Category Archives: Organizing Tips

Ask the Organizer: What’s the best way to organize recipes?

It’s been awhile, but “Ask the Organizer” is back!

organize recipes

This time our question comes from Lisa, who wants to know the best way to organize recipes:

“I have tons of cookbooks, magazines, and index cards filled with recipes.  I enjoy using different recipe ideas when cooking, but I can never find the one I want and I get frustrated! What do you think is the best way to organize recipes?”

Great question, Lisa!  While cooking is not my forte, I do enjoy organizing recipes.  Depending on your personal preference, there are many ways you can organize your favorite recipes so you can do what you love most – cooking!

Pre-organization steps

While it might be tempting to jump in and start organizing your recipes right away, there are a few steps you’ll want to take first:

1. Purge. Before you organize your recipes, you might want to start by purging –

  • Remove any recipes you’ve tried and didn’t like
  • Take out any recipes that have ingredients, processes, or time restrictions you may not want to follow or use
  • Remove any duplicate recipes
  • Discard any recipes you thought you might like to try but have since changed your mind
  • Let go of any cookbooks that no longer interest you
  • Tear or cut out any recipes from magazines that you do want and recycle the magazine itself.

2. Sort. The next step is to sort them into like groups or categories – appetizers, main dishes, casseroles, side dishes, desserts, etc.  While this may seem like a tedious process, it will help you know how many of each type of recipe you have so you can know the best way to store and organize them. Plus it will make finding a particular recipe much easier!

* You can reverse steps 1 & 2 if you prefer to sort then purge.  The important thing is that you do steps 1 & 2!

Options for organizing recipes

After you’ve sorted and purged your recipes, then you are ready to move into the next phase – determining the best way to organize and store them.  Honestly, this is a personal preference, so think about what would work best for you when considering these organizing options:

Digital

Growing in popularity, digital recipe organization is one option.  The benefits of using a digital recipe organizer include: having recipes and ingredients on hand wherever you are,  the ability to “clip” recipes from the Internet and add them to your collection, a variety of menu planning tools and help making grocery lists.  Not only that but freeing up cabinet space by not physically storing cookbooks or recipe holders is a plus!

Apps make digital recipe organization a breeze. Here are the more popular ones:

To add your recipe to one of these digital options you simply take a picture from your phone, or scan your recipe (from your phone or desktop), and add it to the app. You can also download recipes from their site or other popular cooking sites, such as Epicurious or AllRecipes, with the tap of a button.  While most of these apps are free, some do offer upgrade plans for more storage and versatility.

Paper

If technology scares you and you’d rather store and organize your recipes the traditional way, then you have options as well.

1. Binders. One popular way to organize all your recipes is to store each recipe category (appetizers, main dishes, desserts) its own 3-ring binder.  You can use sheet protectors to hold each individual recipe or add tabbed dividers to organize even more.  Here’s an example of a collection of recipe binders from CraftyStaci.com

Recipe binder organization from CraftyStaci.com

2. Photo albums.  While this is not as common an option, it is one that my grandmother did for me when I got married.  She purchased a simple photo album that holds 3 x 5 pictures and inserted 3 x 5 recipe index cards instead. It is something I still treasure to this day! You can find albums, similar to 3-ring binders, that hold 3 x 5, 4 x 6, or 5 x 7 cards/pieces of paper and that have space for refillable pages to be added.

recipe book
Grandma’s recipe album

As with most things organizing-related, there isn’t just one way to organize recipes! Hopefully, Lisa, I’ve given you a few options to consider so that you can find the recipes you need and want without the frustration.  Happy cooking!

How do you organize recipes? Have you tried any of these options?

Do you have another ideas or suggestions to add?

Leave a comment and let me know!

How to Tame Your Toppling T-Shirts

Do you struggle to keep your t-shirt piles organized? Are you frustrated that they constantly topple over every time you try to pull a t-shirt out?

You’re not alone!

Toppling t-shirts

My husband loves his t-shirts but they were becoming an organizing nightmare for me.  Not to mention that the way they were organized limited his wardrobe.  So I started doing some research to find a better way to tame his toppling t-shirts!

3 Ways to Tame Your Toppling T-Shirts

Check out my short video on the 3 different ways you can organize and tame your toppling t-shirts once and for all!

Resources mentioned in the video:

Miracle Fold – http://amzn.to/2mU32d9
Shelf Dividers – http://amzn.to/2nbtfzV
EzStax – http://amzn.to/2nbpTgs
ThreadStax – Threadstax.com

Would any of these methods work for you? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The One Tool You Need to Control Your Email

The one tool you need

 

If you’re like me, you probably get a lot of emails. Many of the emails we receive are necessary and important, but if we’re completely honest, the majority of them aren’t.

For awhile I was managing all those unwanted emails by simply deleting them when they popped up into my inbox.  But lately, my inbox has been on overload.  Most days it feels like this when I check my email:

email_overload

So last week I decided to do something about it. Rather than just hitting the delete button, I took a more proactive approach towards reducing my email inflow.

I hit Unsubscribe.

What a rush it was to do that!  In a span of just a few days I was able to unsubscribe from over 20 email lists. I was tired of wasting time wading through emails I was never going to read, or taking the time to delete them.  I’d had enough. So away they went!

Maybe you need to do the same?

