the space you’ll save!

  27. 27
    Abigail's Mommy says

    I always look up recipes online. DH always ask me “Don’t you have a recipe for that in one of your thousands of cookbooks?”. To be fair to I only bought one of them which I use. My MIL bought the rest.

  28. 28
    Mel says

    I actually did this a year ago and it was a relief! I listed about 12 of them on paperbackswap or gave them away to friends, basically cutting my number in half. More space in my cabinet and less guilt having to look at them all the time!

  29. 29
    Luana Parker says

    I have found that the program Big Oven is a true blessing. Usually if I find a recipe in a magazine I go to their website (the magazines) and find it. Once I have it on the page, I open Big Oven and it imports it in one mouse click – LOVE IT! Then I save it to my cookbook file. It also has over 1,000 Rachel Ray’s recipes, and many other food network stars cookbooks. I have been using this for over 3 years and I still love it. One thing, I still buy an occassional cookbook, then a couple weeks later wonder why I bothered when I can import it. If you want more information about it, let me know, I’d love to share it with you!!

  30. 30
    Kris says


    I will go through again… but I have to admit, a whole bunch of them are on the science of cooking!! Can’t get rid of those 😀

  31. 31
    Camille says

    I gave away all but 3 cookbooks about a year ago. Some suggestions for those hesitant to let go:
    1) Go through and copy recipes you may want to keep. Sometimes a cookbook only has 1 or 2 recipes worth keeping.

    2) Make a list of the cookbooks you are giving away. If you ever have the urge to peruse it, get it from the library! I haven’t bought a new cookbook since I started borrowing from the library first!

  32. 32
    Katchmo says

    Hey I am learning to do this and it is great. I have a tall, narrow white shelf in my eating area for my cookbooks. I am trying to stick to the rule that if all my cookbooks must fit on it. Recently I got rid of all my diet and lowcarb cookbooks. I am trying to just learn moderation and need to eat the frugal meals I cook for my family. It was great to have all that room!

  33. 33
    money-savingmommy says

    I did this last summer and you’d be shocked at what people will pay for cookbooks! At least I was. I’ll admit that I have a shelf on my family room bookshelf devoted to cookbooks that I can’t get rid of. My rationale: What if I need one of those recipes after I get rid of the book? There are some great suggestions for sites to sell them on. I might have to try that! Great post! Really got me thinking.

  34. 34
    Meshellyn says

    Hi Laura,

    I actually just did this a week or so ago. I have an unfortunately small kitchen and not enough cabinet space for things I do use. So I emptied my shelf of cookbooks which have not been used much since purchased or received as gifts. I sorted through and cut the stack in half, maybe a little smaller. It felt so good to regain that space! My husband however wasn’t too happy to see some of the cookbooks going bye-bye since he does much of the cooking. BUT, we mostly use online recipe sites for our recipes anyways – they are gone!

  35. 35
    Courtney B. says

    I just did this to my cookbooks, I had WAY too many!

  36. 36
    steph's mommy brain says

    Last year when I declutter I hauled over 20 cookbooks out of my house. I enjoy them but the truth is I rarely cook from them these day. My little ones don’t appreciate experiments and the internet is too handy. Most of my collection came from my Grandma after she died. I realized she rarely used them so I let them go. I kept a few sentimental ones – like her OLD Betty Crocker. I felt much better after they were gone. I even asked my mom NOT to give me any more. And she didn’t! 🙂

  37. 37
    Laura says

    Great tips and encouragement ladies, thank you!!

  38. 38
    feener says

    how true….i really should do this. really really really, will i, that is another question. i think i should do it now while i got the fire.

  39. 39
    Katie "MidwestTwinGi says

    I love to photo-document my progress (I’m nuts about these challenges in a good way!) But I’m a little stuck on what to do with what I call ‘heirloom cookbooks’ . . .the books that were put together by your school, community or church. They are all recipes that I grew up with, but only consult a few times a year. Should they go to a book shelf somewhere else?

  40. 40
    Jennifer, Snapshot says

    You have reformed me, Laura! Put a feather in your cap. Your whole mantra of “designated space” always sticks with me, and for cookbooks it worked. I have a shelf above my desk in my kitchen. It holds my cookbooks (okay, there are a few on the bookshelf in the basement).

    I used to buy and buy cookbooks, but not anymore, and if I do — one’s gotta go!!

