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Go Ask Mom

Raleigh Green Gables: Time to edit cookbooks

Posted September 12

All the cookbooks that Leah Friedman of Raleigh Green Gables owns.

Now that the kids are back in school, and you are able to actually think, it's a good time to start small decluttering projects.

This month, I will tell you about several projects that should take very little time.

We will start with cookbooks because that's an easy one.

Look, I personally know several cookbook writers, and I adore them. But cookbooks are like phone books. There is no need for them. Thanks to the internet, we can look up ANY recipe. You don't need a whole cookbook on Thai food for one dish. Just Google pad thai.

Don't worry: I am not suggesting you get rid of every single cookbook. Keep the ones that mean something to you. And, no, that is not all of them. It's impossible to have 50 or more books mean something very, very special to you.

For instance, I kept Martha Stewart's cookbook because she taught me how important it is to love and respect your home by making it a beautiful space -- long before HGTV was on the air. I love her so much, I happened to be in New York in 2003 at the time of her trial, and went down to the courthouse to cheer her on as she entered the courtroom. So that cookbook means something to me.

I also still have "How to Cook Everything," by Mark Bittman. It's so well used, the front cover has been ripped off.

This might be the point where I need to confess to you that I don't cook. My husband does the cooking. What can I say? I married very well. But I use Bittman to remind me how to hard boil eggs or get ideas for my husband to cook.

Maybe that's why purging cookbooks seems easy to me. But we have exactly 10 cookbooks, and my husband does a lot of cooking. Most of them are for holidays and have recipes that we love, and he does not want to risk not being able to find them on the internet.

So take out all your cookbooks from the shelves and really go through them. Hold them to your heart if you have to and see if they mean something to you. Try to get rid of half.

Donate the ones you no longer need to a local charity. And thank yourself for creating new space in your kitchen.

Leah Friedman is a mom of two, professional organizer and owner of Raleigh Green Gables.

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