The power of unsubscribing

If your inbox is on overload and you’re frustrated by too much email, then I encourage you to start hitting the Unsubscribe button on some of the emails you are receiving: unsubscribe pic
  • Stores or websites you’ve purchased from in the past (either in person or online)
  • Spam mail you have no clue how they obtained your email address
  • Newsletters you’re no longer interested in
  • Offers/Information from people you’ve purchased from in the past (free downloads, products, classes, webinars, etc) which you don’t need anymore

Although many of these people, services, or products may have served you at one time, they may not any longer.  It’s okay to break up with them!

By law, every email you receive from a service provider has the option for you to opt-out or unsubscribe.  Of course, they keep it at the very bottom of the email in extremely tiny print so you hardly know it’s there, but it is:

unsubscribe button 2

It takes less than a minute to unsubscribe, but when you use this powerful tool you can take back control over your inbox once and for all!  What are you waiting for?

Whether we like it or not, email is a part of our lives that we have to deal with.  Just like any other space (either digital or physical), we need to be diligent in managing it and organizing it on a regular basis.  Rather than being frustrated and overwhelmed by our inbox, we need to take advantage of the Unsubscribe button.  It’s the most powerful tool we have to control our email.

Are you ready to take back control of your inbox and hit the Unsubscribe button?
How many emails can you unsubscribe from this week?
Reply back and let me know 🙂

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Going Up – 5 Vertical Storage Organizers

Going Up

I’m often asked what my best organizing tip is.  While there are many, my hands-down, number one tip is this: Take advantage of vertical space.

People don’t usually expect that answer, but I’ve discovered it’s the most overlooked space when it comes to organizing. Whether it’s the back of a door or an empty wall, vertical space is prime real estate for organizing and storing a wide variety of items.

There are a myriad of options to organize your vertical spaces, but I’ve found five vertical storage organizers that I think offer a wide range of storage functions, are easy to install and budget friendly.

5 Vertical Storage Organizers

  1. Over-the-door Shoe Organizer – I’ve mentioned this one in posts before, but it’s truly my favorite organizing tool. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and takes little time to hang.
Over The Door Organizer - Amazon
Over The Door Organizer – Amazon

Purchase at: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond

Price: Depends on the brand and material (plastic, fabric) but ranges in price from $6 to $15

Time to install: 2 mins

Possible uses: Kids’ room (stuffed animals, dolls/action figures, accessories), Bathrooms (toiletries,              accessories), Kitchens (food, water bottles), Laundry room (cleaning supplies), Entryways (gloves/scarves/hats, sunscreen/insect repellant/flip flops), Closets (scarves, shoes, accessories)

  1. Elfa Door & Wall Rack Organizer – A close cousin to the shoe organizer, but much more versatile because of the multiple basket options.
Elfa Door & Rack Organizer
Elfa Door & Rack Organizer

Purchase at: The Container Store

Price: The most expensive of all the vertical storage organizers, at a cost of $70+ during the semi-annual Elfa sale (October & January); total cost depends on the style and number of baskets you choose.

Time to install: 10 mins or less with their easy over-the-door hardware and adjustable basket installation

Possible uses: Kitchen (food, spices), Gift wrapping, Media (CD/DVDs), Laundry room (cleaning & laundry supplies), Entryways (outwear accessories), Kids’ rooms (books, toys)

*ClosetMaid does make a similar product that is cheaper in price and easy to install, but the basket options are not as versatile (available at Walmart, Target, and Home Supply Stores).

  1. Peg Board – Julia Child made peg boards popular in her kitchen long ago, but these have evolved into one of the more creative and useful storage organizers in the last few years.
Peg Board & Hooks
Peg Board & Hooks

Purchase at: Home Supply Stores

Price: Depends on the size, but can range from $3-$10; hooks for board, $5-$10 based on the number you need

Time to install: 30 mins or less, depending on handyman skills

Possible uses: Closets (jewelry, hats, purses), Garage (tools, lawn & sports equipment), Kitchen (pots, pans, utensils), Entryways (back packs, purses, hats, coats)

  1. Hanging Clothes Organizer – A closet staple for many, but this organizer can be used for so much more!
Hanging Closet Organizer - Amazon
Hanging Closet Organizer – Amazon

Purchase at: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond

Cost: $15-$25, depending on size, brand, etc

Installation: 2 mins or less

Possible uses: Clothes closets (sweaters, jeans, purses), Linen closets (towels, sheets, blankets), Kids’ rooms (clothes, board games), Craft rooms (craft materials & supplies), Entryways (outwear accessories, sports equipment, bulky items)

  1. Wall File Organizer – Although this can’t be used in as many spaces around the house, it is a great tool to corral papers and get them up off flat surfaces!
Wall File Organizer - Container Store
Wall File Organizer – Container Store

Purchase at: Office Supply Stores, Container Store, Walmart, Target

Cost: $10-$50, depending on number of slots, material (fabric, mesh, metal) etc.

Installation: 15 mins, depending on handyman skills

Possible uses: Office (files, paperwork, magazines), Command Centers/Kitchen/Entryway (mail, paperwork, files, etc)

So there you have it – 5 great vertical storage organizers to help you maximize your vertical space. They offer a multitude of options for your organizing needs and won’t break the bank or take you tons of time to install. What more could you ask for?

What do you think?

Have you considered any of these vertical storage organizers before?

Are there others that you’ve found that I might have missed?

Let me know in the comments!