  41. 41
    Kara says

    I just gave away five last week. They all looked brand new, and a couple even had a very modern chic look to them. But I did manage to get them out the door. I used Freecycle so they’d go to someone who definitely wanted them. I haven’t missed them yet. 🙂

  42. 42
    Teri says

    Honestly, I try to “Go Green” in as many ways as I can…that includes not buying tons of paper-printed stuff. I have one cabinet space (above my microwave, which is above my stove, so it’s a half-size cabinet) with my cookbooks & that is all! I do lots of online cook-booking & I love it! 🙂

  43. 43
    Barb Szyszkiewicz says

    I just don’t think I can do that. But last week I DID dump a three-inch-high pile of recipes I’d snipped out of magazines, and then never touched for 4 years. That felt good.

  44. 44
    Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama says

    I can’t do it today, but it’s definitely on my list to get rid of some cookbooks!

  45. 45
    Dot says

    I have mine whittled down to 15, but with your encouragement, I am going to whittle them down even more. I am having surgery at the end of next week, and now I have a project during my recovery time!

  46. 46
    Janet Barclay says

    I got rid of LOTS when we moved 5 years ago, but I admit that I only use a couple of those I still have (a dozen or less). It’s much easier to find recipes online! I’m not in a rush to get rid of them though, because right now I don’t need that shelf for anything else. 🙂

  47. 47
    Marcia "HDMac" says

    OH….. I have gotten rid of SOME…. this is like an addiction… one that MANY MANY MANY MANY x infinity have……I don’t know, Laura… I keep trying…. Ilove my cookbooks… and when I get rid of them? Well, they go to others… lol… adding to their clutter! lol But I do hear you and I do have to do something….Oh.. I donn’t know .. I might be at my minimum right now… I love themall… I look at them like they are novel! lol

  48. 48
    Steph says

    I’m probably a freak around these parts, but I don’t own any cook books. No wait, I have one, it’s a baby food cook book (super baby food.) All of my recipes come from online. If there’s one I really like, I print it out and put it in a 3 ring notebook I have. I also have some of my mom’s recipes printed in there as well.

  49. 49
    Laura says

    Katie if you have the space to keep them all together I would. Sometimes when we tuck things away we forget we have them. I say it’s fine to keep them if you use them and have the space.

  50. 50
    Yard Sale Princess says

    Thank you for this post. I read it, got up off my bum and gathered up half of my cookbooks. Two I will pass on to my friends (slow cooker, vegitarian) and the rest will go to the yard sale pile. Now I have just one shelf next to the stove. Awesome, thanks for the shove into the kitchen!

  51. 51
    Brea's Mommy says

    I couldn’t do the cookbooks, but I managed 17 other books. It is a start!

  52. 53
    Megan @ Disorder2Order says

    Awesome post Laura. I have three (and even then, I could probably toss them too… sentimental value I think). What I did was buy the betty crocker software. I loaded it on my pc and if I have a recipe worth keeping, I input it there. I did however, instead of donating my cook books, donate them as wedding gifts, new mommy gifts and/or give them to friends who hate to cook. Somehow though, my mom and mother in law keep giving me more… It seems as though they think I need more books… why do you suppose they think that?

  53. 54
    susieshomemade says

    I am committed to letting them go. I talked about this on Tackle it Tuesday. My tackle was to get the stuff I am using into my recipe software and get the stuff I wasn’t using out the door. Great post!

  54. 55
    Susanne says

    Oh woman, you are hitting me where it hurts! I loooove cookbooks. I love just leafing through them and looking at them. How ’bout if I purge my magazines with recipes in them instead?

  55. 56
    pinkbeary says

    ahhh…. cookbooks are the hardest for me to let go. i had put some cookbooks in a box to ebay… then i opened the box. alas, they are now back in my bookshelf. i don’t feel as bad keeping them as we are going to be moving into a bigger home. =)

  56. 57
    Jessica says

    HA! I am laughing so hard because I have SUCH an issue with this concept that I just started a blog on the fact. It’s called Another Cookbook Addict and the whole concept is the fact that I am ADDICTED to cookbooks, and yet I barely ever cook. I went through a cookbook purge last year and gave away a good 10 to 20 (including full-on books, newsstand booklets, etc) and I still have more than a bookshelf will hold! I am trying to force myself to use the books I have now, but I think in the future I might also try to force myself to purge the collection again… Thanks for the post and the great blog!

  57. 58
    Kim says

    7 cookbooks, 4 cooking magazines, and a Redbook magazine I never read that got caught in the crossfire! Yeah! (We won’t talk about the piles and piles of Cooking Light magazines I have left…) I’ll probably donate them to the local library.

    Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  58. 59
    Sarah says

    I had over TWO years of cooking magazines; given to me as a gift. I posted them and some other cook books on craigslist under FREE and they were spoken for in less than an hour. That’s about as close to instant gratification as you can get. 🙂

  59. 60
    Heather says

    How many did I release? A big fat ZERO!!! I simply can not let them go. It would hurt my soul.

  60. 61
    chaotic kitten says

    Well done! Someone who goes shopping at the thrift store will be very glad of them 🙂

  61. 62
    Jean says

    I purged about 6 months ago – put them all in the kitchen at work with a sign that read “Free to a Good Home”. They were all gone by lunchtime. I secretly snickered, knowing that now someone ELSE will be dealing with all that clutter. Now I have only my most beloved, treasured and use books and lots of freed-up space.

  62. 63
    denise says

    I did a cookbook cleaning about three months ago. I gave away over 150 plus cookbooks! I kept about 30 of the ones I use often or can’t be replaced. My favorites are Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook”, “Easy One Dish Meals” (readers digest) a few old home ec cookbooks-especially the one from World War 2 when they were rationing food – from this book I learned how to really stretch our food dollar.
    So trust me-it can be done!

  63. 64
    Sarah says

    Wow! How timely! I just read this and last night a girl friend and I just purged my cookbook/recipe cupboard of dozens of cookbooks and magazines. I love opening the cupboard!

  64. 65
    Christin says

    Great idea! Although I don’t collect cookbooks, intentionally or not. BUT, I have had some handed down to me and a couple that are similar that I could part with. Like you, I like the internet to find recipes as well. It’s like the world’s largest cookbook! Why would you need any other?! 🙂

  65. 66
    Tracie says

    CookBOOKS are not my problem, its those blasted magazines that show really good food on the cover that you find at the checkout stand. I have BOXES of them, and of course I can’t find a single one when it comes time to actually cooking something but I hate to just throw them away, it seems such a waste.

  66. 67
    Selena says

    I have a very small kitchen and only a few cookbooks.Yet I found even they were too much. So being an anti-clutter person, I came up with a fun system.I got a three ring binder,page protectors and my copier/computer. I made a nice cover and side bar. I copied,or retyped up my favorite recipes. As I find new ones I add. After I think I have all from a book, it goes to the dump store. Know I have a personalized cookbook with only recipes I use. And I can hand it down to my kids when I am old. Hope this sparks some creativity.

  67. 68
    mikki roo says

    I can’t believe I just found my soulmate!! I went right now to purge my cookbooks, but unfortunately I already did that a couple of months ago and there was nothing to purge! (Yay!) I’m a huge fan of internet recipes, paperless is the way to go!! I have my laptop right nearby and why would I waste valuable real estate (storage) on cookbooks I don’t use?! 🙂

  68. 69
    Sherri says

    Whew! Great idea! I’ve never thought of this! Being a self-proclaimed cookbook-collecting addict, I never DREAMED of giving them up! However, there are MANY that I don’t ever use! I have two FULL bookcases of cookbooks, and we could really use this space! Thanks again! I’ll post it in a couple of weeks once I do this!

  69. 70
    Shanna says

    Luckily, I don’t have alot of cookbooks, but yet those that I do have could probably be released since I haven’t used them in a long time. If I’m looking for a recipe I turn to the internet cause it is quicker than flipping through the pages of a book. 🙂

  70. 71
    Liz L. says

    I am a cookbook junkie. I can NOT give any up. I would gladly give any of your unwanted cookbooks a good home. EMAIL ME!!

    lil_wifey21 at yahoo dot com

    LOL Poor unwanted treasures. You should all be ashamed. ha ha!

  71. 72
    Emily says

    I did this a month or so ago and it was VERY hard. BUT, I haven’t missed one of them…Go ahead! RELEASE!

  72. 73
    Jennifer Sikora says

    I finally threw away all of my magazine cookbooks! I was stockpiling them things! I let go of about 25 magazines, and 5 cookbooks!


  73. 74
    Tracey says

    I actually got rid of one today and that was BEFORE I read this post! Yay Me! It’s always easier to let go when we know someone has a need. I’m giving mine to my sister for her teen daughter who is interested in becoming a chef. Thanks!

