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If it’s out of my sight, it’s out of mind.  I am most definitely a visual learner; I need to see something before I completely understand it.  This most definitely has it’s draw backs, but knowing is half the battle, right?  I know this is where my strength is, so I work with it, not against it, because otherwise, if it’s out of sight, I’ll go out of my mind…

The same holds true for my recipe and menu collection.  I CRAVE organization, but it doesn’t come naturally to me, so I work around my disorganization in a creative way:

Enter: the recipe spreadsheet ala magnet on the fridge.

Although spreadsheets also make me cringe, due to their inherent inflexible organization, I have learned to make them versatile to fit my style.  The key: I make headers and then leave the rest blank before I print it out.  Sooooo, in all honesty, it’s more of a list than a spreadsheet…but I like to think that I’m adult enough to use spreadsheets, so for the well-being of my self-esteem, I will refer to my “list” as a “spreadsheet’.

…Let’s continue, shall we.

So, I have oodles of great cookbooks, complete with fantastic font and pictures, and although I do have moments when I decide to remove them from their shelf and flip through them, they are more of a symbol of moral support than a tool of use, simply because I forget what wonderful recipes are inside.  To help with this, I have developed a way of showcasing my most-used recipes, but there is no reason to display every recipe or meal idea.

To solve that problem, I keep a “spreadsheet” on my fridge with a list of our most used/most favorite meals and snacks, so that I can easily come up with a menu plan when I’m ready to go grocery shopping.  Until I implemented the “spreadsheet”,  it never failed that on Thursdays, when I made out our menu plan for the following week, I would stare dumbly at my calendar and wonder what to make.  Which, more often than not, meant that I would either make the same 6 meals over and over again, or I would go to the store without a plan…a very dangerous and expensive way to grocery shop.

Now, I have a :”spreadsheet” on my fridge with these headings at the top of each column:

  • chicken
  • beef
  • vegetarian/seafood
  • soups/casseroles
  • lunches
  • side dishes
  • snacks

Under each heading, I leave blank rows with enough room to write the name of our favorite recipes.  The “chicken” category, for example, has such recipes as Roasted Chicken, Amish Baked Chicken, Cheesy Chicken Chimichangas and Chicken Cacciatore.  Now, we come to the problem of such meals as chicken pot pie. “Chicken” category or “casserole” category? Answer: WHO CARES??  Don’t get totally OCD about this project but make it work for you!  You can nix the “soup/casserole” category and simply list those menus under the meat or veggie categories.  Seriously, this is not rocket science nor is it meant to stress you out as you start to categorize your meals. If you’re a visual learner, like me, this is meant to be a TOOL, not another reason to take blood pressure meds.

A lot of people love their homemaking binder, which is a brilliant idea and a wonderful way to keep your self organized.  I just can’t do it. I’ve tried and failed and come back to it and then forgotten about it.  If it works for you, then by all means, I envy your approach and think it’s fantastic and admirable.  Alas, I stick to my day planner and my “spreadsheet’, because I know it works for me.

What method do you use to keep yourself organized in the kitchen?

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This post was linked to Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF, Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop, WLWW at Women Living Well, Whole Food Wednesdays Recipe Swap at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition, It’s a Keeper Thursday at Every Day Tastes, Simple Lives Thursday at Gnowfglins, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, Welcome Home Link up at Raising Arrows, Better Mom Monday’s Link Up at The Better Mom, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network, Sunday School Blog Carnival at Butter Believer

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