Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Confessions of a paper lover

Call me antiquated if you will, but I must confess, I geek out for paper.

I keep my food logs on paper.
I write my to do lists on paper.
I annotate, underline, and make notes in the margins of my paper books.
And most notoriously of all, I clip out articles, recipes, and quotes.

Some of you are cringing. The idea of all of that...paper... "But did you know there is an app for that, what about the kindle, haven't you heard of"
Yes, yes, yes. But it works for me... usually. I'm so glad the internet is such a wealth of new recipes, but there's nothing quite like the sweet potatoe pie recipe written in my grandmothers handwriting.

Lately, I've been recommitting myself to getting organized. You saw our disaster of a storage closet, and my frightening pantry. And I even took a picture of my overflowing inbox. When it comes to my love of paper, I have been setting some real limits and also putting some structure into place. Sure I can tear out that article about top 5 ways to bring joy into your life, but it has to have a home (and on top of the latest pile doesn't count).

Autumn, over at Space for Living, inspired me with her amazingly organized Recipe Binder. And since I have been attempting more meals at home, I knew it was time to create a binder of my own.

First I just corralled all of the various recipes I'd been clipping and saving. Most were already in a little file in my file cabinet (and I wonder why I never managed to make any of those recipes). So after unearthing a few dozen (or more) clippings I sat down and went through them. Yes, that recipe for souffle looks divine, but will I ever really make it? Probably not. But that recipe for Jambalaya? I'm all over it.

I had a few recipes that I'd made consistently, my world famous lasagna, my curried lentil stew, and the print outs showed it. Various stains and watermarks on the paper were evidence of my numerous attempts in the kitchen. I placed these and all of the recipes I'd love to give a go in clear sheet protectors.

I also decided I'd keep various food prep "tips" I'd gathered in this binder too; tips on selecting the best olive oil and on organizing a "healthy" refrigerator.

Once my recipes were in their plastic sleeves, I sorted them into temporary categories. Desserts and sweets, main dishes, tips, etc.. I didn't make permanent labels for them yet, because I'm not entirely convinced these are the titles I want to keep. For example, I have a recipe for hummus and I'm not sure where that should live? Should I make an appetizer section and put it there? I'm not ready to commit to a whole dip and sauce section, but a hummus recipe seems out of place under the main dishes category.

I also made a section for meal planning ideas. I had about a half dozen different lists of my attempts to organize a real meal plan. I compiled all of these together so I can use them each for inspiration as I move forward.
I have to confess, I am in love with my new recipe binder. It actually makes me want to cook! Who would have thunk it?

What about you? Do you have a recipe binder of your own? Any other paper lovers out there? Or have you made a switch over to the world of electronics?


  1. Wow, I am giddy over all the organizing taking place! It is beautiful. I can't wait to hear about all the delicious meals you will be whipping up with all your recipes in order.

  2. Thanks Autumn! You inspired it! =)

  3. This is very inspiring. I also have a frightening pantry, a cluttered office, and an unspeakable under-the-bed. I love the plastic sheet protector idea. I want to do this!!!

  4. Thanks! I've been getting organized slowly but steadily and I love it, even when it's scary like my pantry was!
    Yes, I was totally inspired by Autumn's recipe binder and now I have my very own (and no excuse not to cook!)