Organizing from A to Z

Unclutterer and Erin are mentioned numerous times in the June 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine in the article “Get Organized. Stay Organized. How to control the clutter for good” by Liz Welch.

The article works through the letters of the alphabet, giving organized suggestions for everything from artwork to grills and propane tanks to zippers and sewing items.

The most efficient way to store recipes is to “scan them, then organize them with a software system, like eChef recipe software,” says Doland. The program, which also lets you save recipes found online, has an easy-to-use search function: Type in “asparagus” and find every one of your recipes that calls for it.

The June 2009 issue of Real Simple is currently available on newsstands. Unfortunately, only the products mentioned in the article that you can buy are online. However, once June 1 rolls around, I expect the full text of the article to be available digitally.

10 Comments for “Organizing from A to Z”

  1. posted by megan on

    It was a GREAT article. Just picked up my copy at Target over the weekend! Yea Erin!

  2. posted by Kathryn on

    Interestingly on the recipe front, I’ve recently found that I prefer keeping my clipped recipe archive on a physical media (for me, it’s pasting them into the pages of 100-sheet composition notebook). It’s nice to have something I can have on hand in the kitchen (or absentmindedly browse through in the evening while watching TV), and as Barry Schwartz argues in “The Paradox of Choice,” having a limited number of choices (here, about 400 recipes spread out over 10 categories or so) can increase satisfaction.

    Part of this may be because I am definitely a “maximizer” when faced with multiple choices. So for me, on “Salmon Night” it’s more efficient to choose a salmon recipe out of the 10 or 12 salmon recipes I’ve hand-selected over the years from magazines and online recipe catalogs, than to head to a large archive with hundreds or thousands of salmon recipes and find “the best” one.

    I think the potential pitfall with digital decluttering–whether it is scanning recipes or keeping tens of thousands or photographs or audio files on a hard drive, is that each individual item becomes somewhat less valuable. Which is not to say they don’t have their place. But I think there’s something to be said for having a physical object (photo album, recipe book) that contains the ones you’ve “tagged” over the years as being particularly valuable or worth looking at again and again.

  3. posted by knitwych on

    I gotta agree with Kathryn here. I have my favorite, most-used recipes written in a spiral journal (the Go-To Cookbook, as I call it). Judging by the stains on the pages, it’s easy to see that this little book gets lots of use. I, too, can get bogged down searching for recipes online. Once I find one, I then have to print it out – and it then becomes clutter until I have used it and decided whether or not I like it enough to include in my Go-To book. I’m not the type to take the laptop into the kitchen (the food-related hazards are significant enough at my desk, thanks!) so keeping my entire recipe collection in electronic format would be more trouble than useful. I do have a Word document collection of fave recipes that I send out to people who ask for certain things, but that’s maybe 20 recipes.

    For those who make e-filed recipes work, more power to you. Like Kathryn, I enjoy browsing through cookbooks. On particularly busy days, I’ve been known to flip through a cookbook (or watch the Food Network) while eating Cheerios for dinner. :-D

    I’ll definitely be picking up the latest issue of Real Simple just as soon as I can.

  4. posted by Lauren on

    I do store many recipes digitally but I end up printing them out to use them because I don’t have a computer in the kitchen. I’m unwilling to run back and forth between the kitchen and the office the whole time I’m cooking. Has anyone found a good solution to this?

  5. posted by ari_1965 on

    I used to keep a lot of recipes and used an online storage and search system. But now I only have two favorite cookbooks (slim ones), six or seven small paper recipes that I keep inside the cover of one of the cookbooks, and the pamphlet of recipes that came with my crockpot. I changed to this reduced set up when I found that I spent more time scanning and uploading recipes than I spent cooking them.

  6. posted by Another Deb on

    I use a system something like Kathryn describes, only I paste the printed recipes onto standard notebook paper. That way I can organize the ones I use most often, purge the ones I have phased out, and categorize recipes I am collecting. It’s flexible and I don’t have to type thinsg again. I am visual, so I know what I am looking for when I open the binder. Each page is a unique mosaic of the recipes I have cut and pasted.

  7. posted by Kathy on

    my clipped recipes are in a photo album with clear plastic pockets for 4×6 photos. They’re organized in groups (meats, apps, etc.) I have one separate one for desserts.

    For me, my recall is very visual, and i can PICTURE the layout/font/overall footprint of the recipe i am looking for, so it’s important to me to store things in the best way i can recall them. Also, I tend to write notes on the recipe (modifications or reminders) and having that there is even more reinforcing.

    For new recipes, i research online, then print and save in the album. Once a year, i purge the album of recipes i had the best of intentions to make but never saw the light of day…

    As with all organization tips, you need to know you’re own strengths and recall abilities to find the system that works best for you.

  8. posted by megan on

    Yes! — it’s great to have a system for organization that is tailored to our own uses/strengths. I personally stick with the digital because, at least for recipes, I can allow them to be “living”. I can make changes, add my own photograph and allow a single recipe to be in many “collections” (i.e. “Best Summer Salads”, “Grilling Favorites”). It works for me…

  9. posted by Daral on

    I have been addicted to Real Simple and they uncluttering, organizing, multi-tasking ways since I picked up a 98 issue in 2002. Fantastic and timeless!

  10. posted by Kari on

    Is this supposed to be June 2010? or is 2009 correct?

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