  74. 75
    Karla says

    Oh that hurts! I did actually declutter my cookbooks last year. I got rid of a LOT (at least 20) and donated them to my church garage sale. I’m down to about 75 or so, but I can’t part with anymore yet. Just can’t do it.

  75. 76
    Becky says

    I just went through mine in the last two weeks, as my shelf was filling up and I wasn’t using many of them. I got rid of 14!! yes, I had way too many!!

  76. 77
    Sue says

    I got rid of three! I don’t have many but I do need to go through my binder – do you have a challenge for that? 😉

  77. 78
    Angela says

    What is a reasonable number of cookbooks to have? I’m not talking about cookbook collectors or those that think of cooking as their hobby, just regular people that need to feed their families.

    I counted 55. Gulp! I did just go through 14 and copied all of TWO recipes! I think 55 cookbooks might be too many for a mom that cooks because she has to!

  78. 79
    Laura says

    Hi Angela, 55 does sound like a lot but only you can decide what the magic number is for you. I think as long as you have the space and are using them on a regular basis than you are okay. If you haven’t used one at all within a one year period then you might want to seriously consider why you are keeping it. I think most of us have our favorites anyway that we keep going back to.

    Good luck!

  79. 80
    amy says

    i am totally addicted and I dont’ care LOL!!!! my sister told me that I could have taken the family to Hawaii and back w/ the amount i have spent on the cookbooks and i told her i’d rather have the cookbook. that guy on clean house would have a FIELD day w/ me in this one. i keep them for ‘ive been there’ reasons…or a million other ones. i probalby have …drumroll..300 or so LOL!!! that includes the little booklets ok. I will blog it and take a picture and re-post;) they are all (almost) in one bookshelf. i HAVE parted with some! and i loan then out to whoever wants them! but dare I say – they are my vice and I love it… don’t hate me 😉 it will be the last area I part with but i routinely DO go thru and get rid of one or two of them at a time…

  80. 81
    Amy H says

    I don’t always participate online in the menu planning monday, but i use it VERY often. My least favorite part of being “the cook” in the house is coming up with ideas of what to cook.

  81. 82
    Kristen says

    A while ago, okay, a decade or so ago, I purged tons of cookbooks, copying down the one or two recipes in each that I used or wanted to use. Now, I am back up to the same number I had pre-purge and I am going to keep them. I missed my old ones. I’d think of a recipe or book and start hunting for it and realize it was one of the ones I’d released. I don’t want to do that again. In my defense, I am not buying any more new ones.

  82. 83
    Tamara Merritt says

    I don’t WANNA do it. I would give up my clothes first 😀 I have a 1896 FIRST EDITION Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer.

    Except for jewelry or spa trips, there is nothing I would rather receive as a gift than a cookbook. I read them like others read novels.

    I have them all indexed and insured. You really don’t want to know how many I have. I have a whole library of built-in mahogany shelves for my collection. When my great aunt dies, I will inherit her collection too. Each one loved and worn, with notes throughout them all…just like mine.

  83. 84
    Mellisa says

    Oh how I’d love to toss them. I have millions. I love the ones from the 1960 and 70’s. I don’t know why. I do have my Betty Crocker traditional cookbook some wedding present, where like the ex husband has let me down more times than I care to count. I am going to toss it! woohoo. I don’t know where they came from. I had 1, a little homemade one from a cook in my sorority, now I have too many. I even sold 8 boxes of cookbooks at my last yardsale!!!

  84. 85
    Lora says

    Well, I do have a ridiculous number of cookbooks. I just love them!! I like to read through them cover-to-cover:) I have made it a menu planning goal this year to try to use a new recipe at least once a week from one of them this year though. I haven’t done it every week, but almost…I’m getting there!

  85. 86
    Annie says

    It took me al weekend, but I am letting go of almost 30 of those little books at the register. I typed and printed the recipes from them I do use and have them ready to go today…out of the house.

    I also purged 8 other cookbooks! I still have 11 cookbooks and a binder with printed recipes. I actually use them all. I was surprised to realize this…but it feels good to have pared down to only what I use. Thanks for the motivation!

  86. 87
    Rona says

    I love your mom’s clever rotating cookbook idea.

  87. 88
    Michelle Erickson says

    I LOVE my cookbooks however, I did get rid of about 75 at last years rummage sale. That leaves me with about 150 or so…I will admit that I now only buy vintage cookbooks or regional ones when I travel so I have tried to curb the addiction!

