Although the logistics of our family aren’t as extensive as those of other families, the grocery list can still be a little tricky for me. For one, when we moved from rural NC to the urban Pacific Northwest, I’ve switched to a weekly grocery routine rather than a monthly routine. And some old habits die hard. For another, we frequently have people over for meals, both planned and impromptu. So, I’m not just planning meals for our five.
That being said, I’m about as great at meal planning as I am in the cleaning department (which basically means I stink in the homemaking department—I just don’t want you to get any false impressions here). It takes a monumental effort for me to be organized in this department. For several years of our marriage, I worked out a monthly meal rotation, rotating the same 4 weekly menus each month. Now, I’m trying to simplify things to roughly a two-week rotation with a few exceptions and variations.
My meals need to be quickly prepared and quickly eaten—our evenings are pretty full. Oh, and one more confession: I cannot make a successful crock pot meal. It either finishes two hours before it’s supposed to or is raw when it’s meal time. I can’t figure it out. The times in the recipe NEVER work. So no “throw it in the crock pot and have a wonderful meal when we get home” solutions for me. Thus, the quickly prepared part and a simple 2 week rotation.
All right. Enough of that. Let’s get on to the grocery list.
If I don’t have a grocery list on the fridge to instantly right down items we’re out of, I guarantee you I’m going to forget it come grocery day. And if I don’t have a standard grocery list with nearly everything we usually purchase already typed up, where I can circle what we need, I’ll totally forget to check half the items we use to see if I need to pick up anything else. In other words, I have no mind.
So here’s my greatest grocery list success:
I made this standard list awhile back, but then, I had a really hard time remembering to print a new list to mark up for each week. (Notice this recurring memory problem.) So, I’ve solved that by laminating my list. It stays on the fridge, always ready to use. I circle or write in the items we need with a wet erase marker. Then, on grocery day, I go through the list and am reminded to check on other items we might need. I add the items for the next week’s menu, and finally, before heading out the door, I make a black and white copy of my laminated list on our copier. My laminated list goes back on the fridge; my copied list goes in my purse, and we’re out the door.
Then, when I get back home, I wipe my list clean except for the items that perhaps did not make it home. (The item was not available at the store or, believe it or not, I still managed to forget to pick it up after all this effort. Believe me, it happens. Often.)
So, there are my secrets. Trust me, I could learn a lot from all of you in this area, so please feel free to enlighten me in the comments section.