How Do You Organize Your Cookbooks?

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If you love to cook, you probably have an extensive cookbook collection. You may even have received more this holiday season! The biggest challenge? You need to find a way to organize your cookbooks.

It is wonderful to have all those recipes, but it can be extremely difficult to find the exact one you want if the cookbooks are all cluttered. There are a variety of ways that you can organize your cookbook collection.

Consider the following ideas to see what works best for you:

How Do You Organize Your Cookbooks?

Find the space

Before you start to organize your cookbooks, you need to find the space for all of them. You do not want to have one here, one there, and one somewhere else. When you need a recipe or inspiration, this can make it truly difficult to find the source you’re looking for.

Try to find a shelf or space. You can also store them in boxes or on racks. It is okay to have them separated into several different spots as long as you are organized and make sure that everything has a space.


Some people find that the easiest way to organize any type of book is alphabetical. You can put them in order by the author, by the title of the book or by the foods that are cooked.

If you are familiar with the titles of the books, this method may get you to the one you want the quickest. Whatever works best for you and whatever you will remember the easiest is always the best method.

Sort by type

You can sort your cookbooks into categories. These can be whatever you want. Some popular categories include breakfast, lunch, desserts, low fat, type of food, etc,

I sort mine in my go-to categories. I have a “baking” section, “Irish cuisine“, “Italian cuisine”and so on.

You can sort your cookbooks by the order in which you use them. For instance, you can have a spot at the front for your go-to cookbooks. This will help you get to your favorites quickest but may make you less likely to see something new that you want to try.

Give yourself a cheat sheet

No matter how you organize the cookbooks on the shelves, make yourself a computer file cheat sheet that can help you organize everything. For instance, you can list the titles of the books on your shelves and specify where they are.

In this case, if you shelved them alphabetically, then you would simply have an alphabetical list of the cookbooks in your collection.

You can also make it easier to find recipes by listing favorite recipes in each cookbook as well as their page numbers. You will easily be able to search for what you want and go right to the book.

There are many different methods you can use to organize your cookbooks, and you are not stuck with just one. For instance, you can separate your cookbooks into categories and then alphabetize them within those categories. Try the different methods until you find the easiest way for you.

Do you have a special method that works well for you? Please share how you organize your cookbooks!

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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  1. Reply

    I purged last year and gave over 50 cookbooks to the local library for their book sale. I kept all my vegan cookbooks. It made it a lot easier to organize. They now fit on two racks and are used a lot more because they are in sight. Recipes I use a lot I write the title and page number in the front of the book to easily find. I also made a recipe card catalogue from my recipe box with recipes I enjoy and write the name of the recipe along with the cookbook name and page number it is located. I categorize the recipes as main, sides, sauces, dips, ect. I find that system works best for me. I kept my collection of Better Home and Garden plaid cookbook editions and one of my all time favorite cookbook called, ‘ Getting Laid’.

    1. Reply

      That’s a wonderful gift to give your library folks! I need to do another book purge this year, too. Thanks for all the very helpful tips! I particularly love that you write your favorite recipe page numbers in the front of the book, that’s really clever. And, of course, I am truly honored that my book is a part of your collection!!

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