I know that grocery shopping can seem like it takes forever, and a lot of us dread going for that reason. So, I want to share with you how to organize your grocery list to save time. I can get in and out of the grocery store pretty quickly, even with a lot of items to buy.
Organize Your Grocery List by Store Aisles
Being organized is a huge part of why I spend less time grocery shopping. When I’m done writing my list, I organize it by store aisles. You can read more about how I make my list in my post, How I Make My Grocery Shopping List. Since I’m already familiar with the grocery store, I know what item is in what aisle. So, I organize my list according to that knowledge.
Since, I already have a system in place that works really well for me, I wanted to help you get a system in place too.
So, on one of my recent grocery shopping trips to Walmart, as I shopped, I wrote down the names of all the grocery store aisles. My son had fun helping me by reading what was on the signs, while I wrote them down. I’m sure we looked rather interesting to people walking by!
Organize Your Grocery List Using Abbreviations
There are two different ways I organize my list, depending on what store I’m shopping at and how big my list is. The first way is for a big list, like my list for Walmart.
My items usually takes up both columns of my shopping list. I divide my list in half with a line down the middle so I have room for everything. Since my list is so big, I don’t want to have to re-write it. I’m all about doing things as quick as possible, with as little effort as possible.
Instead, I just leave the list in the same order I wrote it, and write abbreviations next to the item on the list. The abbreviations are according to what aisle I can find the item in.
For example, if I’m buying bread, to the left of the word “bread,” I’ll write a “br.” Then when I’m in the bread aisle, I’ll scan my list for the “br” and I’ll know which items I need to buy from that aisle. So, it would look like this, “br – bread.”
If I’m purchasing yogurt, I”ll write a “d” to the left of it for dairy. Then when I’m in the dairy aisle, I’ll scan my list for the “d” and will know what to buy. It would look like this, “d – yogurt.”
If you want to know what my real list would look like, mine would actually be more specific depending on who needs the yogurt. If my youngest son needs it, it would look like this, “d – I. yogurt.” The “I” is the first letter of his first name. He likes the kind of yogurt made for kids.
If my older son and I need yogurt, it would look like this, “d – my 7 yogurt.” My oldest son and I like the same kind of yogurt, so to save time I just write “my” yogurt and the amount I need. I know it means it’s for both of us. Then I just buy 2 of each kind, plus 1 extra Greek yogurt for me.
Here’s an example of what my list would look like:
br – bread
d – I. yogurt
d – my 7 yogurt
ch – chex mix
v – bananas
m – pork chops
Organize Your Grocery List In Order
If I’m not buying too many things, or if I’m shopping at a really big store like Costco, I will write my list using the same concept. After I write it, I’ll put it in the order of the store aisles.
So, I would write my list just like I mentioned above, and I’ll label it using the same abbreviations.
Then, I’ll take it one step further, and get another piece of paper and re-write my list according to the order of the store aisles.
I know that in Costco, the bread aisle is first, then meat, then dairy, etc. I’ll look for all the “br” (bread) abbreviations and write them all first.
Then I’ll look for all the “m” (meat) abbreviations and write them next.
I’ll look for the “d” (dairy) abbreviations next and write all those down, etc.
As I write an item down on my new list, I’ll cross it off the old list. I do this to make sure I transfer every item to the new list. I don’t want to forget anything!
Here’s an example of what my new list would look like:
br – bread
br – torta rolls
m – lunchmeat
m – ground turkey
d – milk
d – egg whites
This makes it so much faster to shop at Costco because I just walk through the store, grabbing what I need. It saves me money too because I have a clear purpose and plan when I walk in the store. I rarely deviate from my list. This is a huge deal when shopping at Costco since all of their samples make it really easy to find lots of extra things to throw in your cart. Although, I have to admit, once in awhile if there’s a really yummy healthy snack sample, I will buy it.
A Store Aisle List for You so You Can Organize Your Grocery List
I made a Store Aisle List for you with suggested abbreviations so you can organize your list too. It saves me tons of time when I go grocery shopping, and I’m sure it will save you lots of time too.
I realize not every store is organized in the exact same way, but the basic idea will be the same for all grocery stores. So, this list should help you no matter what store you shop at or where you live.
By the way, you’ll notice by some of the items in the aisle, I mention that I don’t have an abbreviation for it. I don’t buy all of the items in the aisles, so I didn’t make an abbreviation for them. However, I left those items in the list, in case you buy them. I figured you could just come up with your own abbreviation.
If you have any questions about how to do this, please leave a comment and I’ll reply with an answer.
If you know anyone else who would benefit from learning how to organize their grocery list, please share my post with them, or with your audience. Thanks!