Wednesday, May 11, 2011

27 Reader Space: Rad Recipe Binder {and a freebie!}

Although we recently wrapped up the binder series and linked up all of the awesomeness, I thought it would be fun to share a reader's great recipe organizing binder, to offer up a little extra inspiration.  Her recipe binder is a binder of it's own, and keeps her family organized each week while she is meal planning and trying out new meals in the home.

Kamarah wrote:


After seeing all the awesome ways you've organized your household using binders, I thought you might like to see how I've used them to organize my recipes.  Several years ago, after I grew tired of my chaotic mess of clippings and 4x6 cards in a box, I came up with a binder that works like a charm!!!

My binder is divided into sections of how I think about my cooking.  For example, each week, I try to have a variety of main dishes.  So when I look through my recipes, I want them organized as such – poultry, beef, pasta, seafood, etc.  Each type of food has it's own colored tabbed section.

Here’s the key to my recipe binders – each tabbed, colored section has it’s own pocket for “recipes to try”.  So when I clip a recipe out of a magazine, I simply put it in the corresponding section pocket.  When I do my meal planning {usually one week at a time} and want to whip out something new for my family, I go straight to my “to try” folder to find a fresh recipe!

The next best organizing trick that I use is located right after the “to try” folder – an “index” page of my favorite recipes from cookbooks or magazines.  It’s a simple page with “dish”, “magazine/cookbook” and “page #” at the top.  Every time I make something from a cookbook, I write it down so I can easily find it later.  So instead of driving myself crazy searching for a recipe I tried last month, I just look at my ‘index’ and can find recipes within seconds! {and please don't judge me for having a Richard Simmons cookbook - it's actually really great!}

I keep clipped, favorite recipes in two kinds of clear plastic protectors – one is actually made for photos, but is the perfect size to hold 6 recipe cards {front and back}.  The other size is a full sheet for those full page or oddly shaped recipes. 

My final key to organizing my recipes and meal planning is the front and back pockets of the actual binders.  When I’m planning my meals, I put all of the recipes (to make) for the week in the front pocket.  This makes each recipe easily accessible when I need to prepare the family meal each evening. 

When I’m finished cooking each night, I place the completed recipe in the back pocket.  At the end of each week, I simply re-file the used recipes and plan my upcoming week’s meals again. 


I’ve helped make this binder for several friends who have raved over the ease of it and have loved staying organized with their recipes!!  I hope it may be helpful to you and your readers too!!


Wow wow wow right?  So many great ideas!  She really has quite the well oiled machine of a system!  I love that she always has a place to grab a new recipe idea from, as we suffer from "stale meal planning syndrome".  The idea to use picture sleeves for recipe cards?  SO SMART!  I love she can plan different meal types for each night of the week, instead of eating pasta, pasta and then maybe some more pasta?  Been there...

Although this binder idea maybe isn't something "new" to us, it seems to be amongst the most popular ways to organize recipes, because IT WORKS!  And works well!

And a button for you:

IHeart Organizing

Oh, and shameless shop plug {hey, a girl has to sponsor her own biz right?}

Don't forget I offer a boatload of personalized meal planning and binder printables in my shop:

{Personalized Meal Planning/Shopping List}

{Personalized Meal Planning Calendar}

{Personalized Freezer Inventory}

{Personalized Fridge Inventory}

{Personalized Pantry Inventory}

{Personalized Editable Recipe Card Printable}

And because IHeart you all SO much!  A freebie!

{click here to download a FREE copy of the Recipe Reference Printable}

A huge round of virtual applause for Kamarah and her incredibly awesome system.  It feels great sharing things that have been proven to simplify lives and save moola to boot!  Feel free to leave a comment with some love for Kamarah and check out her lovely website!!

Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please send your story and photos to and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and un-editted.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!  More Info HERE.


  1. I love it! It makes so much sense to put the "to try" in the pocket of each divider! I'm going to do this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have so many recipes right now that my 1 lone binder has turned into a series of 4 giant recipe binders! <3 I looove leafing through them and getting meal ideas for planning =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  3. There is an amazing website called Say Mmm That allows you to plan meals, record recipes, add links to recipes you find online and even creates a shopping list to go with your planning. I <3 it!
    Mother of 2
    Stepmother of 3
    Fulltime Librarian

  4. I just put a binder together too. I love the "to try" file for each category (I need some of those pockets).
    Thanks for the free printable too, I love your printable, they're so fun an colorful!

