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Quite a few years ago my husband thoughtfully bought me a recipe binder for Christmas. I kept all my recipes in this binder, in tabbed sections. It worked for awhile, but as our family has grown and dietary needs have changed, my recipe collection has multiplied.
However much I re-labeled, and even after I split them into a second binder, I still found recipe organization hard to accomplish. I couldn’t find my recipes without a lot of searching. And they made my limited kitchen counter space look messy. If the handy kombucha carafe wasn’t snug against my cookbooks, they would topple. It was definitely time to do an overhaul on the recipe binders.
Enter a trip to Staples last week. With my one and a half year old, Miss Pearl, and a four year old, Sister. I haven’t decided yet if I want to share their full names on my blog. And for some reason I didn’t get the cart to restrain Miss Pearl. And also my friend called as I walked in.
For some reason I’d opted to buy Miss Pearl a hot chocolate right before coming in the store. She had chugged it in the car, and it was spilled all over the front of her. Also she was on a sugar high. I chased her all around the aisles as I tried to carry on a normal conversation with my friend, helplessly eyeballing the binder section as I ran by.
Eventually I got a cart, plopped in the offending and chocolatey little one, and collected the following items:
File Folder Holder
Originally I thought I would buy magazine file holders, but they aren’t deep enough to accommodate binders. So I picked up this Vines Folder Holder, $28. It’s very sturdy and not tippy or saggy at all. Although Staples doesn’t offer these online, I found you one that’s just as pretty and even less expensive here.
1/2″ Window View Binders
1/2″ View Window white binders. $3.59 on Amazon. I purchased 4, which fit quite nicely in the folder holder. These binders are great for recipe organization because you can keep less categories in each binder, making them more compact and easier to whip out
Sheet protectors are a must in recipe binders, so you can wipe the cooking grime off your recipes. (Not that I’m saying you are ever a messy cook!) Actually I already had these on hand, so this part was free.
When I got home and put the kiddos to nap, I sat down and wrote out a list of groupings for my recipes, based on which would fit together well in each binder. I came up with:
- Soup / Salad
- Bread, Fish, Dessert
- Snacks, Sides, Beverage, Vegetarian
After transferring all my recipes to the binders, I stuck in pretty new dividers ($10) and designed / printed up binder covers (free). I printed the covers and spine labels on white cardstock so they would be easier to insert into the skinny spine pockets. Even so, it was difficult to do without bending them, but they went in!
So the breakdown of cost for this project was:
- Folder Holder: $28 (shave off another $5 by purchasing the one I found on Amazon)
- Binders: $14.36 (I actually paid $20 in the store, so I’d suggest buying them on Amazon)
- Binder Covers: Free
- Sheet Protectors: Free
- TOTAL PROJECT COST: $42.36
Here’s the best part. Free printables for your recipe organization.
I created binder covers and spine labels that are editable, so you can type in your own recipe groupings before printing. And, if you’ll notice, I made the graphics on the spine labels fit together if they are in the correct order. (I’m a nerd like that.) To download these binder covers, click here, or on the image. Open them in Adobe Reader (free download here) and type in your categories, then print.
I included spine labels for 1/2″ or 1″ ring binders. Don’t be like me and accidentally print 1″ spine labels for your 1/2″ binder, then run out of black printer ink so you had to just go with it. Let’s just say LOTS of trimming occurred.
As I mentioned before, it’s best to use a heavy white cardstock, especially for the spine labels.
I love how the colors of the back cover show through the box cutouts.
No more toppling recipe binders and cookbooks. Oddly and without meaning to, I coordinated the artwork florals (pink peonies) with the floral design on the cloth napkin I keep tied over my kombucha carafe.
If you use these in your recipe organization, please let me know! I think they would also make a really great bridal shower gift to bless a bride-to-be, filled with your favorite recipes. (And including lots of empty sleeves for her to insert her own recipes!)
Supplies mentioned in this post: