Homemade Recipes Reference Box

I love homemade and I much rather make something myself. Especially if it also means a safer product and saving money. Thanks to Pinterest and my general research (but mostly Pinterest) I’ve gathered a ton of recipes for all things natural and homemade.

But as I started to make some of these things I discovered a problem. I was jotting the recipes down when I went to go use them, but then I was ending up with a pile of scribbled recipes on post-it notes, the back of reused envelopes, and scrap paper. I also released I was finding it hard to track down a specific recipe I wanted quickly among the 100 plus pins on my board. Or I had returned the book it was found in to the library.

I needed a way to organize and save all these recipes.

Enter the homemade recipes reference box.

Otherwise known as, a hacked regular old recipe box that holds recipes for do-it-yourselfing to the extreme.

I simply bought a pretty recipe box off of Amazon.com and reinvented it. Here’s how I did it.

I started by creating a template in Apple’s Pages software (if you want it, just ask, but it will only work in Pages, sorry if you’re stuck with Microsoft Word). I actually started making the cards before I bought the box, but knew I wanted to create cards that would fit in a 4×6 box. Unfortunately, the standard 8.5×11 paper size doesn’t cater to this well, so I settled on 4×5.5 inch cards so that I could get four cards out of each page.

Then I started typing. And typing.

And typing.

I probably had close to 100 recipes typed before I actually printed them out. They are just printed on regular old white card stock.

This is what I then used to develop my categories. After I had cut them all down with my paper cutter, I sorted them in to piles with like recipes. I then tried to figure out general categories. Some were easy, like hair care or household, but others were more difficult. I also realized I needed subcategories. I used 4×6 index file card guides for this.

The categories I ended up with are:

  • Personal Care (with oral and facial care subcategories)
  • Skin Care
  • Hair Care (with clean, condition, treat, and style subcategories)
  • Make-Up
  • Household (with kitchen, bathroom and laundry subcategories)
  • Healthcare (with first aid, girly stuff, outdoors, and sickness subcategories)
  • Baby and Child
  • Pet Care
You can obviously make your own categories, or make adjustments to my list to suit your needs.

As I’ve continued to add recipes, I’ve sometimes added a subcategory, and these will probably continue to evolve and change as I continue to use it.

Right now my box has about 150 recipes in it, and I can foresee need to add another box eventually. But for now, it works great!

I have recipes that cover most of the basics and have found myself reaching for the box when looking for a solution to something (which is the whole idea, right). I’ve even been on the phone with someone a couple times and found myself telling them “hold on, I have a recipe for that!” Of course that’s usually followed by, “um, I don’t have any of those ingredients.” I need to get my friends a little more crunchy.

I’ve also found it a very helpful way to find areas where I’m lacking recipes and even add to my ingredients stockpile. I can make most the basics, but there’s a lot of specialty ingredients I don’t have. I’ve started to keep a running list, based on the recipes in my box, which is helpful when I go to place an order for something, but need to add a few items in order to make shipping worth it.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s “I really hope she’s going to share a download of all those recipes,” it’s it? I really wish I could honestly, but because they are not my own, I don’t feel that it would be right to do so. You can however find most all the recipes (except for the few I copied from books borrowed from the library) on my Pinterest boards. That will save you the time of hunting for them yourself. (If you need a Pinterest invite, just ask!) I was actually surprised at how little time it took me to type up a page of cards. It depended some on what the recipes were, but it wasn’t nearly as daunting as I thought it might be.

As I add my own recipes, I’ll try to type up pages of printable recipes so that my recipes are at least ready to go. Some other bloggers do this too, and usually in the 4×6 format, so keep and eye out for that too.

Please don’t think I sat down and did this all at once either. I’ve actually been working on it for months. Sometimes I’ll sit down and type up a page or two. Other times I’ll type 6-7 pages. I’ve just slowly been going at it.

It’s an ongoing project that will continue probably indefinitely.

And that’s half the idea.


8 thoughts on “Homemade Recipes Reference Box

    • Yes, a few friends will be receiving them at their bridal showers! I got to get them a little more crunchy somehow! 😉

  1. WOW.. great Idea. I hate organising things, love them whn everything is right in front of me. But I loved you notes-box. This way my notes will not fly off from my table atleast 🙂

  2. Hi Morgan, I just found your blog…I’m one of the 100 Googlers looking for a way to make my own custom header 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial. I absolutely LOVE this post! It’s pin-worthy for sure. 🙂 I’m frugal and crunchy too…looking forward to reading more of your posts. -Rachael @ Frugal Faye

  3. Heyy, I found your blog through the ‘make your own’ header section – and I’m loving exploring it! I hope you write some new posts soon – I love the mix of topics, this is exactly what I’d love my blog to eventually be like! X

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