{five minute friday} A Simple Filing System for Recipes and Menus

Try as I might, magazines always manage to pile up around our house. But I just can't let go of them until I've had a chance to tear out any ideas I might want to save for later - especially recipes. So this morning, while the kids played, I dedicated an hour to flipping through a stack of magazines, tearing out all the recipes I want to try. 

As the I tossed all the recipe clippings into a pile, I realized today would be a perfect time to show you the simple filing system I use in the kitchen to keep track of all our recipes and menus. 

I've actually talked about this filing system once before, but it was back when about 10 people were reading the blog ... so I'm betting this will be new to most of you!

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

I've been tearing recipes out of magazines for as long as I can remember, but for a long time, they just contributed to our kitchen paper problem. They'd get lost in stacks of paper, and we'd never actually cook any of them.

Finally, I'd had enough! I wanted to find a way to organize all of these recipe clippings so that we could actually try them, but I needed the system to be quick easy. And that's when I remembered the cute little file box (affiliate link) that I had purchased.

I bought the box because I loved the hinged lid and the color, and because it was on sale. I knew I'd eventually find a good use for - I mean, really, you can never have too many filing supplies at the ready (tell me I'm not the only one who hordes pretty office supplies?!)

The box came with matching files, so all I had to do was sort my menu clippings into categories: Breakfast, Appetizers, Lunch & Dinner, Side Dishes, Desserts, and Drinks.

File recipe clippings and menus

After living with this recipe clipping file system for a while, I decided to add one more file that I labeled "Recipes: Favorites." Now when I tear recipes out of magazines, or print them from online, I simply put each recipe into the file corresponding with its category. And then once I've tried a recipe, I ask myself whether it's something I would make again. If the answer is no, it goes directly into the recycling bin, and if the answer is yes, it goes into the new Favorites file.

When I want to make something tried and tested, I go straight to the Favorites file, and when I am in the mood for something new, I can thumb through the other files for inspiration. I plan to eventually create a binder of some kind for all of the recipes that end up in the Favorites file, but for now, this system is keeping me on track.

This file box also allowed me to tackle another source of my never ending struggles with piles of paper - menus.  While I like to cook, I would be lying if I told you I cook dinner every night of the week. The truth is that there may be a few delivery drivers who know us by name. And so the menus piled up - until now.

I sorted all of our menus, separating the delivery menus from the menus for favorite local restaurants that {sadly} do not deliver, and I created two files.

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

In the process of sorting through all of our menus, I also came across a handful of brochures for food vendors that are regulars at our neighborhood farmer's market.  I like to keep this information on hand so that in the off-season, we can still get in contact with these companies. Sometimes we just can't wait until spring to restock our freezer with homemade tamales!  These farmer's market brochures got their own file.

Filing Recipe Clippings and Menus

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

This project started because I had piles of recipes clippings and menus that were getting out of hand. But if I can give you one piece of advice about filing, it's to sort all of your papers before determining how to label your files. Inevitably, you will discover other things in your pile that necessitate additional files, so it's best to sort first and label second. 

In the process of my sorting, realized that many of my magazine clippings aren't recipes, but still deserve a place in the kitchen. As a result, I added a new file for these clilppings that I labeled "Kitchen Tips & Tricks."

File Recipe Clippings and menus

Lastly, this kitchen file box provided a perfect place for me to store the manuals for our various kitchen appliances and gadgets. I have a separate system for storing instruction manuals elsewhere in the house, but it just made more sense to rellocate the kitchen manuals to the kitchen.

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

And that's how a little procrastination from one organizing project can turn in to a great organizing solution for an entirely different problem. My pantry may still be a mess {I'll get back to that soon}, but at least my recipe clippings and menus are now quick and easy to find, and I have one less pile of papers cluttering up my counters.

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

This file box fits perfectly on a shelf inside of one of our kitchen cupboards, keeping it out of sight, but still within easy reach. Now when I tear recipes out of magazines, or when new menus come in the mail, I simply pull out this box and file them away before they become clutter.

File Recipe Clippings and Menus

Not only was this filing system quick and easy to create, it also takes just a minute or two to keep up! Recipes and menus now go directly in to the box before they ever have a chance to become kitchen clutter!

My menu and recipe file box is one of three filing systems that I implemented to get our kitchen paper problem in check. The other two are our  counter top filing system for incoming mail and bills, and a mini expanding filer to keep my coupons and gift cards on-hand at all times.

Looking for more kitchen organizing inspiration? Check out these projects:

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