  5. My mom made me a binder like this one year for Christmas. I loved it!!

  6. Thanks so much for the freebie! :)

  7. I love this idea. Love, Love, Love! I don't have many recipes right now, but as soon as I get more recipes, I will be doing this.

  8. As I read this post I kept thinking, "I do that and that and that!" After years of struggling with my recipes I finally have a system down and it's very much like Kamara's. I have the pockets dividers for recipes to try and I keep a list of cookbook recipes I use all the time with cookbook name and page number listed. One list I have at the front of my binder is a list of all the tried and true recipes I make broken down by meat, poultry, fish, side dish, etc. That way when meal planning for the week I can look over the list and pick a variety of meals and side dishes. Before creating this list I often forgot about some meals I had made so this is a great reference tool I use each week.

  9. Not sure what happened to my last post...but I thought I would pass this on - since it goes with this theme.

    I LOVE this idea!

  10. I love the idea to using a plastic picture sleeve for recipe cards! Genius!

  11. My recipe book is a disaster & I was just thinking about how I needed to get them better organized. Love her ideas! MUST.COPY.IT.NOW! :)

    And thanks for the free printables! Super cute!

  12. I am on the verge of creating this for myself and have been wondering where to get these photo pockets. Anybody know?

    PS -- LOVE the blog. =)

  13. Love love LOVE this recipe book!! Just the system that I've been looking for.

    Thanks for the free printable too Jen.

  14. Great post! And thanks for the linky!

  15. I have one of these too, but not nearly as pretty or organized. IT's such a great system!

  16. My recipe binder - well let's just say it's a nightmare. I have so many flagged magazines and a stackload of cookbooks that are begging for review that this inspires me to get a tad more organized. Thanks for featuring this idea (and your fab download!)

  17. I've been using the exact same system for years. Including the pocket at the front for "to try" recipes.

    Instead of taking the recipe out of the pocket, I remove the sheet protector from the binder. Keeps the recipe from getting splattered.

    Unless it is a 5 star winner, the recipe gets tossed. I have too many recipes as it is.

  18. I love this!! I recently described to my husband what I thought up to do with my recipes to hopefully get them under control - and this was almost EXACTLY it!! Plus a couple things I hadn't thought of (like using the front and back pockets to have the weekly recipes ready). I can't wait to actually make it happen now!
    Thanks to Kamarah for putting my thoughts into words and pictures, and thanks to you Jen for posting it and a fantastic blog that I adore! =)

    Mara @ Super Savings

  19. I know I'm late to the party, but a couple friends and I just put our binders together last night and we couldn't be happier :)

  20. could you post how you divide up your binder? What sections do you use....pasta, bread, crockpot etc...

    I want to do this project but have a dilemma on good categories.


  21. I found this Recipe Binder floating around on Pinterest, thanks for sharing your binder on how to store the recipes. Mine is a complete mess right now and am planning on trying to get a handle on it! I've featured the binder here:

  22. What are the tabs in your binder? I'm trying to organize mine but am caught up with the actual separation of recipes!

  23. One of the things on my "summer to do" list is to organize my recipes. I love your idea of the folder tabs! I linked to this idea on my blog!

  24. Thanks for the great ideas. I will certainly use some of them in my binder. Also THANKS for the gift. It is already in my binder waiting to be used.

  25. One thing I do is---I write the date I made the recipe on the top of the page. That way I don't make the same dish too often. Also write if it is well received by the family, like GOOD or REALLY GOOD along with the date. IF it isn't liked, then I tear out the page and toss it.

  26. Instead of pulling the recipes out of the plastic when I choose them, when I plan my menu, I place a sticky note on the plastic protector, leaving the recipe right where it is. That way when I'm cooking that night, I just flip to the sticky note, use the recipe, keep it clean within the page protector, and it stays in place so I don't lose it somehow.


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