©2009 Professional Organizer -
Lea Schneider is the author of
A Mom to Mom Guide available at
one-on-one organizing advice via phone and email through Organize Online
division at her company website,
Organize Right Now.
Her advice is featured
here at What's Cooking America in a monthly column. You may have read her
expert organizing ideas in Woman’s Day, Natural Health, College News, and
Better Homes and Gardens Kids’ Rooms magazines and newspapers. She is a member of the National Association of Professional
Organizers and the Association of Food Journalists.
Organize Right Now LLC
Member National Association of Professional Organizers
Organize Right Now
Check out all of Lea
Schneider's helpful home and kitchen columns at
Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.
Gather your recipes, menus and ideas in
one great-to-have notebook
Watching a cooking show the other day, I began
to wonder what I was going to make this holiday season.
I’m sure you have the same experience.
Something triggers a train of thought and soon you’re are trying to
plan a holiday party menu, figure out what to bake for the
neighbors, wondering what to have for Christmas day brunch and
trying to think of appetizers to carry to various events.
During the month of December, the
amount of food events can be staggering, even for those of us who
love to cook, and especially so for those of us who only cook a lot
during this time of year.
A great way to feel confident about
this month’s cooking extravaganza, tweak your memory and give you
great ideas is to create a holiday notebook. A notebook is just the
place to store all those once-a-year recipes, party menus,
decorating and invitation ideas and more. Having your party and
holiday recipes in one spot is a great time saver. If you need an
appetizer recipe during the coming year, you’ll know right where to
For this Christmas Holiday Notebook
project, you will need:
One 3-ring binder, clear pocket
sheet protectors and printer paper.
the clear pocket sheet protectors into your binder. You can use
them to hold all your menus, recipes and ideas.
Create dividers for the sections of your notebook. This will
help you find what you need, when you need it. You can print out
titles for your notebook division on your computer printer or
just hand print them. Slip the paper into the pockets to divide
Following are some of the divisions in my notebook and a list of
what each contains. You should customize your notebook to suit you.
It’s That Time:
Each year we repeat tasks. This year, keep all
your to-do lists for decorating, entertaining and
household chores in the notebook. Next year, they
will serve as great checklists for you.
Holiday Menus -
What you served for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day,
Christmas Breakfast or Brunch, family gatherings and
New Year’s. Note the traditional or favorites. Try
something new? Make a note of where you found the
Copies of Menus
Any to-do lists
you made to get read for the party- such as
polish the silver, mail the invitations, order
the flowers and so forth.
Any ideas that you
wrote down or tore from a magazine for
Holiday Recipes –
Family favorites, traditional recipes, recipes
What’s Cooking America
or torn from
magazines or newspapers
List of what you
usually bake and the quantity.
List of anyone you
take baked goods to.
Baking recipes or
list of cookbook and pages.
for pantry baking staples
Home Sweet Home:
List - for getting ready for the holidays.
to-do lists for decorating and any ideas you gather
from magazines can be filed here.
record of family traditions.
Gifts and Cards:
Master Gift List-
keeps your list of what you give each year
or information for wrapping
Travel - Going or Coming:
guest information - To-do list to prepare for
Travel plans -
Dates, directions or reservation for going away
Master checklist -
Going out-of-town? Create a checklist for the house
for before you leave.