Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday--Painless Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a chore for me. Grocery shopping with kids is my idea of torture. There, I said it. Since we moved, the commissary is an all-afternoon endurance event, and I just hate it. The long drive with traffic, missing something on the list and having to backtrack six aisles, getting dirty looks because you're going against the flow of traffic, trying to remember if capers are with the pickles or the canned goods... seriously, this is not my idea of a good time. So why am I spending every Sunday afternoon doing something I hate? Brilliant woman that I am, I decided to stop going on Sundays and start going on Mondays. It only took me one week to realize that the day of the week wasn't the entire problem. So I decided to start going every other week. Aha! Now we're getting somewhere!

So obviously, if I'm going to go less often, but still with two kids, I'm going to have to get more organized. I looked at how I make the grocery list to see how I could tweak it. This is the point where I started to feel like a Domestic Goddess.

First, find your local commissary here . Once you've done that, you can learn more about your commissary than you ever thought possible. Did you know you can buy commissary gift certificates? You can even donate them to military families through the Air Force Aid Society, USO or Fisher House Foundation. (I am a huge fan of Fisher House.) If you're not a commissary shopper, see if your store has its floor plan on its website. If it doesn't, the service desk or store manager should be able to get you one.

I clicked on the floor plan, sorted it by aisle and printed it out. Then I opened Word, formatted a landscape page with teeny margins on the top, left and bottom, and 5.6" for the right margin. I listed the things we typically buy, grouped according to what aisle they're on. Some aisles I mostly ignored (diapers, baby food, cigarettes, etc.), and I added some blank lines for other items we might need. The document was three pages long at this point, which was going to be a hassle, so I formatted the document into 3 columns. Voila!

(Click to enlarge)

You're welcome to copy my list if you like, but it's not only specific to the commissary I go to, it's very specific to us. Scott snacks on these energy bars made out of bark and birdseed, for example, and I would forget them every time if he didn't remind me to put it on the list. You may want to live with your list for a couple of shopping trips to see if you need to add more space for snacks or less for picnic items and so forth.

Once you feel comfortable with your list, here's where it gets fun! Print da bugger once, then put it back in your printer the opposite way and print again. Now go to Office Depot and tell them to make 25 copies or so, cut them exactly in half and make a notepad out of them. (Be sure to show them that they'll need to turn half of them rightside up.) And now you're set for two years of bi-monthly grocery trips! Works for me, baby!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer hosts this should check out all the great ideas. I've had my life changed more than once by seeing what works for other moms.


Zen Master said...

This is a wonderful idea! Brillant! I've been trying to think of a way to create a master grocery list but it seemed like such a huge daunting task. Boy do I hate when I have to back track too!

I will definitely be trying this out.

Thanks for sharing!

Mama Nirvana said...


I'm speechless!

You are truly a Goddess of Domesticity.

I had wanted to email you and ask if you have any ideas for recipes for two friends and I who want to get together and make three freezer meals each. Actually two for each of us, and two to give away. So that would be one recipe that we can make big enough to feed four families of six, times two.

Make sense? Any ideas?


Angie said...

You have waaaaaaaaaaay too much time on your hands!! Are you really that bored??? Come back to us!

Joyful Days said...

I have a similar list that I've finally started using again, but I think I like yours better because you have spaces to fill in and I am always writing in the margins.

Great post.



Michelle said...

Great idea! I try to send Jim shopping as much as possible. LOL!