Ask the Freak is back!

Freak?  What freak?  Oh stop you’re being too kind.  The freak is me!   For those new to my blog, don’t be alarmed, it’s how I like to affectionately refer to myself and well so do all of my friends in real life for that matter so why should you be any different?   Now you might ask if I can back that claim up and I’d say why yes, yes I can…let’s see, containers they talk to me oh yes they do and I’ve been known to talk back to them.  They comfort me and make me all silly and stuff.  It’d be embarrassing except everyone that knows me just shakes their heads and carries on as if the insanity might somehow go away if they don’t make eye contact.  I’ve been told, on more than one occasion I might add, that I should hand out geek disclaimer cards though when I introduce myself to the fine folks in my new town.  Whatever.

Anyway all that got me thinking that I haven’t done an Ask the Freak episode in awhile so why not today.  This means I go through the stack of emails I’ve got going on and pick one of your questions to finally answer.

Since I’m just about four years into this blog I’ve got a bit of blog material to refer to now and often it gets buried and is hard to find.  So you’ll see that sometimes I’ll elaborate on the answer here and other times I’ll just point you in the right direction to where I previously posted about the topic.

Today’s question is this:


I have recently started following your site.  I LOVE IT!  Thanks for sharing all the great ideas.  I was wondering if you have an idea on how to organize recipes I have printed out, clipped out of magazines, etc.  I have a ton of recipes in paper that I would love to organize to make them better and easier to find.  I was wondering before I start to come up with ideas if you have any ideas already in hand that you could share with me.  I would greatly appreciate the help.


This one I can definitely point to because this was a huge unresolved issue in my life last year and many of you will remember the journey I took to finally get my piles and clippings of recipes under control.  I’m still using the same system today which says a lot 🙂

My Recipe Organization ~ Part One and Part Two

You might also find helpful Organizing Recipes to Suit YOUR Needs

and another post I did called Organizing Recipes (I’m nothing if not original in my titles :)) where I discuss a variety of different recipe organization options.

There really are so many great ways to organize recipes, perhaps you can help my reader out by sharing your method?

Filed under: Ask the Freak, Recipe Organization


27 Responses to Ask the Freak is back!

  1. 1
    the chatty housewife says

    I like to be able to hold a stack of recipes and flip through them easily. I’m not a binder kind of person. So I have a recipe box and all my recipes are written out on to cards of the same size. Where I really get organized is in how I divide up my recipes. I have way more sections than a usual recipe box has, and I made my own dividers with thick card stock. My exact sections are as follows:
    Candy (sweet treats)
    Desserts (fancy and deep dish)
    Appetizers (& savory treats)
    Breads (& sweet breads, cinnamon rolls)
    Soups (& stews, chili)
    Starches – this is for meatless pasta, rice, bean, potato etc. recipes
    Chicken (& poultry)
    Pork (& ham)
    Seafood (& other meats)
    Condiments (gravies, sauces, marinades, seasoning mixes, pickles etc.)
    Inedibles- this is where play dough, bubbles, papier mache etc go!

  2. 2
    Anna says

    Currently, I am using the DVO Cook’n software to organize my recipes. It took awhile to get the recipes I wanted entered onto the computer from my binder and recipe box, but it was worth the effort. I can search by title, ingredient, etc.
    I have separate cookbooks within the program so that I can browse each one. (If I want to try a new bread recipe, I just go to my bread cookbook and start looking.) I put an asterisk by the title of recipes I have used before so that I know which ones are tried and true. I can also add little notes to them for variations.
    When I find a new recipe online, I can always copy and paste it to the program without having to retype everything.
    I’ve been really happy with this program.

    Before I started using the computer software, I organized using a recipe binder, and had a few things on cards. I kept one binder for the recipes that I used a lot, and another for ones that I had made only a few times (or never). Then when I wanted to try something new, I could glance through it, but my main binder wasn’t crowded. I also weeded through it at least a couple of times a year. Although, I would love to try out every recipe, I have to think about factors such as time, picky children, and available ingredients.

  3. 3
    AmyBean says

    I keep mine organized according to theme. I have my week broken into theme nights (Meatless Monday, crock pot Tuesday, etc.), so I keep my recipes in a binder arranged according to “night.” It works for me!

