Admit it – right now, you have piles of food magazines hanging around your place. The coffee table, the kitchen table, the desk, the floor, that one corner in the room. If you’re lucky, perhaps you put them on a book shelf. Sure, we can find pretty much any recipe online if we use our trusty search engine sites, but reading a computer screen isn’t the same as curling up on the couch with a magazine and winding down for the night. Right now, I have three subscriptions, so that means every month, I add three more magazines to my collection. As excited as I get when the new issues arrive, I also know my collection is getting out of hand. What is a foodie to do? Well I’ve found a solution that worked for me. It may not work for everyone, but perhaps my method will inspire you to maintain that always-growing pile of fun.

When I first moved to the town I live in now, I kept my magazines in plastic sleeves in a binder. That made storing the magazines a little easier because they aren’t slumping down on the bookshelf. After a few months, my collection was bigger than what my binder could hold. Should I get more binders? I was talking with a coworker one day who also has this problem. She stores hers in an ottoman in her living room. I loved that idea, so when I was carpet shopping, I was looking for an ottoman to match. Eventually, I ended up with one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Not only can I prop up my feet, I can easily store my magazines within a short reach from the couch.

That’s great, but eventually, my ottoman became heavy to carry. Plus with so many recipe ideas, how exactly do you find a recipe? Especially when you are tired from working all day and have no clue what to make for dinner. This is where I thank Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil for being my hero. She wrote a post about how she organized her magazines using a recipe management app called Paprika. At first I was unsure since it cost $4.99, but I promise you it’s worth it. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Apple users, so you need an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac (if you don’t have these, keep reading! My method may still help you).

This app relies completely on your organizational skills because nothing is pre-loaded, including recipes and categories. I love this feature because I can make it work for me; there’s no point in having an empty category or recipes you’ll never make. I organize my recipes in two ways – by type and by ingredient. Need an idea for dinner? I click on dinner and boom – here are all of my dinner recipes. What if I’m at the farm and they have a good price on peaches? I click on peaches and boom – now I have 10 potential recipes (and I can see what else I need for the recipe). If I forget to check a recipe and I’m already at the store, I can pull up the recipe and make sure I have everything. The possibilities are endless! The app also lets you add recipes to a menu, add ingredients to a grocery list, email a recipe, scale a recipe, set up a kitchen timer. The best part is the app works offline, so even if I’m fighting with my internet, I still have my recipes. Oh I could go on and on about this app, but it’s going to have to be in another post :)

So how does this app help with my magazine problem? There are two ways to add recipes – go to a website and click save recipe or manually add the information. Going to the website is the easiest, but not all recipes are formatted correctly. Fortunately for my magazines, their recipes are ready to add. But before I start, I need to know which recipes I want. The first step to conquering the pile is to use reusable tabs. What’s nice is you can take them off, reuse them, and not tear any pages. You could even assign a color to each category (I don’t). Once I marked my recipes, I go to the magazine’s website, search for the recipe, load the page, then save the recipe. Done! Now back to the magazine itself. The number of tabs determines what I do next. For me, I set a number. If it has 5 tabs or more, I keep the magazine. If it only has a few, then I put it in my donate pile. I think I’ve gotten rid of at least 10 magazines using this method. Of course you can decide what your parameters are, whether you want to get rid of everything or be more lax on which ones to keep. I still like to curl up on the couch with mine, so I’m not going completely digital.

If you don’t have an Apple product, don’t worry! You can still use the tab method. Before my phone, I used binders. If a magazine only had a few recipes I wanted, I’d make a copy, put it in my binder, then find my magazine a new home. The hardest part about keeping a binder is making categories. Sometimes, one page may have two types of recipes. Does it go under dinner or under dessert? How do you mark both? I still don’t have the answer to that, but perhaps you could do something with colored tabs. Or just make two photocopies so you can file it under each category.

This is the best method for me to organize my food magazines. Of course, cookbooks are a different story….

How do you organize your magazines?