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The big barrier to a clean kitchen

The kitchen is now organized – except for that pile of recipe clippings.

Saved: Many cooks like to collect recipes, but how to keep them organized?

Joanne Ciccarello/Staff

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Hectic and hardworking, my kitchen tends to attract stuff, lots of stuff – things I love and cannot seem to let go. It collects surreptitiously in drawers and on countertops, in cupboards and closets, until every nook and cranny overflows with clutter.

Yet I crave the quiet tranquility of a sleek and clutter-free space.

It is time for an intervention, I tell myself and jump in. After a few focused hours, my cupboards are crisp and clean, my fridge is fresh and fabulous, and my junk drawer deserves a new name to reflect its almost elegant appearance.

Now, one final hurdle stands between me and neatness nirvana: a delicately hand-woven basket crammed with recipes. Snipped from newspapers and magazines, ripped from jars and boxes, this mountain of paper threatens to thwart my aspirations.

Perched precariously at its peak is my circa-1975 cookbook with its battered Holly Hobby cover, sheltering a lifetime of tried-and-true favorites, recipes I return to again and again despite the abundance of new and exciting ideas buried beneath. Yet this pile of clippings looms before me, a miniature Mount Everest I yearn to conquer.

A more practical person would puzzle at my predicament. As a committed collector, I am prone to odd and irrational attachments. Each of these crumpled recipes holds the promise of a delicious drama waiting to unfold, like a stack of wonderful books waiting to be explored and appreciated. Will I discover a scrumptious secret? Or will I find myself hopelessly hungering for something more? The mystery is undeniably mouthwatering.

I am not alone; recipes run rampant in even the most orderly household. Some are tossed hastily into a drawer or a basket, while others are pasted painstakingly into the pages of a homemade scrapbook. Some are captured in beautiful books displayed respectfully on a shelf, while others are efficiently organized onto a laptop. No matter where they are housed, they always seem to magically multiply like dust bunnies gone wild.


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