Day 145 My Recipe for Cookbook decluttering


1 Kitchen cupboard                                   40 Recipe Books

1 plastic crate                                               1 Pinch of Common Sense


  1. Open the kitchen cupboard where you keep you recipe books.
  2. Take all of the recipe books out of the cupboard.
  3. Use your common sense to determine whether you actually ever use these books or are ever likely to. Keep in mind that you can Google any recipe you could possible want and or borrow recipe books from the library.
  4. Take the plastic crate and load all the books you have determined you don’t need into it.
  5. Put the crate into your car and take it to your local charity.
  6. Celebrate the space you have just liberated in your kitchen cupboard.

I still have about a dozen books that I want to take a closer look at before adding them to the 365 less things but once again that can wait for another day after all there are still 220 left.


Here is the pile of cookbooks that I ruthlessly decluttered and I don’t imagine I will ever miss them.


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Interestingly, I just decluttered my cookbooks yesterday! I found one that I didn’t remember I owned 🙁 Now I have just the few I actually use. One of the books I gave away had the most gorgeous photos of the Mediterranean and its food. I think I loved the pictures much more than the recipes which is why I fell for it in the first place. It’s gone!

    • Hi Willow,
      it is funny you should mention the pictures in cookbooks. When I did used to buy cookbooks I wouldn’t buy them unless they had a photo of every recipe. I like to be able to see the end product before I attemp to try a new recipe.

  2. I conquered the cookbooks. I typed the one or two recipes I liked from each book into an online recipe thing and brought the books to the Goodwill. No more guilt or irritation with cookbooks that didn’t live up to my expectations!

    And the next week my mother shipped up her entire Time Life International Cooking set from the 70s to me. Sigh.

    • Hi Seth,
      Quite often one or two recipes are all you get out of a cookbook really anyway. That is why I am happy to be rid of mine and just borrow from the local library or search on line for recipes in the future. I haven’t got to the bottom of my collection yet, it is an on going process but as you know I am not in a hurry.
      God bless your sweet mother though, parents can be so annoyingly thoughtful at time aren’t they.

  3. I’ve been browsing your blog, very interesting and inspirational! I admire your ability to this so slowly. I just reached a point where a lot of stuff just HAD to go.. quickly! We (3 of us) live in a one bedroom apartment and I was feeling claustrophobic. (People said that we don’t have that much stuff but it felt like much to me. We didn’t use of need, or even like, most of it.) As we also had to empty our attic storage for upcoming roof renovation, it was a perfect time to do a huge decluttering and I went to sell at a flea market and made a huge pile of money too. I don’t really like selling and find internet auctions a big hassle, though I have done some of that too… So I’m thinking now that I have gotten rid of so much, I will take your slow approach to mindfully look at the rest and slowly pare down more, while learning new simpler habits and to NOT buy more stuff. Even if most of what I have bought is second hand or vintage. It’s still stuff. And a big part of what I just sold and donated was clothes that no longer fit after having my daughter 😉

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      Nice to hear from you and thanks for the kind words. I started out like you about three years back where I just had to clear out a lot of stuff immediately due to a home downsize but then I was able to settle down and put more thought into it. Your situation sounds quite crowded though with three of you living in a one bedroom appartment but it can be done if you plan it right. Its all relative isn’t it, to people who live in caravans a one bedroom appartment probably sounds spacious. I look forward to hearing about your progress.
      I took a look at your blog spot. I like your art it is very bold and colourful, I will go over for a more thoroughful look later.

  4. The only part of your recipe I would change is step 5. There is a used book store near my office that I have been taking all my books (including cookbooks) to as I continually thin the herd. They pay in cash for newer/popular books and store credit for older/less popular ones. I’ve used my store credit to buy board books for my toddler daughter (who LOVES books) for a 1/10 of what they cost in the store. It’s a win win.

    • Hi Donna,
      thanks for that tip. Funny enough I hadn’t given that a thought and there are so many used book shops right near where I live. I think I will give it a try and I will come back to you and let you know how I went. I used to do that all the time when I was a child. There was a Book Exchange near where we used to caravan by the beach and we used to exchange comic books all the time. Good thinking!

  5. Hi Colleen,
    I just found your “cookbook declutter”. Had to smile – I have spent the last four days doing just this. First I emptied the recipe book cupboard (above the fridge) onto the floor. I wondered if I still had any more upstairs in our “library” – turned out to be a whole shelf of recipe books. Then I sorted the mess into xerox boxes – books in five, loose pages into two. Then I started through folders, books, and papers – recycling loose recipes that I’ll never use, saving probable/possibles into the appropriate folders. (I have folders for “fish”, “soup” etc. etc.) I ditched all meat recipes as I have been vegetarian for eight years, and my husband joined in a year ago. Then I started on the books ……….. wow, I don’t think I’d even opened most of them. I have now sorted through four boxes, all the folders, and about half the loose papers. I still have about a kitchen drawerful left, but any book with just a few interesting pages is going out, after I copy those few recipes. Amazing how large a pile is on its way out! Just as well I run a book sale each year for our church!!
    I think another day will see this job done. I put the clean teatowels, aprons, and tablecloths into the over-fridge cupboard and solved the problem of where to keep them!

    • Hi Ann,
      I only have a handful of cookbooks left myself now and once I copy the recipes I use out of those they will go too. Funnily enough I keep them in the cupboard over the fridge. There are a couple there that belong to the kids though that I will put among the items I have saved for them in the garage. I have one folder that holds the recipes I use all the time which I will keep and that will be that. I only had enough to fill the cupboard above the fridge in the first place though so I had a bit of a head-start on you. Now if I want to try something new I just look in the look on the internet.

      • We changed our way of eating almost 4 years ago (no wheat, low carb, high fat), so almost all my recipes had to be adjusted or eliminated. This was not hard because I had most of my recipes in a folder on my email so I could access them when we were out of town (we traveled half time for hubby’s job). I adjusted some of them and spent a lot of time searching for suitable recipes online…mostly on the Paleo websites. This time I copied and pasted them into Pages on my iPad, making adjustments for my tweaks. So now almost all my current recipes are easily accessible on my iPad which I can prop up on my kitchen countertop when I cook.

        However, I still have about 14 cookbooks that I pretty much never use. I’ll likely declutter those in due time.


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