You Need a Shopping "Map" for Your Grocery Store
I really dislike moving through a grocery store inefficiently-like when I go up and down every aisle and then realize I still need PB and tuna and go up and down three more aisles and then double back again for sour cream because I always forget that on taco night. But this summer that dislike of inefficiency came to a head, because I'm spending the summer in a place where the grocery stores are the size of football fields rather than my usual small and crowded Brooklyn Trader Joe's. I found myself wandering the Pricechopper from end to end and back again, like a stoned hippie at a Grateful Dead show, overwhelmed with choices and planning out my debut movie about consumer culture and alienation.
So I made a
For example, the first aisle I encounter in my local Pricechopper is produce/bakery/special cheese. So that's the first column in my list: all our usual veggies, fruits, and bread, and then space to write unusual items: The cinnamon rolls that I allow myself only occasionally, mascarpone, etc. I have only a few items in aisles 1, 2, and 3, because those are pet food/wine/personal hygiene and office supplies, and I get those things elsewhere (and I don't have a pet. HOW DO YOU PEOPLE CHOOSE DOG FOOD? THERE ARE TOO MANY OPTIONS, THAT AISLE IS TOO BIG).
I used Excel, but it doesn't matter what you use as long as it has columns and rows. (And if you prefer to keep things digital, you could easily make a version of this in your to-do list app of choice.) This person on Pinterest has designed (designed! She's a designer, and you know how they are)
a PDF of her shopping list
that you can probably adjust for your store, but it might be easier to zip through with a notebook and then type it up. A friend who is hyper-organized
her shopping map for TJ's and uses a dry-erase marker to check off what she needs...but she is the kind of person who knows what she is doing from day to day and will have her laminated sheet with her when she heads to the store. I am the kind of person who is startled every day by the recurring event of "dinner," so I need the redundancy of multiple copies. I anticipate updating it regularly too, so I don't want to be locked in to the whole laminated thing.
So, no more doubling back for sour cream or PB for me. My reward for my newfound efficiency? A 12-pack of cinnamon rolls.