Why I’m Excited about my Grocery List. No, Really.

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You know that feeling when you’re in the grocery store, and you know there’s something important that you’ve left off your list, but you can’t remember what it is? I hate that feeling.

I used to have it just about every time I went to the store. I’d try to keep a current grocery list on the fridge, adding to it as things ran out, but often I would forget and fail to scribble it down when we used the last of the sugar or the cheese or the olive oil. Then on shopping trips, I would roam the store hoping that I would see something along the way to jog my memory.

So about four years ago, I decided to change things. I sat down and made a list of all the things we used on a regular basis, grouped them together by category, and arranged the categories in the general order in which I shop in our usual grocery store.

It might not seem like a huge change, but I find I’m much more likely to maintain the list when I can just circle what we need. And even if I forget to do it at the time, having a prepared list of normal possibilities that I can look over often reminds me of the things I’ve left out.

Of course, our “normal” changes from time to time, especially as we’ve phased out a lot of the processed foods that were on my original list. Keeping the list on the computer allows me to edit and reprint easily to reflect changes in our lifestyle and eating habits.

The list works beautifully with the meal planning that I wrote about in my last post, and together they really streamline our grocery shopping trips. We’re not wandering aimlessly around the store, nor are we buying a bunch of random things that don’t combine into meals. (That’s another feeling I hate: when the pantry is full, but there’s still nothing to eat.)

Some of the things on the list we buy often, and some very rarely, but when we need them, we need them. The list is comprehensive, but we rarely get everything at one place; the local milk we prefer, for example, can’t be bought at the grocery store, and the animal food comes from Petsmart, Tractor Supply, and/or the feed & seed.

Anyway, here’s my list as it stands today.

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Do you have a similar list, or do you have some other time-saving, frustration-preventing organization tip of your own to share?

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