It has to be done: the weekly grocery shopping trip. For me, it’s the difference between chaos and order for the entire week.
Here are the steps to follow to get this chore right.
During the week:
Give yourself a place to jot down any menu ideas you have while you’re working during the week. Get a hankering during your staff meeting for your favorite enchiladas? Make a quick note to yourself. This makes menu planning on Friday evening so much easier. I use the “note” feature in Apple’s Mail for this, since I’m pretty much always near a computer.
On Friday evening as you get ready to sit down with a glass of wine:
Step 1: take a quick cruise through the refrigerator and toss anything that’s old. Makes all the difference to do this every week. Who wants to run into moldy old cheese unexpectedly? This should take less than 3 minutes.
Step 2: get your notepad out and get ready to make your shopping list. Also, make a separate sheet with the days of the week listed and ready for this week’s menu.
Step 3: mentally run through your “I need these items every week” list. Jot down those things that you’re running low on. For me, these are things like breakfast cereal, coffee, creamer, etc.
Step 4: Make your weekly dinner menu. I’ll be doing a separate post on ways to make this very easy, but, for now, just know you need a plan for meals for each night, including side dishes.
Step 5: From your menu, list the items you need for those meals. It really helps to make your shopping list coincide with the layout of your grocery store. You probably have the aisles memorized anyway. If not, you will.
Step 6: Shop. Try to stick to shopping at just one store to save time. I also find it useful to “power” through the store, that is, go through as quickly as I can. I don’t have to stop and think because I already have my list. I go through the store in the same order every week and go up and down every aisle, quickly glancing to see if there’s anything I need that I didn’t have on the list. Done right, this shouldn’t take more than 40-45 minutes. Consistency is key here.
Step 7: Once home, immediately put everything away. No leaving a few bags for later. Push yourself to get this done within 20 minutes.
Step 8: Clean and prep some fruits and veggies for easy lunch-making and snacking throughout the week. Prep anything else, such as rotisserie chicken, etc.
That’s it. This bear of a chore can be turned into a kitten with some smart planning. Happy shopping!
A Penelope Classic Post…originally published in 2009, but, alas, still grocery shopping…