  4. 4
    Tanna @ Complete Organizing Solutions says

    Since Hubby is the cook of the family I leave most of this up to him but I am thinking about making a recipe book with our family favorites and adding to it as we go. I like what he makes but he does most of it off the top of his head. I watch and write down the recipe so I can try to make it on my own. (I can see the recipe now… a squeeze of this, two spoons of that. LOL) We have a few cook books I know we haven’t touched in years. Let’s see if I can get him to let those go! 🙂

  5. 5
    Annie says

    Yes my dear…I believe I called you a freak the other day (we are such good friends)!! I also use a binder…not quite as classy as yours. I’ll have to get one that. Once I print a recipe and try it…if it is going to be used again it goes in the binder.

  6. 6
    Diana says

    So thankful to the original question asker for this! I’ve been struggling big time with this. So I’m off to explore the posts listed to see what might work for us! Right now my organization system causes… um… big headaches. Literally. I’ve got a gigantic stack of cookbooks and random papers stuck up on the top shelf of the baker’s rack. And if I bump the rack, they all fall on my head!!

  7. 7
    Helen says

    I want a binder cover like yours – that is so stinkin’ cute! Can I download it?

    • 7.1
      Laura says

      Helen, I made the binder cover just with some scrapbook paper and embellishments. I’ll try and create a pdf of the title though for you if you’d like.

      • Helen says

        Oh, Laura – would you please? I’m not at all artsy-crafty. Thank you so much!

  8. 8
    Becky says

    I take all of those recipes …. either handwritten, from a magazine or on the internet …. and scan or cut and paste them into my recipe folder on my computer. I have the main folder divided into sub folders like breakfast, main dishes, desserts, appetizers and side dishes. I need to further divide the main dish folder by main ingredient ie chicken etc.

    My computer is in my kitchen so when I cooking I open the recipe and enlarge it on the screen so I can see it from where I am cooking.

  9. 9
    Amy says

    I have a recipe binder too but now instead of clipping new recipes that I see in magazines and newspapers I immediately find them online and download them and save into my electronic recipe folder.

    My recipes also include store bought favorites…like best cake mixes, frozen or fresh appetizers, etc.

  10. 10
    Janelle says

    I have three small picture books that you can pick up like at the dollar store….the ones that have 100-200 clear sleeves. One book is for desserts and breads, one is for vegetables and side dishes/salads, and the last book is for casseroles and main dishes. So far this has worked great for me. They are easy to flip through and find the dish you want and don’t take up a ton of room.

  11. 11
    Christi says

    Oooh love this post! I have a ton of recipes printed out from the internet and right now they’re in a not-so-neat stack somewhere on my desk.

  12. 12
    Jamie says

    Another idea…I bought little photo albums from Target (they were $.99 each). They are the small ones that fit one 4×6 photo on each page. I bought 6 of them and now I can just cut out a coupon (or type it up/write it out) and stick it in there. I noticed that another commenter said she uses the DVO recipe organizer. I use that too. But I still keep a hard copy of all my recipes. So for each recipe I entered on their system, I indicate what (cook)book it’s in. That way, I don’t have to print out the recipe each time. I also have printed out all my weekly menus and keep those in on of my Target photo albums. Keeping all the menus and recipes in hard copy saved me when my computer crashed and I lost all my DVO Cookin’ data/information. Having the menus all in a book also allows me to “browse” my menus when I’m ready to select one and start my meal planning.

  13. 13
    Creative Triplet Mom says

    I am forever trying new recipes. I have a basket full of recipes I’d like to try one day which consists of recipes which I torn out of magazines or printed out from the internet. I also have a box in my closet which has torn out recipes sorted by category in file folders.

    Once I try a new recipe the recipe either gets put into my family binder if it is a good recipe and I plan to make it again. But if it is not a good recipe and we all hated it I put it in the recycle bin. The family binder (I have 3 of them) consists of recipes that I have made once or many times. The recipes are in alphabetical order. In the front of my binder I have a master list which is sorted by category.

    I still haven’t been doing the meal planning. Every day I just say today is beef and then I look on my beef master list and pick out a recipe for that day. The next day we would have chicken and I alternate beef/chicken/sausage.

  14. 14
    Cortleigh says

    How can you join this site??

  15. 15
    Tisha says


    I missed all the free printables Friday (my work printer was out). Is there anyway to repost them? Thanks so much.


  16. 16
    Debbie Shawcross says

    I liked you for facebook, but somrthing’s wrong w/ your security. My McAfee goes black everytime I go on your page. Would love it if you could fix it.

  17. 17
    Terri Draper says

    We would like to use your emergency preparedness post in our church newsletter and would give you full credit along with the site reference for our members to visit. Please will you give permission for us to do so? Thank you for considering and for your great ideas.

