But I’ll bet I’m not the only one out there who suffers from it 😉 The cookbook collections.

This weekend, Josh and I undertook some de-cluttering of the house. The dining room/kitchen area to be exact. In our dining room, we have a green wire kitchen book rack that I’ve used for years to store cookbooks, magazines, stray recipes and…the phone books. Don’t ask. In the actual kitchen, we had a little dvd/cd bookshelf that I used as a small bookshelf for books that I thought I might read more immediately (there are 4 large bookshelves upstairs totally full of books, but that’s another discussion).

The cookbook rack in the dining room has always been a source of disorganization for me, because I just toss things on there. For some reason, this weekend, I decided it needed to be sorted. I have cookbooks I’ve NEVER looked at and cookbooks I’ve not used in years. And the individual recipes torn out of magazines or printed off websites? Eek.

One thing that’s a source of amusement for me is my Rachael Ray collection. I love Rachael Ray. I bought one of her cookbooks and after that, I subscribed to her magazine and started collecting old Rachael Ray cookbooks off Paperback Swap. I now own a good portion of the Rachael Ray cookbooks in existence, plus almost a year worth of magazines. It is the one magazine I read faithfully every month and I bookmark recipes I might like to try. But with all those Rachael Ray recipes in my possession, the grand total of recipes I’ve actually made by her equals…one. And I got it off the Food Network website. See? Sad.

Of course, those aren’t the only cookbooks that languish unused, because most often I either cook the same things over and over and don’t use a recipe, or I search out a recipe I need on the internet. And yet…I continue to collect cookbooks, recipes from magazines and the internet. In my defense, I have used some of the individual recipes over the years, and they’ve become family favorites. When I was pregnant with Brianna, I got a cookbook set that was blank, so I could start transferring some of our recipes to it. And I did. But that was almost 3 years ago and I only got a small portion of them done. Since then, if I find a recipe we like and I’m going to reuse, I just stick it in that cookbook with the intention of transferring it in there…some day.

To add to the clutter in the dining room, since I’ve been doing some crafting again, that’s been the central place for me to toss everything. I have three plastic bins that hold most of it, but the ongoing projects usually got piled on the table. Which makes eating dinner there hard. So I did a little rearranging. We moved the small dvd/cd bookshelf into the living room (after I emptied it of all the books) and it now holds just a few books (ARCs to be read or books I want to read very soon), a few DVDs and a few picture frames. Not packed full, not cluttered. Nice.

In the kitchen, in its place, we moved in a larger bookshelf where the cookbooks can go on the bottom few shelves. And the phone books. The top shelf is a candy shelf and most of the shelves have room to display something. Again not cluttered.

Last, the dining room kitchen rack was now empty. I used that for storing ongoing or upcoming projects. The sweater I want to turn into a zip-up sweater. The pattern and fabric for making Brianna an outfit. The purse that’s cut out and got interfacing ironed in but just needs to be sewn together (I lost enthusiasm for it because I don’t care for the fabric). And the quilting material that needs to be cut (the solid color) and pieced together. There are a few more but those are the main ones.

I also sorted through all of the cooking magazines I was saving, as well as the cookbooks, and collected a good amount to give away on Freecycle. I did find one interesting cookbook I’d forgotten I had. I have three older cookbooks, vegetarian cookbooks, that I don’t really use but I won’t get rid of because there are notes on the recipes in my mom’s handwriting. One of them that I’ve used for a hummus recipe in the past had less sentimental value so I thought of giving it away. But then I actually looked at–it’s the first ever edition of the La Leche League’s (breastfeeding for those who don’t know) Whole Foods For the Whole Family cookbook, from 1981. Kind of neat, and you know people still pay for used copies of them (mine isn’t in great condition because it’s been well used, so I don’t think anyone wants it, lol). But I never realized before that this cookbook was from the La Leche League. I guess I never had any reason to know what that was before I had Brianna! From the date of printing, I’m guessing my mom got it when she had my brother (born in ’82)

So now both my cookbooks and my crafts are slightly less de-cluttered and a lot more organized. I threw away a TON of stuff. However, I have to admit that I still kept quite a few loose recipes and cooking magazines. Oh, and on the subject of loose recipes? I have a 3 inch binder that I assembled about 5 years ago with all the loose recipes I collected. A THREE inch binder. I think I’ve opened that binder once in five years. But I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. At least it’s all collected and organized in one place…

Does anyone else have the recipe/cookbook sickness?

*Edit. I actually wrote this Sunday late morning. In the course of cleaning out some of my magazines, I was paging through the latest Family Fun (this goes towards cleaning because I wanted to go through it so I could give it to Brianna’s daycare along with a stack of other issues). So anyway, I came on this article talking about exactly what I just posted about–having good intentions with saving recipes for your own personal cookbook (in this case it was specifically so her kids could each have a copy when they were older) but not doing a very good job of keeping it organized. So they recommended this cool site: http://www.smilebox.com/partner/familyfun/index.html

They have 20 recipe designs. It’s incredibly easy to use, if the recipe is online you can cut and paste (hello, convenient!) you can add pictures (or videos) to your recipe. Print them out–the program makes it very easy to print different sizes and types of paper–and put them in binder pages, make a cookbook photo book or email them. Fun and easy and so much more convenient (and speedy) than handwriting a recipe into a book!

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