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Although I’m really not a great cook — despite my best efforts and the fact that I cook almost every day for my family! — I’ve always loved cookbooks almost as much as I love kitchen gadgets. These days, browsing food blogs has replaced flipping through colorful cookbooks, but letting go of the dozens of cookbooks that used to line my shelves was not an easy decision for me to make.

In the end, though, with picky eaters in the house and the computer readily available, I found myself turning to my cookbooks less and less anyway and ultimately decided that I’d rather have the free space than keep storing the cookbooks.

Of course, there are still a few that I couldn’t part with, and it’s okay to decide that keeping your cookbooks is worth the space they take up. But even if you use your cookbooks regularly, there are probably a couple you could declutter to make space for more!

To get started, make sure that you’ve kept copies of any recipes your family loves or have become part of holiday traditions. I spent a few nights flipping through my cookbooks while we watched TV, flagging any recipes I wanted to save with a post-it note so I could easily find them later.

Next, copy and save those recipes somewhere where you can find them. I decluttered my recipes several years ago (before Plan to Eat even existed!), so I copied any recipes I wanted to save and put them in a binder. You could make a photocopy or hand write them, of course, but it’d be even better to enter them right into Plan to Eat so they’re ready to add to your meal plan and available to be printed.

Finally, be sure to find good homes for your cookbooks! Your local library may take them, or you could donate them to a thrift shop. Or if they’re valuable, you may even be able to sell them on Amazon.com or eBay.

Making the decision to declutter is never easy, but be sure to ask yourself the hard questions as you consider each cookbook so that you’re only keeping those that you truly value. Beware, though — the convenience of having your recipes all saved in one place (like your Plan to Eat Recipe Book) may just outweigh your attachment to the glossy pages of your favorite cookbook!

How many cookbooks do you have in your kitchen? Is the idea of storing your recipes online instead appealing or hard for you?

Photo by sling@flickr

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