Today, I would like to welcome Megan Drayton as a guest author to Unclutterer. When I learned that Megan is the mastermind behind the recipe organization eChef Software, I asked if she would write a post for us about how her product came to be. Thank you, Megan, for sharing your insights with us, and hopefully you’ll inspire a few Unclutterer readers to create some more organizing solutions for the rest of us! Oh, and Megan also has a cooking blog, complete with pumpkin-themed recipes, which can be found here.
I learned “The Pumpkin Rule” at a young age. Every autumn at the pumpkin patch, my brother and I were allowed to select any pumpkin we wanted.
As long as we could carry it.
One would assume that my parents just didn’t want to get stuck carrying a 40-pound pumpkin to the car. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they knew that one of the keys to a simple life is to not take on more than you can handle. The Pumpkin Rule is a great metric to apply to any of life’s messy situations, and I use it often (it only seems natural that a foodie like myself would have a gourd-themed life mantra).
Even with life-guiding tips like “The Pumpkin Rule” in hand, combating our weaknesses is not always easy. Knowing that I’m the founder of a recipe software company, you can probably guess where my uncluttering standards once collapsed. Three years ago, I reached rock-bottom with my recipe obsession. What started as innocent magazine reading and internet browsing soon developed into all-out hoarding. My passion for food and flavor manifested into a need to collect every possible taste available. I was genuinely afraid of missing out on the “perfect recipe”. I figured that as long as I had them all in my binders, the recipes were within the realm of my organizational ability and, thus, always at my disposal.
My collection was completely out of my control, leaving me helpless at dinnertime. When I eventually realized the extent to which I had violated my own Pumpkin Rule, I feared that I must declare recipe bankruptcy and live a life of back-of-the-soup-can casserole dinners! Luckily, I had a better idea. I needed something that allowed me to digitally manage my recipes just like I did my photo and music collections. Like they say, necessity breeds ingenuity.
Today, I’m pleased to have the eChef tool at my disposal. The various organizational features allow me to quickly locate any of my recipes and create grocery lists. Additionally, I can easily share my collection with others via email, Pownce, or my personal website. I’ve created an organizational solution that does my collection justice, and the sloppy recipe binders are gone.
The idea behind The Pumpkin Rule is simple: at the end of the day, there is only so much that each of us can maintain in our life. Find a way to keep your most important possessions and hobbies in the fold and eliminate the rest. When it comes to collections, a properly organized one allows you to become more aware of your inventory, thus enabling you to eliminate redundancies while exposing gaps. Furthermore, achieving some clarity with regard to your collection can curb any compulsive tendencies you may have. Taking control of my recipes brought enjoyment back to a beloved hobby, which I had let get out of control. Now, all that is left for me to do is cook.
Thai Pumpkin Soup, anyone?