Method to my Madness

I’ll admit it – I have a certain way I put my grocery list together. Doesn’t everyone? 

Here’s a picture of my unfinished list for this coming week. 

Nick probably thinks I’m crazy for putting this much thought into my list, but I’m so used to it now that it’s just second nature. 


The bottom of the list (under the line) are things on special that week I might be interested in or ones I need to remember to get because they are on sale(usually at Kroger). 

Above the line is where I put everything that we need for the week, and I write those down in certain “sections” depending on what they are. I also have a list on the side of the fridge where we write things down during the week as we run out – otherwise, I would never remember some things. 

For example, we have the following sections:

– Top left: dairy and eggs

– Top middle: bread, juice, wraps, deli items, etc would go here

– Top right: frozen section, usually veggies, veggie burgers, frozen fruit, etc

– Middle left: canned items

– Middle…middle: spices, grains and pastas, random stuff like popcorn, Nick’s cereal/chips/crackers he wants for the week

– Middle Right: produce

– Bottom: meat products, non-food items we need like tp, papertowels, shampoo, etc 

To make it even more user friendly (or user friendly for me), I also list the meals I’m planning for the week on the back of this same sheet of paper. This keeps me on track during the week, or at least lets me know what the plans are so I know what I have on hand if plans change. I can also look at the meals while shopping to make sure I get everything I need, in case I did forget to write something down on the actual list.  I keep this meal list in my planner for the week so I can consult it at any time.


Crazy? Maybe. Useful? Definitely.  

What can I say? I like lists. I like being able to cross things off my list. Then I like making lists of the lists I’ve crossed off  and crossing them off there, too.  :) 

I usually go through the grocery store the same way, too – start in produce and end in dairy/frozen section so the cold stuff isn’t sitting in the cart for a long time.

I also try to put things on the food moving sidewalk in similar groups so the cashiers/baggers don’t have to try to find all my boxed, canned, or cold stuff and put them together themselves.


How do you make your list? Do have certain grocery “traditions” or methods you do every time you shop?


  1. My lists look quite similar to yours – Joe refuses to even attempt list making because he doesn’t want to mess up my system.

    However, he’s the one in charge of lining things up together on the conveyor belt thingy – most baggers are terrible at grouping things together!

  2. Wow!! I am impressed!

    My list is just one long list of things. I have tried to be more organized about it and never end up that way. But I do group my things together the way I want them bagged.

  3. This is a really cute method. I’m shocked that strawberries are so cheap where you live!

  4. I usually jot down the things I want/need. Then organize those items by aisle. I start in produce and end in dairy too!

    There is always a method to a woman’s madness!!!

  5. I carry a journal in my purse where I label and date my grocery store trips!! I’m a little anal retentive!! I also shop the specials at Harris Teeter, Kroger and Giant. Hey, I’m a poor grad student!!

  6. I like the way yours is set up! I just jot down whatever comes to mind. Sometimes if I’ve looked at the flyers I’ll write down which store to get it from.

    I am a dork and love grocery shopping so I can easily spend at least an hour. I tend to start at whatever section is at the right of the store, unless it’s the frozen section. I usually go up and down most aisles and save dairy and the frozen section for last.

    I’m also very particular about how my food is bagged and will put frozen stuff first, then other perishables, meat is separated from produce, then light boxed or bagged items and then heavy items last.

  7. I make a long list throughout the week, then add in stuff once I see the sale circular. Then I organize it into a list by where things are in the store. I start at the back in the dairy and work my way to the produce in the front. I put the frozen and heavy items on the belt first and save produce and bread for last.

  8. I make a grocery list, and then also make quick remarks as to what is on sale. I am pretty repetitive though, and usually get the same things typically and then wander to see which fruits are on special. =D

  9. I’m with you on this! I am very organized. I make all kinds of lists, I keep things tiny and neat around me or else I go nuts and I have certain ways of going about certain things. My grocery shopping lists aren’t all that complex but I do write different lists for different stores and I write certain things in brackets if it’s something I only maybe want to get but I don’t want to forget to check it. I also love going through the commercials we get in the mail from the grocery stores each week to check out what is on sale/special.

  10. i love love love your list! lists and organization make me so happy and make life so much easier :-)

  11. Now that is impressive grocery planning! I used to make my grocery list by “department” – dairy, produce, etc., but lately I just keep a running list of foods in random order.

  12. Love it! You and I may have been separated at birth!

    I plan my list/menu based on the sale papers. If pork loin is on sale, I’ll definitely have that one the list.

    However, I do deviate from the sale paper when I can get two (or three) meals out of an ingredient. Take my flank steak, which is NEVER on sale by me!

    I had that Saturday night, and I am morphing that into beef stroganoff for dinner tonight – all I needed to do was add mushrooms and egg noodles, so I can justify the $13.00 pricetag for 2 pounds of meat, when I can get two meals out of it (and possibly a leftover lunch for me!).

    And I end up saving tons of money in the process instead of throwing things in a basket, getting home and THEN figuring out what to make!

    I only spent $53.00 at the store this weekend too! :D

  13. I love lists! I always go through our flyer and pick out stuff on sale and then meal plan, although these past 2 weeks I’m trying to get rid of stuff before vacation so I’m using up everything we have and buying things as I decide what to make with them.

  14. that’s a pretty impressive lol. i bet it’s actually really helpful at the store and you probably save some money too!

  15. Maybe I’m dense… but i dont get it! I’m super disorganized though, and kind of freak out at uber-organization!

  16. I love your list! I love lists too. I set mine up pretty similiar to this. I really like the idea of having a list of the weekly dinners on the back. I think I will start doing that now! Thanks.

    • Thanks for the note Marisa! the meal ideas on the back is really helpful to me sometimes – I’ll see something on the list and think “do I actually need that?” – it’s nice to just turn over the paper and make sure :)

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