Getting It Together: Cookbooks


How to Organize Your Cookbooks

Learning to Let Go of the Ones You Don’t Use

I have been collecting cookbooks since I was a teenager. I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated by cookbooks, even way before I learned how to cook. Naturally, after years and years of collecting cookbooks, my collection started to need it’s own entire bookcase and I knew there was no way I would ever reference all those books.

The Difficult First Step

The most difficult part about getting organized is admitting that you have way more stuff than you actually need. Then letting go of the things you haven’t used in years and know deep down you won’t ever use in the future. Trying to ignore that little voice in your head that tells you, “but you paid so much for this, you have to keep it”.

I find that sometimes letting go of those expensive items we’ve splurged on but never actually used enough to justify the price, will help us in saving money in the future. How? By making smarter choices before we buy.

Learning to ask ourselves a few questions before we buy can save us money now, and heartbreak later when we’re donating items we thought we just had to have! Here are a few questions I recommend you ask yourself before making a purchase:

  1. Do I need this or do I just want it?
  2. How often will I actually use this item?
  3. Do I have room to store this in my house?
  4. Can I just look these recipes up online? (in the case of cookbooks)

Use What You Have

I encourage you to go on somewhat of a “spending freeze” for just a little bit, just while you’re going through the things you already have at home. Make a Wish List of items you catch yourself saying that you “need”, write the date on it and wait a week before actually purchasing it. I have found that a lot of what I would have purchased right away, after a week goes by, I have second thoughts about the item and end up not buying it after all.

So with your cookbooks, for instance, go through all the cookbooks you have and lay them out on your kitchen table so you can see exactly what it is you’re working with. Get rid of any that you know for a fact you won’t be using anymore, any that were gifted to you but you don’t ever use, or any that you only have one or two recipes you really want out of it and see if you can find those online instead.

Try to keep only the ones you love and use often, and don’t feel guilty about letting the others go. You will feel a weight lift off your shoulders as you let go of clutter that’s been holding you down. Yes, even things like too many cookbooks can cause you to feel overwhelmed and disorganized.

Organizing Your Favorites

Some of my favorite ways to organize cookbooks are using one of the following methods:

  • A wire basket to keep them all contained in on top of your kitchen counter.
  • A floating shelf in your kitchen
  • Magazine organizers
  • A good ‘ol¬†standard bookcase

It’s no secret that I am a lover of all things vintage. For me, organizing my cookbooks meant getting a cute vintage toolbox to put them all in. One other thing you can do, if you just want to be done with cookbooks altogether, is to transfer your favorite recipes from the books into a recipe binder. I’m actually in the process of doing this myself.

The only books I want to hold on to are my absolute favorite ones, sitting in my vintage toolbox. The rest of the books are getting skimmed for recipes I’d like to try, taking a photo of the recipe, and storing it in a digital file for now (I love Evernote).


I would love to see how you’ve chosen to organize your cookbooks. Before and After photos are my favorite! If you haven’t already, I’d love to have you join us in our Modern Homemakers Society Facebook Group where you can post your photos and get support from other members.


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