Perhaps it’s pride, or maybe just laziness, but nine times out of ten we end up grocery-store bound without a checklist. However, according to surgeon Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, operating without a checklist is inefficient and illogical. “I introduced the checklist in my operating room, and I’ve not gotten through a week without it catching a problem,” Gawande said in an interview. “It has been really eye-opening. You just realize how fundamentally fallible we are.”
Grocery shopping is, by no stretch of the imagination, a surgical procedure, however, we could learn something from Gawande’s advice. Bottom line: we mess up from time to time. A grocery list check list can make it so that nothing slips through the cracks, eliminating one stressor from our lives. While making and completing a checklist may feel like a waste of time to some, it’s extremely helpful and fast, and it allows you to get home from the grocery store with all the necessary ingredients to make a great meal.
Making the Perfect Grocery Store Checklist
While it may sound a bit silly, crafting the perfect, fail-proof checklist takes time and a bit of effort. Now there are plenty of grocery list checklists online that you can customize and print. Whether you’re making a list by hand or you’re customizing one on the web, keep these key factors in mind when making your checklist:
- Size: Do you want an enormous checklist that you won’t lose in a huge purse? Or do you prefer a bite-sized list that you can throw in your pocket? Generally, bigger grocery lists, the ones that don’t fall out of your purse, pocket, car, or cart, are better for shopping purposes. An 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper is ideal for most.
- Font: That cutesy font may look fabulous on the computer screen, but it may not be functional as you’re juggling children, cereal boxes, and a grocery cart, all while trying to read your list. Opt for an easily legible font, preferably in a dark color, like black.
- Grouping and Flow: Consider grouping your items according to grocery store layout, or even order of occurrence within your grocery store. Thinking about the design of your store while making your list could save you some time when wandering the numerous aisles.
- Quantity: Many people don’t include quantity when they’re putting items on their grocery list, but we suggest thinking about the number of each item you need before you step out your door, taking your recipes or meal plans into consideration. Dictating quantity ahead of time could prevent food waste and save you a buck.
- Make it mandatory: Grocery lists don’t work unless they’re enforced. Put your grocery list on the refrigerator or post it up on your front door so that you don’t forget your list before you leave the house.
Your schedule’s probably jam-packed with a million things to do. You can make your life a little less disorganized by arming yourself with a grocery list checklist next time you go shopping for groceries. It will save you time and money at the store, which will make it worth the extra effort.