How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning

How to Organize Cookbooks for Better Menu Planning via Clean Mama

This week’s organizing task is COOKBOOKS (November’s cleaning and organizing calendar is here).  Take a little time this week to sort and organize your cookbooks ahead of the busy holiday season.

I am a cookbook collector and I love to cook and bake.  When we were house shopping, I knew our house was meant to be when I saw the bookshelves around the refrigerator.  A cookbook collector’s dream, right?!

Group like cookbooks together via Clean Mama

Did you know that having a little order in your cookbooks can help you with meal planning?  (If you don’t have cookbooks to sort this week, you could sort out your Pinterest meal boards to help with your menu planning or you could work on a recipe binder.)

Use a cookbook holder via Clean Mama


  • Only have cookbooks that you use or will use – gift or donate cookbooks you know longer use.
  • Group like cookbooks with like cookbooks – baking, desserts, family meals, holidays, by author, by type of cooking (paleo, make ahead, healthy, etc.)
  • Haven’t used a cookbook for awhile?  Plan your meals for a week from ONE cookbook – this is a great way to test out a new cookbook or to get out of a cooking rut.
  • Mark your favorite recipes with flags or Post-Its – if you look hard enough you’ll see lots of flags sticking out of my cookbooks. Makes it easy to be reminded of those favorite recipes and it’s easier to find the recipes.
  • Make notes in your cookbooks – don’t be afraid to add your changes to recipes.
  • PLAN your meals – I take a little time on Fridays to map out the meals for the next week.  Having a plan for meal planning is so helpful – it saves time AND money.  (Here’s my favorite menu planning kit in my shop.)
  • Keep a basket or container with a couple cookbooks you want to use in the coming week to keep them accessible.

Keep a basket or container with a couple cookbooks you want to use  to keep them accessible via Clean Mama


 Have you joined the HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY?  It’s a monthly subscription you’ll love (with menu planning!) – check it out!HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON


  1. I have a large cookbook collection and in the past started to try to organize them, but quickly gave up. I will have to look through them and let some go and organize the rest. Thanks for sharing. It is a helpful reminder!

  2. How much time do you suggest spending each day or each week on one of these tasks?

  3. Jennifer H. says:

    Hi Becky,

    I, too, have a bookcase in my kitchen! When we built our house, I knew I needed to have a specific place in the kitchen for my cookbooks and maybe a family photo or two. Even though I don’t get to make most of the recipes in my cookbooks exactly as they are since I have little kids (they have a pretty broad palate, but I try to keep it simple for myself), I love reading about food preparation because it gives me ideas on flavors that go well together.

    One of the hardest things to organize in kitchen bookcases are the many food/cooking magazines I have. Do you have a way of dealing with those?

    Jennifer H.

  4. Great suggestions! I’m the worst at remembering what recipe came from where, especially with all of the blogs and cooking sites added in. Eat Your Books has been a lifesaver ( It is a subscription service, but very worthwhile in my opinion. They have thousands and thousands of cookbooks, blogs, and websites archived so that you can easily find recipes in your “collection.” Awesome timesaver!

  5. I just enjoy reading cookbooks!!! And I have lots of them. I have picked up so many tips and ideas by reading through them. But I certainly need to organize them better so I try more recipes. Thanks for your ideas!

  6. Great ideas for cookbook collector like myself. My sweet MIL started my addiction because she needed to validate hers. She was an amazing cook and baker.
    On another note: I love your kitchen cabinets. Please share what wood and stain they are made from
    Thank you

    • Thanks Julie! I know that the cupboards are cherry with a mahogany finish – I don’t know any more than that as we didn’t install them 🙂

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