The Cookbook Conversation

 How many of you have more than one shelf of cookbooks? Many of my clients have several shelves of cookbooks that overflow into other areas of the home. Now, I’m not saying that you must limit your cookbooks to one shelf, but I do think that you should think about why you have so many and analyze if you need to keep all of them.

 organize your cookbooks

When I visited my mother, I found that she was no exception.  When I asked her if she used all the cookbooks, she quickly (and defensively) said “Yes!”.  Since I am always in a research mode; I wanted to know what clients like my mother are thinking/feeling. So I decided to “interview” my mother. Below is what I found out about cookbooks from her.

The Cookbook Conversation Reveals


  • Some cookbooks are given away over time, a few at a time

  • Some cookbooks have sentimental value

  • When wanting to cook with ingredients on hand, comparing recipes in a few cookbooks is helpful

  • There is enjoyment from just browsing through cookbooks sometimes

  • Some cookbooks are old friends; containing favorite recipes used over and over again

  • While the internet has a plethora of recipes, there are times when it just isn’t a substitute for a cookbook

Does this ring true for you?  I realize that cookbooks

are like any other type of book and sometimes very hard to part with (and for some very good reasons as stated above).

Here’s the cookbook I’ll NEVER let go.

It was given to me by my grandmother on my 16th birthday. I made my first Thanksgiving turkey in 1988 from this book. It’s one of those old friends and it very sentimental too. I have a few cookbooks in that category.

Look at your cookbook collection, are there some old friends? Are there also cookbooks you’ve never used?  Maybe they were gifts, but not really your “style”. It’s okay to let those go.

Keep the ones you want to keep… Just make sure you know which ones they are.

Product Review: FreedomFiler

I haven’t done a Tool Tuesday feature in a while, so here ya go!  I helped a client in her home office last week and introduced this product to her. She is a local realtor and although she had been in business for years, she felt that she needed to get “re-booted” in her office.  She felt it was cluttered, the work process didn’t flow, and her files were a mess (her words, not mine).

While we worked together for a couple of days on all aspects of her office environment, I want to tell you about the tool we used to revamp her filing system.  Based on my clients existing files, personality, and needs I recommended the FreedomFiler®.


FreedomFiler® is best known for being a self-purging file system. This system goes a long way in keeping your files organized and is very user friendly. It uses color coding to categorize odd year versus even year files as well as separating your active and yearly files from your permanent, or archive, files.


The system contains 200+ pre-printed file tab labels with a total of over 400 customizable file tab labels included.  There are easy-to-follow instructions and 5 great indexed cards to keep your system on track.  You also have the option to purchase other accessories if you need them.  This system works for home and work files.

Here are a few reasons why I find this product to be so helpful to certain clients:

  • easily integrates into your existing file system
  • streamlines the look of your files, making things easier to read
  • the even/odd year file sets make getting ready for tax time a breeze
  • gives you guidelines for when papers should be purged
  • eliminates the need to make new files each year

FreedomFiler® is a great system and so easy to use.  I am an affiliate for FreedomFiler and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact me via the Contact tab or leave a comment here.

There’s More than One Way to File

When you hear the word “file”, what do you think of?  What image pops in your head?

There is actually more than one way to file your papers.  The traditional method of file folders and file drawers is only one option. You don’t have to file the way your mother did.  Choose what works for you! Here are just two other options:

1.              PileSmart® – a Pendaflex® product

Remember the Pilot from my other blog post, Three Personality Types of Paper Mania?  Well this is the product for that person.  The PileSmart® Organizer features a clear lucite tray that is open on two side.  There are 6 plastic dividers, with end and side tabs that are easily seen as you stack things vertically. The dividers are very sturdy so you can lift up a stack by the divider tab and retrieve papers when needed.  In addition to allowing you to color code your stacks, the labels on each divider are durable and are “write-and erase”, which means you can use re-use them after a stack is purged. Nifty product, huh?  You can get it online at Amazon.

2.              Binders

Yes, binders!  They are not just for school anymore… You can use binders with dividers to keep categories of paperwork manageable.  Don’t relish the thought of hole punching and/or pinched finger accidents?  That’s okay; use plastic pockets in the binders.  This will enable you to quickly “file” your papers away.  Binders can be stored on shelves, in file drawers, or archived in boxes.  You can also color code your binder, if that’s what you like to do or purchase colors that match your office décor, looking sleek and orderly on a bookcase or credenza.

These are just two options for filing the papers you keep.  Would love to hear how you manage your papers, please leave a comment.

Going Paperless with My Recipes


I want less paper to deal with in my life and I have a scanner. So where should I start?

I decided to start with my collection of recipes.

So where do I store the recipes electronically? Whatever I store them on has to be able to be taken into the kitchen to use while cooking.

I decided to use my iPad. (A laptop or a smartphone would work too)

What program should I use to capture my recipes? It needed to be easily accessible and easy to use.

I decided on Evernote.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Created a Notebook in Evernote called “Recipes”
  2. I started by transferring my recipe box and loose paper recipes using my scanner.

Read this post if you want to know what kind of scanner I use.

Here’s an example of a scanned recipe card:
 I went to my mother-in-laws during Christmas and wanted her yummy cookie recipe, so I took a picture of it.
Here’s what it looks like:

Then I was out at the store and forgot to add ingredients to my shopping list so I looked the recipe on the internet using my smartphone. Then saved it to Evernote on my phone. (Evernote syncs with ALL your gadgets)

Here’s the recipe that was found on the internet:

I also just opened up Evernote and typed in a recipe that was very hard to read when scanned.

Here’s the recipe I typed and saved:


Evernote also allows you to use “Tags”; think of them as keywords. So I added tags to every recipe. That way when I want to make something with the ingredients I have on hand, I just type in the ingredient and all recipes with that ingredient comes up.

Aside from using the Tags feature, Evernote also has a search function, references the URL from things captured on the internet and allows me to make notes directly to my recipes, regardless of how they were entered in.  I can notate for example, that I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh and did not use salt. If someone asks me for a recipe, that’s simple too. I just click on “Share” and I can send it via email, facebook, twitter or using a link! Awesome!

I have over 150 recipes in my Evernote cookbook.  I still need to cull through the other cookbooks I have (I only use them for 3-4 recipes) and get those into my Evernote. Then I will pass those cookbooks onto my apartment dwelling, bachelor sons or donate them!

Are you going online and finding recipes, then printing them out to make? If so, you may want to check out Evernote and say goodbye to the paper and save your printer ink!