I am not a fan of food shopping; shoe shopping is more my thing. However, it must be done. My food shopping day is Wednesday. I am lucky enough to do it during the week when shelves are restocked from the weekend, kids are in school and the store is not crowded. Most of my clients do their food shopping on a Saturday or Sunday – along with so many others. Like many states, Massachusetts has high end supermarkets where it is a breeze to shop any day of the week and at any time. That is great for a quick pick up item but not for me – I shop the discount supermarket. On the weekend, the discount store is packed with shoppers. My food shopping organizing advice is always the same to my family, friends and clients. Make a list before you leave the house! If you do not need to go down aisle 8 for sugar, why bother? Now that we are in the world of technology, I have my food shopping list on a Google Doc so either myself or my husband can add to it throughout the week from home or office. Along with what to get at the supermarket, I add the aisle number too. Although you might think this is a lot of work – trust me, it saves time. I usually shop each week for the same essentials – fruit, bread, cereal, milk, and yogurt. But for those other items, I write down the aisle number. I love that I can skip aisles that are not necessary. Ask your supermarket if they have an aisle print out. If not, take your camera with you and snap a photo of each aisle name and the contents they list. You will have it handy for next time. Below is a small sample of my food shopping list with aisle numbers.
Do you shop in bulk? My husband and I bulk shop once every two months. Since we are only a family of three, our bulk shopping consists of paper towels, toilet paper, cereal and meat. My mother suggested that we purchase a freezer for our basement and it was great advice! When we shop for meat, we stock it up in the freezer. We are fortunate enough that our big box store carries organic meat, too. I would love to add more essentials to my bulk shopping, however, storage is minimal in my home and really, who wants rolls of paper towels hanging out of their storage closets?
If making an organized list is just too organized, at the very least, purchase a magnetic pad for the refrigerator and jot down items as needed. When you are ready for food shopping, just tear off the sheet and go!
Susan Parziale is a certified Professional Organizer. She is also a mother to 8 year old daughter with Autism. Visit www.susanparziale.com
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2012 Magazine