How many cookbooks do you currently have in your home? I’m being serious – go count them! My bet is that you have FAR more than you realize. I just counted and we have 42 (yes, FOURTY-TWO. And that doesn’t include the 5 you see above) plus our HUGE binder full of family recipes and favorites we’ve collected over the last few years. It’s ridiculous. Let’s be honest: there is no way that we will ever, in a million years, try all of those recipes, even once.
In an effort to purge some stuff and clear some things out in our home for the new year, we’ve been going through bookshelves (we have a serious book problem, and an even BIGGER mug collection addiction!) and closets – donating anything we can, and throwing out the things that nobody has any business holding onto.
A couple of days ago a certain cookbook caught my eye and I had a revelation!
I’m not going to lie, it was a church cookbook. One given to us by someone, from a church that we knew nobody from. It’s a HUGE book and takes up a lot of shelf space. And can we be real here – how many of those recipes are you actually going to try? Don’t get me wrong, I have bought them from our churches in the past and I love the people that shared their recipes, but… 12 recipes for chicken pie, 7 recipes for meatloaf and 42 million mayonnaise based dips are just not things I’m going to ever make. My Nannie’s chicken pie and mom’s meatloaf are the only ones of those I’m interested in. Not because they’re necessarily the best, but I just don’t have room in my life for 9 different chicken pies! (Although I do have 3 that I really love – that are all pretty different…) Regardless of how much I love those people, I don’t need 90% of the recipes in there.
So here’s how I decided to make the best of both worlds: I sat down and took a few minutes to flip through the afore-mentioned church cookbook, pulling out pages that contained recipes that were something I found interesting and wanted to possibly try one day. I marked the recipe I was saving with a red star since there are usually multiple ones on each page. Once I had torn out the pages I wanted to keep I recycled the remainder of the book – and I don’t feel bad about it either.
1) My shelf has free space on it.
2) I kept recipes I’d love to try one day.
3) Recycling helps the enviroment.
4) Those cookbooks are organized as fundraisers, and my funds were given. The cookbook has officially served it’s purpose.
5) With a 125 page cookbook, I’m never going to sit down and read through it to find a recipe anyway – so with it on the shelf it’s literally doing me no good. Now that I’ve picked my favorites out, I’ll be more likely to try those recipes!
6) Best of all, I came across some really cool recipes that I didn’t know we had! (I found one for “Betty’s Coconut Cake” that looks like it could quickly become one of my favorites!)
After the first book I sort of found my “declutter calling” for the day and went through several more cookbooks to save the recipes we’d be interested in! We’ve placed those in our main recipe binder and look forward to trying them soon!
I highly recommend taking the time to glance through a few cookbooks that have been weighing down your shelves, in hopes that you’ll be able to free up a little more space in your kitchen! (If you’re feeling bad about tearing pages out, make copies or take photos of the recipes – but hey, tearing pages is find of fun!) I did over the last couple of days and have been able to recycle 5 cookbooks. We have free shelf space and ended up with 25-30 new recipes to try!