Declutter Your Cookbooks

Cookbook open on a kitchen countertop


Don’t get me wrong, I love cookbooks! Growing up we always made great meals and desserts using my family’s cookbooks. I used to page carefully through our cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe for my Mom to cook for us. One of my current favourite's is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook, although I must admit it usually takes me longer than fifteen minutes to prepare his recipes! My family had one cookbook for every type of food from cookies to seasonal home cooking. As I grew up, I noticed that an increasing number of cookbooks would find their way into our home. Eventually the internet took over and the frequency with which we used our recipe books began to decrease. For many people, this is becoming the ‘norm’ for home cooking. This post will discuss why it is beneficial to declutter your cookbooks. I also share with you in more detail why I presently own only a handful of cookbooks.

Online Recipes

These days I gravitate towards online recipes rather than my cookbooks. Browsing the infinite food blogs online has replaced my previous love of paging through cookbooks. I am often inspired to cook or bake after viewing something I have seen on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. Using the vast database of recipes online allows me to search for recipes specific to my dietary restrictions of which I have many. While cookbooks are a great reference point, I personally find it more convenient to use online recipes. I like to save my favourite recipe links to a document rather than searching for them in a cookbook. I organize the recipes by category within the document making them easy to find. For example, last Christmas I saved a dairy free gingerbread recipe in the dessert section of my recipe document. Fast forward to December 2018, I had no trouble at all finding the link to the recipe. While this is my personal preference and allows me to be organized with my favourite recipes, don’t let this stop you from turning the pages of the beautiful, food filled books that line your kitchen shelves. 

Decluttering & Organizing

Unfortunately, clutter is a common occurrence when it comes to saving recipes and building up the ‘ultimate’ collection of cookbooks. Fear not! Decluttering your cookbooks is easier than you think. I recommend taking out all of the recipe books and paper recipes that you own to really get an idea of how many you have. Sort through and select the ones that you enjoy using the most. Remove the cookbooks that you no longer see yourself using in the near future. Choose to sell them online, give them to a friend or donate them to local thrift store where someone else can find better use for them. 


Store the cookbooks that you have chosen to keep vertically on your shelf so that it is easy to view the title of each recipe book. For paper recipes, there are two organizational systems you could use. Use a binder or folder to store all your paper recipes which likely includes handwritten family recipes that have been passed on to you and some recipes that have been collected from food magazines or printed from the internet. The other option is to scan all the paper recipes onto your computer and organize by category (i.e. family recipes, dessert recipe folder, instant pot recipes, etc.). Storage is an important part of decluttering your cookbooks. Be sure to set up an organizational system that allows all users to access the cookbooks easily and give everything a place to return to after being used.

Creating Space

You will likely find that the extra space you have created on your shelves will make it more enjoyable and less stressful to spend time in your kitchen. Actively deciding which cookbooks and recipes are your favourites will help you move closer to your goal of achieving a clutter free home. Without the clutter of excess, the cookbooks you use most will become much easier to access when you want to make a meal for your friends, family and other guests.