Organizing Cookbooks by Color

Photos by Valerie

181 cookbooks. At least, that’s according to the last census my 7-year-old conducted. Cookbooks lined every shelf in the kitchen, cluttered the free space on my desk, and I have to confess, stacked themselves in every odd corner of our bedroom. Needless to say, a little (ok, a big) spring cleaning was long overdue.

So the other day, inspired by the season, I decided to move my entire collection to a previously clutter filled bookshelf in our family room (sorry family). I love it! It’s so convenient to have all of my reference material in one place, and the books provide a warm, homey backdrop for my otherwise clean-feeling family room.

Once I had all my books in one place, though, the question became, “How do I organize all of these?” Do I do it by region, or alphabetically by the author? Gourmet or easy family? What about books like The Joy of Cooking that have a huge range of all different types of recipes? Being a pretty visual person, I recalled that my friend Samantha organized her’s by color. This seemed totally fitting, so I grabbed a paint chart and got to work.

I realize that may sound a little crazy (only a little, right?), but ever since I did this, it’s been a breeze for me to find all my recipes. Most of the time, I can’t tell you the name of a cookbook off the top of my head, or even who wrote it, but for some reason, I’m really good remembering the colors of the books (the real books, not the dust jackets. Those pesky things never make it long in my kitchen). I love my system, and my girls love to look at the rainbow wall of cookbooks in our family room. Even my husband likes it—a total win-win-win! And now that I’ve moved to a bigger bookshelf, I have room for more. How do you like to organize your cookbooks?

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