  18. 18
    Frustrated organiser says

    I definitely feel burdened by stuff and could use some advice when your dear husband just doesn’t concur. Every time I organise a space (for example our entrance hall – the dumping ground of all dumping grounds) and get everything put away, surfaces clear, floor space clear etc it just gets filled up again! I swear that if my husband can’t see an item he just buys another to replace it: without looking in any drawers first! I recently started to clear out my stepson’s room which has become an extension of my husband’s garage/shed for all the stuff he dumps in there (really not fair on my stepson even if he does only stay with us every other weekend) and I found 7 backpacks, 3 still with tags on, none of which get used. I don’t want to just get rid of his stuff (it is his after all) but when I ask him to keep one or two items he refuses to part with any. His clothes litter this bedroom (he uses the ensuite shower room as ours only has a bath) and despite moving a chest of drawers into the room just for him it’s overflowing with clothes he doesn’t wear – not to mention his wardrobe in our room which I genuinely think he’s not even opened since our daughter was born (she’s nearly 2 years old!). Again any time I try to purge, he resists a nd refuses to part with stuff. Now I’m not saying I’m a saint – I have loads of shoes and books and need to purge my own wardrobe due to recent weight loss, but my husband’s stuff (apart from the clothes) is spare bike and motor bike parts, 6 bike helmets(!!), actual bikes in the house (a mini moto in my stepson’s bedroom!!) loads of huge stuff which takes up most of our decent storage space (under the stairs, utility room, downstairs cloakroom etc).
    Please tell me how you would deal with this…??? I’m getting a bit desperate now!

  19. 19
    Aileen Gamalinda says

    Hello Laura, org junkie!

    I, along w to moms have just launched our business. We’re organizing junkies, too! We’d love to be featured on your Spotlight. Please check out our organization wares at http://www.offthefloorezstore. Simple snap construction makes for easy assembly and includes various accessories for different storage needs.

    Thanks for your consideration!


  20. 20
    Camille says

    When my girls were little we had “tomorrow baskets”. Before going to bed everything they would need to get ready the next day was put in their basket. From clothes to shoes, backpacks, and even lunch boxes. The next day there was no, “Mom, where’s my…….?” It was great! I even had my own spot where I did the same thing. It helped me to speed up my morning routine as well.

  21. 21
    Amanda S. says

    Hello, I stumbled upon your blog and I have to say, I LOVE it! You, my-newest-favorite-blogger, are an inspiration. So, on that note, welcome to my Bookmark List and thank you for sharing all your awesome tips.

    To my question:
    I moved into my first place in April and things haven’t “come together” the way I had hoped. I have come to the realization that I have little to no home-making/home-maker skills. I need help with a couple problem areas and any help would be amazing.
    1st: I have a walk in storage closet that has become the store-all for everything that hasn’t been unpacked, random things like suit cases, a printer, mix-matched boxes and winter coats. The ceiling is slanted (starting out the tallest and ending the shortest) and the closet is about 3×6 with one closet-style clothing shelf. The closet is super cramped feeling and everything is on the floor because there is only one shelf. How can I organize a space like this?

    2nd: I want to hang an extra closet shelf in my bedroom closet that is about 6 feet long. The only place to hang it is pretty high but I need the extra space. Is hanging something like this very difficult? Are there any pointers to making it easier than the instructions on the box or would this be something you recommend I hire someone to do?

    Thank you!!!

    • 21.1
      Laura says

      Hi there, I would definitely recommend a closet organizer of some kind. I don’t think a basic one is very difficult to put in although to be honest my hubby always does these things for me 🙂

      Here’s all the post I’ve done on closets that might help you:

  22. 22
    Amanda S. says

    For a bedroom that is mostly white, what kind of colors do you recommend for painting that won’t make buying bedding super difficult? I need to break up the white in my room but I don’t want to regret a paint job either.
    I know this isn’t the usual organization question but I trust your opinion. 🙂

    • 22.1
      Laura says

      My vote is for blue! A nice soft sky blue will make your white furniture pop. I only say this though as that is the color I just painted my room 🙂

  23. 23
    jc says

    I have been trying (AND TRYING!) to find a template for stocking and tracking groceries/supplies for my disabled son that lives in an assisted living apt.
    I need the item, date & “on hand”
    I have had issues in the past of various items disappearing…..including groceries!!!!
    I have made an inventory of his HH items, but I can’t seem to come up with a food inventory.
    thank you so much!


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