Six Steps For Smooth Shopping

Do you enjoy grocery shopping? It’s not my favorite thing, but as Moms we get used to it whether we like it or not. Maybe your one of those people who orders your groceries online and just drives to pick them up. If that’s you, read no further. This is for those of us who still would rather do our own in person shopping. Here’s a number of things that help make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

1) Shop as early in the day as possible. There’s less shoppers. The store is better stocked. You have more energy. And in the Summer, it’s not as hot to be in town. Maybe I’m a bit odd but I detest shopping in the hottest part of the day! It takes an hour in the store; you get out to load the groceries and the car is just beatin’ hot, my energy levels are nearly depleted, the children are cranky and I’m fast getting there myself. I find it much more manageable to go in the morning because not only are you shopping for a whole cart of groceries, there’s the loading up, the unloading and the putting away once you get home. If I’m tired before I start out I will certainly be out of steam before the groceries are put away! It takes time, but I also like to wash and prep some of my produce items right away, before refrigerating them. Then their ready for eating/making salad at a moment’s grab.

Neither do I recommend shopping on Friday or Saturday. Those are the busiest days for most people to do their shopping, and I prefer not being one of them. It simply adds to the stress of shopping when the aisles are clogged with humans and their carts! There are times I need to pick up a few things on those days but if at all possible I do my main shopping on another day of the week.

2) Organize your list according to the stores layout. You know your most frequented grocery store quite well. Ahead of time, set up your list as to what aisles/section you’ll be in first as you walk into the store. This saves definite steps, but I still find myself retracing now and then, which always distresses me considerably. I shop most often at Walmart or Aldi. For Walmart, this is how my list runs. I enter the produce section first; therefore all my fruits and vegetables are written on the top left hand part of my sheet of paper. Items like Mayo, salad dressings and vinegar are written a bit further down the list, the baking items further down, and dairy items at the bottom because they’re at the back of the store. Frozen items are at the top right hand corner. I get those last, but don’t want them forgotten way down at the bottom of the list.

Fill in anything as best you can, as you think of your store’s layout. You may need to reorganize your grocery list just before you go shopping, rather than taking the list that has everything jotted down in order of remembering it. Is this making sense or confusing you more? By the way, forget long, thin note pads for grocery lists. Unless, perhaps, your shopping for a one person household! I have a big, spiral tablet that flips open at the top. It gives me ample space, plus, I have something hard to write on as I shop. It’s of utmost importance to cross off each item as I place it in my cart. If I only have a sheet of paper, I’m like trying to hold my paper on the cart handle, scribbling out my purchases…..It just doesn’t work well!

Example of how my list is laid out

3) Write non-household items at a different spot on your list. I like being able to see at a glance what I need that may be in the Health and Beauty section or clothing etc. Then I can target those items first or last, whichever works out most conveniently. It also helps eliminate the wasted steps of being in the furthest section of the store from where the next item on your list is located.

4) Take coolers along to keep your perishable items cold. If you live ten minutes from your favorite store, this would be nonsense. That’s not the case for me. Besides keeping things chill, I also like how coolers help keep things organized! When you get home, you already know where all those refrigerator items are, and you can get those purchases put away immediately. I really really like to have coolers along for when I shop at Aldi! I still use my own bags there but sometimes I’ll just go straight out to the vehicle and bag/load everything right there. Cold items stack better if there not already bagged. And you can easily see what’s what when your ready to transfer everything to your refrigerator. Using coolers also offers stability to the congregation of back sliding groceries. Explanation- I despise having groceries sliding hither and yon in the back of our Yukon as I brake and make turns driving around town! Think rolling watermelon. With these heavy coolers, you can place them in front of the other bags and make a wall so you don’t have that “backsliding” going on.

5) Don’t rush through the store, even though you may be in a hurry. Several reasons here. If I’m threatening the speed limit of indoor shopping, I’m shopping too fast! Sometimes I need to force myself to just slow down! Quite likely I’ll roar right past an item I needed, or then miss something I would have noticed if I was taking a bit more time. Also, people will be much more likely to stop us to ask a question about our dress or faith if they sense an unhurried spirit in us. It also helps me to remember to reach out to others where I can, if I’m not zooming around.

6) Be courteous and wear a smile. To be honest, there’s times I’m shopping and feel grouchy. I force myself to still smile and act pleasant. Sometimes I feel a little better by the time I’m finished, because I acted cheerful, even though I didn’t feel like it. We are Christ’s witnesses and we ought to portray His Spirit to the world around us. Also, there’s plenty of rude people already and if we are followers of Christ, we ought to act like it. Using “excuse me,” “pardon me,” or “Thank you,” freely. It does take patience when there’s an elderly person on their scooter, stopped exactly where we need that canister of oatmeal. Instead of stewing, we can offer to reach something for them if they need help. And hello, someday we may be the old lady on the scooter. It also takes patience when the check out lines are full. But it’s considerate to let someone else with only a few items go ahead of you, when you have a bulging cart. I like to do that frequently because I simply enjoy making someone else’s day just a wee bit better. And sometimes, the same favor is returned to me when I’m the one with five items! I always appreciate that too. Not saying you have to keep doing that all day or you’d never get home! But remember to practice the Golden Rule.

One thought on “Six Steps For Smooth Shopping

  1. Love your ideas! If you ever want my “saved on the computer” Aldi grocery list, I will gladly share it! I print out a copy. Use pencil to check the items I need. Erase & reuse the list until it’s time to print out a new list. This has been my time-saver for YEARS of grocerying!!

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