I’m a big fan of meal planning, where every weekend I plan out the meals we’ll eat that week and grocery shop accordingly. But my recipes were a huge mess, and it wasn’t any fun trying to sift through them to plan out a weekly menu. Check out how I got things organized with a DIY recipe binder! I’m in love!
My Recipe Disaster
Here’s my recipe binder before I tackled this project. Moment of truth: organizing this binder has been on my to-do list for at least a year because of its sad shape. Better late than never, right?!
When I made this binder years ago, I started off with good intentions. The recipes originally in the binder were in sheet protectors, and it had dividers for a few sections (although the page protectors were too big to see the tabs!).
But over time, I kept adding recipes pages to it loosely in the front. It got to where I had more loose recipes than recipes properly in the binder. I would never even look at the loose recipes at the back of the pile because there were just too many!
DIY Recipe Binder Supplies
I was finally fed up enough to get my recipes organized into a DIY recipe binder! And what better time to tackle this project than the start of the year?
A trip to Office Depot, and I was ready to go. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Binder(s) – I bought faux-leather 1″ black binders at Office Depot, but go with your style here! If you’re just starting out, one binder should do for now. If you’re way behind like me, you may want three. Here’s a basic option from Amazon and a pretty option from Amazon.
- Page Protectors – I prefer non-glare page protectors, since they’re easier to read through without all of the glare and reflections. Here’s an Office Depot option, and here’s an Amazon option.
- Extra-Wide Dividers – Regular dividers are hidden behind page protectors, so be sure to grab the extra-wide divider option. Try these dividers from Office Depot or these from Amazon.
- Label Maker – This is optional, but it makes the divider tab labels look nice & neat!
Assembling Your DIY Recipe Binder
First, take all of your existing recipes and sort them into piles based on category. This will help you decide how to organize your recipes.
Creating Divider Categories
If you don’t have a lot of recipes, you may want to keep it simple in one binder with these broad sections:
If you have collected quite a few recipes like me, you’ll likely want your categories to be more specific. In my “Entrees” DIY recipe binder, I created the following sections:
- Pork/Turkey (random grouping, but I have the fewest pork and turkey recipes of any of the meats)
- Side Dishes
In my “Desserts” binder, I created dividers for:
- Misc Desserts
And in my “Appetizers & Breakfast” binder, I made dividers for:
- Misc (for anything that doesn’t fall in any binder’s existing category – spice blends, drinks, etc.)
Decluttering the Recipes
This is a great time to toss any duplicate recipes, recipes you’ve been hanging on to for years and never made (I had quite a few of these), or anything that’s just not your style anymore. Be honest with yourself, so you won’t have a pretty binder full of recipes you never intend to make.
Putting Recipes in Page Protectors
Place the recipes in the page protectors. If you can, try to keep each recipe contained to one side of the page protector to maximize space. Some of the recipes I keep from magazines have a large photo page and the recipe on a second page. I chose to stack those two pages and place the photo facing out, with a different recipe on the back of that protector. It’s easy enough to slide the large photo page out and see the recipe behind it.
At the back of each DIY recipe binder, I added a handful of empty page protectors. Whenever I add a recipe now, it will be quick and easy for me to slide it into an empty page protector and put it in the correct category.
Totally optional, but I also made vinyl labels for the binder spines with a Silhouette machine. It makes them look so pretty sitting on my cook book shelf! Another option is to buy binders with a clear pocket on the spine, and you can print a pretty label and slide it in. Search on Pinterest for “Recipe Binder Printables” and you’ll see lots of free options!
Organize Your Recipes!
I hope this inspires you to get your recipes organized! It just takes a couple of hours and has big pay-off! I’m so excited for the coming year and how this will make my weekly routine so much easier.
What’s your biggest struggle with meal planning and recipe organization? Or if you’ve got it figured out, will you please share how you keep your recipes organized?
P.S. If you’re looking for some other home organization projects to start the new year off right, check out my other posts on organizing…