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Refine your Grocery Game

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

Refining your grocery list-making skills can really simplify your life if you make a few adjustments to your process. It may be habit just to jot down a quick list before you fly out the door, but there is a better way to plan the food week ahead. I use the following tips to simplify my life.


Have a thought catcher handy

A small change I made a while back really upped my grocery game. I added a magnetic white board to my fridge. My handy white board is equipped with a marker that attaches right to it so that I always have what I need handy for when I realize we are running low on something. I just jot it down on the fridge as it comes to me.


Use the "One on Hand" system

Have you ever run out of something important at home before you could replenish it? Something like toothpaste or toilet paper? Or, dare I say, coffee? It's a terrible feeling. Then, you have to rush out and waste a trip on that one item because of the urgency of the need or maybe you don't have time because you have to go to work and then you forget on your way home. Never again.


If you use the "One on Hand" system, you can avoid all that fuss. This system requires that you make sure you always have a backup for the important stuff. This means, when you realize you are down to one tube of toothpaste, it goes on the list. Did we just open the last can of coffee? Put it on the list. Are we down to one can of cooking spray? Add it to the list. With items that cannot afford to get down to one item, like toilet paper, give yourself a minimum amount and stick to it. When you get down to four rolls, put it on the list! This system can easily apply to small businesses with office supplies, marketing inventory or anything that you need to keep stocked.


In order for this system to work, you must keep your spaces organized and everything must be visible at a glance so that it is easy to tell when it is time to add it to the list. This part is non-negotiable for success.


Have a master list of meals

Something I highly recommend doing is keeping a master list of your regular meals and ones you want to remember to make. This list should contain your regular go-to meals and your saved recipes that you would like to try someday.


By referring to this list each time you finalize your grocery list, it forces you to remember that one thing you always forget for that one recipe and ensures that you have a plan of attack for your meals for the week. This also prevents you from buying a bunch of items that end up going to waste.


Keep a recipe journal

One of my favorite kitchen items is my recipe journal. Before I got this item, I used to save recipes on Pinterest, bookmark them on my computer and rip out magazine pages. I would have to look several different places to find a recipe and sometimes just gave up after searching. Finally, I decided to streamline this process and bought a recipe journal that now holds all my favorite recipes.


Now, when I find a recipe I like, I make sure I write it down in this journal so that I can always find it with ease. With a recipe journal, you can easily find a recipe you want to make and search the ingredients list before you finalize that grocery list. You can also organize this journal however you want so that when the time comes you can search chicken recipes or just desserts or what have you. I recommend only putting recipes that you have tried and know you want to make again before adding it to your journal. This way you are not sifting through tons of recipes, some of which you did not care for in the end.


Categorize Your List by Location of the Items

When it's time to make your final list for the store, write your items down in columns that correlate to different sections of the store. I usually use 4 columns: produce, dairy/frozen, meat, everything else (middle aisles). Create categories that work for your list and the things you buy most often, so you don't have to walk the length of the grocery store if you missed something in produce that you find later down the list.


Making a habit out of this overall process before you leave the house to go shopping also ensures that you won't forget the list. How many times have you forgotten that list that you sat down and took the time to write? By the time you remember, chances are you have driven too far to warrant going back for it. That's the worst. By making the process a little more methodical, you'll save on waste and you'll save time in the end since you won't be running back to the store later.


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