Monday, September 6, 2010

Grocery list strategies

I truly feel called to be a homemaker, and I do my best to do a good job at it. There are 2 tasks within homemaking, however, that are out to get me.

1. Cleaning the shower

2. Planning meals

Now, I loooove to cook. Really. And I'm pretty good at it. So its a mystery to me why I am stopped in my tracks when it comes time to plan out the next 2 weeks of meals.

The Printed Checklist
Yet, aha! I have found a good, workable solution: I have a template style grocery list to help jog my memory and speed myself along as I write the list. In other words, I have assessed our most-often required grocery items and printed them out in an organized list. It is organized by the sections of our favorite grocery store so that while I'm zooming around the store I have a list that works with me, not against me. (Backtracking in the store uses up a lot of time, trust me, I was a green bride once, way back 3 years ago, ha ha).

A section entitled Meals This Week
And, on the list (see lower right hand corner of photo) I have a space in which I jot down the recipe titles that I have planned on the family menu. So, for example, if we're in produce and my husband asks "Hmm, why are we looking for beets?" instead of drawing a complete blank and having no answer for him, I can simply refer to my notes and tell him. *smile*

It is a helpful guideline for me! It helps me remember things.
The menu is totally not etched in stone - its a guideline for myself as I decide when to cook what, when to defrost what, and how to sort/separate meat into the freezer, and how to align meals so as to put leftovers to good use. And, it helps me remember why on earth those beets are in the vegetable drawer.

Further help with meal planning: clippings, envelope, bulletin board!
I have such a hard time planning meals that I have invented a little system for myself. After the groceries are put away, I take the grocery list and clip off the Meals This Week section. I pin it up on the kitchen bulletin board. When I'm finished with that list, I file it in an envelope which is pinned to the bulletin board in my kitchen. Then, when it is inevitably time to sit down and plan out the upcoming 2 week menu, I refer to the old "Meals This Week" clippings from that envelope to get ideas. That way I'm not reinventing the wheel each time I write a grocery list.

As a new bride I slaved over recipe books, wondering what we'd both like to eat, writing out grocery lists containing very little order (or ordered by each recipe, which was a disaster of a system!), and then sometimes I'd come home and forget which recipe book a planned dish came from, anyway. And why did I buy Swiss chard?

My husband and I departed for our honeymoon trip 1 day after our wedding. He peered into my suitcase with surprise, and noticed several cookbooks that I was taking with me. Always the gentleman, he paused and told me gently:

"Heather? Where we are going, you won't have to cook."

To which I replied: "Oh, I know. I'm just getting ready to do some recipe planning on the plane so that I'll have our first week's menu all planned and the grocery list ready to go when we get home." *smile*

Silently, he nodded and thought this over. And that was all he said about that.

Find a system that floats your boat!
All that being said, this isn't the only way to do things. I like it and it works for me, but I am always on the lookout for other methods that work for other homemakers. I hope you have a great system that serves you well, and I would love to hear all about it.

Anyone have any fabulous plans they'd like to share? Happy homemaking!

Note: Take a little trip over to Raising Homemakers to view a great link-up with lots of other homemaking blogs - you'll find plenty of great homemaking tips and encouragement in this noble calling. :o)


  1. Love your post! I recently wrote a post about menu planning & grocery shopping too!

    Brittany @ The High-Heeled Housewife

  2. Hi Heather ♥ I enjoyed your post on meal planning. I too find it challenging to plan and execute menus, shopping lists etc..., but I have purposed to conquer:) This is the 3rd week I have consistently planned, followed, and posted on my blog our weekly menu ♥ It's a good feeling to be organized and serve my family in this way. One thing I have done that is helpful to me in meal/menu planning is to make a list of the most common meals we eat. I categorize them by type, Potatoes, Pasta, Beans, Rice, Soups, Breakfasts, and so on... under these headings I place all the meals I can think of that go in each category. This gives me something to draw from when I sit down and only have a few minutes to work up a menu and shopping list. I always try to add new recipes to the menu often as well, but this gives me something to draw from when I sit down and only have a few minutes to work up a menu and shopping list. It also helps me prepare balanced meals. Congrats on your new baby ♥ glad I stumbled upon your blog.
    BlEsSiNgS, Kelsey

  3. I clean my shower while I am taking one! It only adds a few minutes and I don't get hot and sweaty! LOL!

    I will spray the cleaner (I use bleach but I cannot have any mold or mildew in the house because of severe allergies in some of my children ) on the wall right before I am about to start it, to give it time to work and then start my shower. Then I get in and clean away...take my shower and its is all sparkley when I get out! I am telling you, it is the best thing for this busy momma to do. I have ten children and homeschool them! (seven at home still, one married, one engaged and one just out on his own!)