When it comes to organizing, things are rarely (if ever) one and done. As our lives change, so do our needs, and organizational systems have to be re-evaluated and adjusted. One of the things that has gone through multiple iterations in my own life is my master Grocery Shopping list. I thought you might like to see how the same basic concept has undergone revisions over time. (I know I always like to see examples where organizing is concerned!)
2003: Getting Started
The earliest master shopping list I have in my files is from 2003. This was compiled in order by aisle for my at-the-time local Wal-Mart, which is (as I’m sure you could guess) where I was doing most of my shopping.
Did you find this post through a Google search for a store-by-aisle list? Take a look at my “what aisles to check” post for help finding those “odd” items.
In 2005, I was still shopping primarily at Wal-Mart, but we’d moved, and our local Wal-Mart had a different layout, so I reworked the list to allow us to “flow through” the new-to-us Store.
I reworked the list again in 2006. Honestly, I don’t remember why. I don’t recall for certain what precipitated this — perhaps I just hadn’t gotten it quite right when I made the list for the new store — but it wasn’t accurate anymore, so I reworked it again.
By 2009, we were still shopping primarily at Wal-Mart, but we’d moved again, and yet again, our local store had a different layout. We were also up to two children from one, so our purchasing needs had shifted a bit.
2014: Branching Out
Up to this point, the list has been fairly stable. A few things get rotated on or off, but for the most part only the order changes. But I don’t like our local Wal-Mart: the parking lot, in particular, is a real headache to navigate, and I just don’t like to go there. Add two more children and a significant increase in my chronic illness, and our purchasing habits were getting kind of crazy.
I’d started to do more online shopping. I’d moved away from Wal-Mart. And we’d gotten a couple of new grocery shopping options in town. All of this led to our shopping being much more spread out…and a lot more in flux. So I created a new list — sort of. The one I have here was never put into a fully “final” format. My file is even labeled “working,” and you’ll see a lot of question marks here, because I wasn’t settled on how to do things.
Because there are so many more stores on here, the list is now a front and a back. (I’ve censored the name of one store for the sake of not making our location too obvious. In case you were wondering if there’s something wrong with the picture.)
2017: Settling In
By 2017, we’d settled into a bit of a routine. Our primary shopping was done at Martin’s and Aldi, and supplemented with Amazon and Vitacost orders. (For coupon shoppers: Martin’s is our “coupon” store and Aldi is [mostly] our “staples” store.) So these are what I have on the list. Once again, this is two-sided.
2021: Enter Today
There have been a lot of changes in our life. Our kids are growing up. The oldest — a baby at the time the first list was made — is now an adult (living with us). We have another teenager, too. My health has continued to be rough…and my husband had a lot of health challenges last year.
Put all that together, and we have changes in a lot of areas related to grocery shopping. My kids have taken on a lot of the cooking. The quality of food we’re eating has (unfortunately) declined, both because the kids aren’t willing to put as much effort into meal preparation as I did, and because certain older members of my household request certain junkier options. (This is real life, people.) We’re buying diapers because there isn’t enough energy to go around in our household to launder diapers. (Well, the littlest ones have plenty of energy! lol But they aren’t doing laundry.)
The bulk of our shopping is at Aldi (via Instacart), Martin’s (for pickup, when possible), and Amazon, but the small percentage that’s left is kind of scattered — and since I can also be scattered, and we have multiple people feeding into the grocery list, I needed a way to ensure I don’t forget to order things.
2021, continued: How We Currently Operate
We shop for four weeks at a time, and here’s how that works for us: each of the kids who is assigned a weekly night, or nights, to cook, prepares a menu and brings me a grocery list of whatever they need for “their” meals, plus the occasional special request (e.g. my 18-year-old usually asks for bagels).
Right now, our kids are 18, 13, 10, nearly 8, and 3. The 18-year-old and 13-year-old each cook twice a week. The 10-year-old cooks once (with guidance from an older sibling). The 8-year-old has just (at his request) adopted a night of his own, as well. (This is why we have some less-than-optimal foods in our rotation. Even the young ones can heat up frozen burritos. Now if they’d just make frozen burritos with whole-grain tortillas…)
I then enter these items online to create our Instacart and Martin’s orders, adding staples, the things we eat for breakfast, lunch, etc. and place the orders. Aldi’s comes right to our house (yay!) and my husband or our oldest go pick up the Martin’s order at the appropriate time. (They don’t deliver here.)
We have certain things set up on Amazon through Subscribe & Save, particularly:
- diapers (If you use Subscribe & Save and buy things like diapers, be sure to sign up for Amazon Family for extra savings!)
- feminine products
- toilet paper
- hand and dish soap refills
- brown rice
- whole grain pasta (This has become increasingly difficult to find at our local stores from reasonably-priced brands.)
- olive oil & coconut oil (& ghee, if and when we’re using it; we don’t use it all the time)
- maple syrup
- Keurig cups (We don’t drink coffee, but we like hot chocolate)
(You can find some of the specific items we order here.)
The scheduling sometimes needs to be shuffled around, though, and things can go out of stock (especially this last year — it’s been tricky to keep up with), so I also log into our Subscribe & Save area and make adjustments as needed.
And, of course, address any of those “oddball” items that we buy from specific sources (e.g. we buy Prefense hand sanitizer refills, which we have to get directly from the company’s website).
All that will come into play when you see our current list setup. (It’s new, so time will tell how well this works and if it needs still more tweaking.)
2021: The List
What you see in parentheses is second- (or third-)choice sources for certain items. For example, we prefer to get yogurt from Martin’s because we like the flavor of Stonyfield better than the Aldi brand, but if it’s out of stock at Martin’s (which happens a lot), then we need to buy it from Aldi. I prefer to buy Kirk’s castile soap from Vitacost because it’s cheaper, but if I don’t need anything from them except soap, I may be better off buying it from Amazon.
As you can see, there’s a lot of this type of shuffling that’s been necessary lately, which makes this list…interesting. Because there are so many of them, I’ve opted to gray them out to make the list easier to read. And it spills over onto a second page, but in most cases the second page probably doesn’t need to be printed — just looked at to make sure I’m not forgetting these things.
Oh, and one final note: I’ve kept our aisle-by-aisle list for the local Martin’s store because when someone does have to make an actual trip there, it’s helpful for them to know what order they’ll find things in, even if it isn’t usually a “full” grocery trip.
Do you have questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment!
This post first appeared on Titus 2 Homemaker - Hope And Help For The Domestic, please read the originial post: here