  88. 89
    Tamy~3Sides of Crazy says

    Laura, I’ve thought about this all week and read the comments pro and con and then finally decided to put my 2 cents in. My brother gives me a specialty cookbook ever year for my birthday and Christmas. I also have the all the generational family hand me downs as well as my impulse buys from bookstores and all the cookbooklets from the different manufactuers over the years that I have collected from antique stores, etc… you get the picture. Anyway, the first thing I do when I get a new cookbook is sit down, read it from cover to cover and use one of those little 3M tabs to mark the ones I want to try and or modify (I have a color code system that also includes the “MUST TRY YESTERDAY” because they are so alluring. Once I have tried and or modified a recipe and decided if it is a keeper or not I then either post it to my blog or into my computer cookbook. I then ‘recycle’ cookbook through a pay it forward or VFW rummage sale. I do have those that will never leave my bookshelf which is vast, but you CAN’T keep them all and why would you want to if you don’t use them?? So, after that long wind, I agree with you! I’m extremely organized and one of the best ways of accomplishing that is to simplify! I am saying it with you, RELEASE THE COOKBOOKS!

  89. 90
    Gabe says

    As soon as I saw your post I went to my shelf and went through my cook books, I do this once or twice a year, but it was time to do it again! I got rid of four, but I also made a note of others I need to go through and get the couple of recipes I do use out of them and then I’ll get rid of those too.

  90. 91
    Angie @ Many Little says

    I have a whole book shelf of recipe books and binders, plus ones that I can’t fit in. I don’t know if I can really let any go, but I’ll look. I thin I would sooner let go of other books so that I can have two shelves of cook books. 😉

  91. 92
    Dianne says

    I am a serious cookbook addict. I can’t resist buying them. I just can’t. I hit rock bottom when I went to our library’s book sale and walked out of there with at least 50. I would say that I have a good 400. Well, had. We moved last year and my DH forced me to purge out my books. I’m really just a book junkie period. lol It was hard, but I knew it was silly for me to have so many cookbooks sitting around when I honestly only used a few of them. So, I got rid on a lot. I’d say 200. I need to purge out some more. I have some upstairs and some downstairs. This is a big challenge for me, because for some reason I really feel like I can’t get rid of any more! DH said if I buy a new book that I have to get rid of on of my old ones! lol

  92. 93
    Ronni Walsh says

    I have a large collection of Cookbooks. They are stored on a thin cubby sized book case in my pantry. I am making a commmitement to place the ones I don’t use into a box which will be placed into my garage storage. Then if I don’t use them by the time the spring arrives, they will be sold at my garage sale. This is not going to be easy, as I love my cook books. I do keep recipes that I use often in a plastic binder. Each is put into a plastic sleeve and when I need the receipe I take it out and put it on a pants hanger and then hang the hanger on the knob/handle of my cubbard door making it easy to read the recipe yet not take up counter space. For recipes that are in my books that I use often I either have made a copy or I have an index card in my binder which has the recipe name and the book and page in which I can find it. There are many books that I have never used, and it is time to remove those. I expect that there would be up to 40 of those! Good Luck to all of you on this challenge! I love the posts and the ideas and inspriation that comes from all of them are priceless as well as worthy of their own book!

  93. 94
    Forgetfulone says

    I don’t have a lot of cookbooks. I mostly get recipes from the Internet, too, or from family. Usually, I make it up as I go along.

  94. 95
    KindleLover says

    I know this article is way old, but it’s still a good practice. If you ever feature this again, I would mention that a lot of cookbooks are available on Amazon Kindle. It can store so many books, and there is a bookmark feature, a note-taking feature, a highlight feature, and the table of contents are like quicklinks. Compared to how much money gets spent on cookbooks plus the space they take up, it’s not a bad trade. 🙂

  95. 96
    Jutta Holden says

    I think I need help!
    I probably have more than 200 cookbook and tons of magazines, because of the recipes! It is crazy!
    I make something that my husband just loves and he wants me to make it again, well, I have a hard time remembering where that recipe came from! I LOVE to cook, love pictures of yummy looking food and love to eat!
    Now the bad news, I feel overwhelmed with all the books and recipes! I have tried weeding out and have such a terrible hard time! Disgusted with myself! Hoarding cookbooks is what I am doing! Wish someone would come and help me get rid of at least half or more! They have taken over my life!

    • 96.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Oh how I wish I could come and help you but you can do this, release the cookbooks!

      • Jutta Holden says

        Thanks for your reply, I will try to do this a few at a time and to take them right then and there to the Goodwill store!


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