Clever Cookbook Collection Storage Ideas ~ Save time looking for cookbook recipes with this clever system for organizing and storing a cookbook collection.
I love cookbooks and have been collecting them for years. I love reading the recipes, reading about cooking techniques and looking at the gorgeous food photography.
I quite enjoy taking a cookbook to bed with me to read a few recipes before I fall asleep. I find it is just the right amount of text and slightly mindless reading that helps put my brain into sleep mode. If I try to read a novel before going to sleep I am often asleep after reading just a few pages so it takes me forever to finish it. I save my fiction reading for during the day.
I also love reading cookbooks for ideas, inspirations and learning how to cook. I am always willing to try a new recipe and fortunately the rest of the family is accepting and ready to try my new dishes or should I call them experiments?
The cookbooks in my collection come from a variety of sources. I plan on writing a blog in the future sharing how to build a quality cookbook collection without spending a fortune so stay tuned. I know there are loads of recipe apps and recipes online, especially Pinterest but I have to admit I prefer cooking from a cookbook. I have several cookbooks that I have had for years that are pretty dog-eared and stained because I have used them so much. For me a tattered and smudged cookbook is a sign that it is filled with lots of good recipes. I don’t want my iPad, smart phone or notebook computer to get that tattered and smudged look so I tend to keep them away food.
I do love looking for recipes on Pinterest and have created several recipe boards. You can find and follow me at Time With Thea on Pinterest. You will notice that they all start with Time For Food: (insert food category here). I explain my system for organizing my Pinterest boards like this in How To Organize Your Boards On Pinterest. When you have over a hundred boards and thousands of pins it is a clever system for creating board categories and putting them in alphabetical order so you can easily find the recipe or other pin that you are looking for.
I like to print my recipes from the original blog that I have collected on Pinterest so I have a hard copy. I also plan to share how I organize and store these recipes in a future blog. I just think it is wonderful that there are so many recipes from so many countries using so many different food ingredients and cooking techniques that we can enjoy. Unfortunately we only have so much time and a finite number of calories that we need to maintain a healthy body weight.
Having a large cookbook collection does present a few problems. One is how to store them all so they are accessible and do not take up a lot of room. The second problem is how to organize the cookbooks so that I can find the specific recipe that I am looking for. I am happy to say that I did come up with some solutions and here are my…
Clever Cookbook Collection Storage Ideas
Display Your Cookbook Collection
I like to display my cookbooks and include them in the kitchen décor. I bought this inexpensive Kallax shelving unit at IKEA several years ago. It fits perfectly under a big picture window in the kitchen. When I am looking for a specific recipe I just sit comfortably on the floor and browse through the collection. The top of the unit is decorated with a few plants and decorative items.
Your kitchen may not work with this type of storage system. But whatever storage system works for you I do recommend creating a cookbook library in your kitchen so your collection is displayed and becomes part of the decor.
Categorize Your Cookbook Collection
I like to group my cookbook collection into categories so similar types of cookbooks are grouped together just like you see in libraries and in bookstores. For example, if I am looking for recipes to do some Christmas baking I have to just look at my little baking resource section on the bookshelf. There are all kinds of ways to categorize your cookbook collection…
- cooking method
- coil bound
- special holidays
- healthy/clean eating
- frequently used
- less frequently used
How you categorize your cookbooks really depends on the types of cookbooks you have in your collection. Even if your collection is small you can still organize and store them using this method. Let’s take a look at how I categorized my collection starting of the left side of the bookcase…
I bought the magazine holders at IKEA years ago. I was just lucky to find burgundy ones that matched the feature wall colour in the kitchen. They hold the recipes that I found online and printed. I’ll be explaining in a future blog how I organize these hardcopy recipes. The first section includes my healthy, clean eating and most frequently used cookbooks.
The next sections are very loosely categorized according to the following categories: cooking techniques, course, compilations special holidays and a bit of coil bound and some of my narrow soft cover cookbooks clustered together.
This is a titch embarrassing because here I am recommending that your cookbooks be organized according to certain categories but if you look closely at how I organized my collection it may look pretty random. But they are organized in a way that works for me.
It is the next clever storage idea that really makes it easy to locate and return a cookbook so I can find it again the next time.
Number Your Cookbook Collection
I placed small white stickers that I bought at the dollar store in the upper left corner of each cookbook. Then I used a black fine point pen and numbered each cookbook 1,2,3 going up to about 60. Now each cookbook has a specific number order and place in the cookbook shelf. This is my very simplified version of the Dewey Decimal system used in libraries.
The stickers are easily removable which is a good thing because it gives me the option to change the order around. But it does create a bit of a problem because the sticker can come off and get lost. If that happens I’ll lose track of what number was given to the cookbook. To solve that problem I used a pencil to record the number inside on the first page in the upper right hand corner. I used a pencil so I can erase and change the number if necessary.
Why did I put the sticker on the front cover and not on the spine like you see in libraries? I felt stickers on the spine of the cookbooks all lined up on the bookshelf makes the collection look cluttered.
There was also no place to put the sticker on the coil bound cookbooks and they did not fit on very narrow cookbooks. So placing them on the front was the best solution.
What do I do if I get rid of a cookbook that I no longer want or buy a new one and have to add it to the cookbook collection? This is where the temporary numbering system using removable stickers and penciled in numbers really helps solve that issue. That is also why my categorizing system is a bit ‘loosey-goosey’. I am not going to take the time to reorder and renumber all of the cookbooks if there is a cookbook deletion or addition.
But I do have another suggestion if you do not want to change the order of your cookbook collection. This is similar again to what the Dewey Decimal system does. For example, you could assign all of your baking cookbooks in the following letter/number system: B1, B2, B3 with the B standing for baking. When you get a new baking cookbook just give the next number in your B category.
Compilation cookbooks are cookbooks that are composed of recipes in the different courses such as appetizers, salads, meats and desserts. They can be identified with the same letter/number system but starting with a C for compilation.
These are some clever cookbook collection storage ideas that I have come up with. I have to admit this system really saves me a lot of time locating specific recipes in specific cookbooks. It is also a system that is easy to organize and set up so that you can really enjoy your cookbook collection.
You may have noticed that there are no sticky notes in my cookbooks to identify a recipe I want to try or have prepared and want to make again. I find they look too cluttered and are a nuisance. I have come up with another organizing system for how to keep track of my favourite recipes that I will also be sharing in a future blog.
So that is it. Here are some clever cookbook collection storage ideas. I hope you are inspired to create a system that works for you using these clever ideas.
What are your thoughts on collecting cookbooks? How do you organize and store them? Do you prefer using online recipes, printed cookbooks or a combination of both?