Nearly everyone has recipes on recipe cards or index cards, so begin with those. First, you'll need to make a list of categories into which your recipes fall. For example, you may use broad categories such as "breads," "desserts," "main dishes," "vegetables," "soups" and "salads." Then sort your recipes into piles corresponding to those categories.
If you're having trouble deciding on appropriate categories for your collection, start by sorting your recipes into piles of similar recipes. Look through all the recipes in a pile and you'll see that category names start to suggest themselves. Another idea is to consult a cookbook to see how it's divided [source: Henneman].
If one pile gets too large, you can create subcategories to make finding what you need easier. For example, the category "main dishes" may then be divided into "vegetarian" and "non-vegetarian," while the category "desserts" may include subcategories like "pies," "cakes" and "cookies."
Another thing you can do as you sort your recipes is weed out those you'll never use. It may be hard -- after all, you did like the recipe enough to clip it out of that magazine -- but there are sure to be some recipes that you know you'll never make. As you look at each one, ask yourself "Is there any chance I'll ever make this dish?" If the answer is "no," then toss it in the trash [source: Grace].
Now that you've sorted through your printed recipes, you need to think about what to store them in. Your old recipe box may need to be replaced with something a little more modern. Read on for some ideas.