Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Cure for the Aisle Three Blues: Vegan MOFO Post #7

Our fridge. Payton, the turkey we sponsored last Thanksgiving; our cat butt magnets, a lovely housewarming gift from Ms. Tufts; and the thing that keeps me from going over the deep end -- our personal shopping list.

Raise your hand if this is you.

You go to the supermarket, perusing the different aisles and buying what is on your list. And then -- dang -- you realized you forgot such-and-such in aisle three. So you trek back through the crowds, colliding with other carts and politely letting others through.

You so meant to get here earlier today when there were no crowds, but so-and-so called and then you had to do that thing that you've been putting off. And then, of course, you had to go to that appointment at eleven that you scheduled four weeks ago. And, you sheepishly admit to yourself, sleeping in this morning didn't help either. (Apologies to all the parents out there who are now understandably rolling their eyes at the couple with no children.)

Before you knew it, there was no other time to go to the market than NOW. And NOW is exactly the time that everyone else decided to go to the market. (They had the same kind of unfolding day.) The last thing you want to do is to have to retrace your steps and go back to aisle three.

Can I have a Hallelujah?

After enough trekking backwards to aisle three in my life to cover the length of the Massachusetts Turnpike, I decided to make a grocery list that actually made sense. I don't like my precious weekend time eaten up by retracing my steps. There are gardens to dig! Movies to see! Games to play! (And yes, a house to clean and all that, but who wants to think about the boring stuff? A post devoted to food shopping is bad enough.)

To make a more speedy shopping trip, I mapped out in my mind the best walking route through my favorite supermarket (one end to the other, in a winding, snakelike fashion). Then I listed the groceries I normally buy along that route. After a month of tweaking this list of items, I came up with a shopping list that allows me to get into the store, do my thing FAST, and then get out in record time, allowing me to resume my weekend.

Notice that this is the same list, done twice. That way, I just print several copies, cut them in half, and then stick them on our fridge with a strong magnet, so they're ready to go whenever we need them.

I created it on my Googledocs account (or you can just create a Word document) and then shared the document with my husband. So now it's online where we can access it, edit it, and print it from anywhere. If you'd like a copy, leave a comment below with your email and I'm happy to share the document with you. (I won't enable the "edit" function for you, but you can just copy it and paste it onto a new document and then revise the whole thing for your eating preferences and store layout.)

Another thing I find helpful is to write the week's menus on the blank side of the shopping list and then when I'm done shopping, I hang the menu on the fridge so I can refer to it throughout the week. If I'm using a recipe from a cookbook, I list the cookbook intials and the page the recipe is on, so I don't have to hunt for it later in the week when I'm hungry and grumpy.

Sorry these are so out of focus! I have much to learn about photography. But this is an example of the list filled out. 

And this is the flip side of the list, showing our weekly menu with cookbook initials and page numbers. (As you can see, I cooked a LOT from the Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook this week.

What sorts of timesaving tricks to you use to make life about living and not about backtracking? (These can be kitchen-related or otherwise.)


  1. This is a great idea! I need to keep something like this by our fridge for keeping track on random things that need to be replaced as we use them. I like having the menu & page numbers on the back for reference as well.

    I always make two versions of our grocery list, one is just jotting down everything we need as it comes to mind, and the second is putting the items in order of where they are located in the store so I can start in the back and work by way towards the front. I hate backtracking! I now do it electronically using Evernote, so it's a quick process, but I do miss physically scratching items off the list as I put them in my cart ;)

  2. Did you write this especially for us?!?! Thank you! This is awesome!