Friday, March 7, 2014

De-Cluttering and Organizing the Cookbooks

kitchen with built-in space for books, from Harrell Remodeling
Designed and remodeled by: Harrell Remodeling, Inc. Photo used with permission.

I’ve just done some more decluttering of my own cookbooks; as I mentioned on Unclutterer, I got rid of eight of them in this round.

This latest pass, and the great photo above which I stumbled upon recently, made me think about the types of cookbooks we keep.

1. The go-to cookbooks, which we use all the time.
These are ones we’d want to store close at hand — maybe even in the kitchen. None of the others would need to be kept in such a convenient location, although they certainly could be if you had the space. There are some considerations related to grease and steam when storing books in a kitchen, so you’d want to consider where in the kitchen you were storing them, and how concerned you are about keeping them pristine. (The book nook in the photo is nicely placed to minimize such problems.)

2. The special-occasion cookbooks.
These are ones we might reference for holiday recipes, when we’re cooking for a special event, etc.

3. The aspirational cookbooks — the ones we’d like to try, in order to expand our repertoire.
Maybe you’d like to try cooking a particular cuisine that’s new to you, and you’ve got cookbooks to help with that.

4. The reference cookbooks.
These are the ones that describe cooking techniques and such, often with useful illustrations. We may not use them all that frequently, but they’re sometimes really useful.

5. The ones that are memorabilia, not just cookbooks.
I’ve got cookbooks I’ve picked up on travels that bring back such good memories that I want to keep them, even if I never cook from them. But other cookbooks I picked up while traveling don’t speak to me the same way, and I’ve let them go. Sometimes books in this category have beautiful illustrations, but not always. Cookbooks that were handed down from other family members could also fit into this category.

These categories don't need to be exclusive; for example, you could have a go-to cookbook that was also memorabilia.

If you want to de-clutter your cookbooks, understanding what kinds you’ve got might help in deciding which ones to keep. For example, the special-occasion cookbooks that haven’t gotten much use might be replaced by online recipes, as the need arises. And maybe some of those aspirational cookbooks don't have the same appeal they once did.

What categories of cookbooks do you have? Do you have some categories to add to my list?

Related Post:
Decluttering the Cookbooks


JustGail said...

I actually managed to get rid of a couple of bags cookbooks & cooking magazines a few weeks ago. One thing that helped was - Do Not Open the Cookbook. I still have a couple bookshelves worth though.

Another category - outdated information. Do they gush over margerine and artificial sweeteners and how much heathier they are? Do they call for cooking pork to rubber? Use unsafe methods? Sometimes the basic method is the same, but pollution has made rendered them unsafe - I'm thinking fish and seafood here. Although they may be in the memoribilia category?

JustGail said...

sigh - that should have been "Sometimes the basic method is safe...." more coffee!