How to Organize Your Grocery List to Save Time at the Store


Going to the grocery store each week can be tiring and frustrating.

Weekly (twice-weekly? thrice-weekly?) trips to the grocery store are full of hassles and difficulties, and if you're anything like me, just the thought of going fills me with dread.

First, you have to find a spot in the always-crowded parking lot, then you spend precious time locating the coconut oil, then you pray that the exact item that you want is in-stock and on sale, and then finally the trip ends at the check-out line, where you're desperately hoping that the person in front of you isn’t purchasing an item which doesn’t have a price tag on it.

We've all been there while the manager runs back for that price-check while the check out light keeps blinking, slowly driving you to insanity...(you know what I'm talking about).

Then there's the extra layer of grocery shopping: taking kids with you! This involves everything I just listed PLUS making sure your babes don’t run away OR sneakily add 25 boxes of Fruit Gushers (remember these? Do they still sell them? Also they were so good) into your cart.



Buying food each week is an arduous and time-consuming task, to say the least.

In fact, the average American grocery shopper spends 43 minutes per trip to the grocery store, and goes to the grocery store 1.6 times per week. That’s a total of 68.8 minutes each week, and 60 hours per year of time spent at the grocery store!

Reducing that time by just ten minutes each week would decrease your time at the store by 25% every year. Otherwise stated, that means spending 25% less time telling your kids to stop staring at the lady next to your cart.

Thankfully, there is hope! There are several ways to minimize your time at the grocery store so that you have more time for the things you WANT to be doing. 

One of best ways for reducing your time spent at the grocery store is by following an organized, pre-planned grocery list.

In fact, being strategic with your grocery lists can greatly reduce the time you spend at the store. Not to mention, having a well-structured weekly trip to the store can significantly reduce your stress because you’ll be well-equipped with a solid plan, and you and your family will know what to expect on their trip.

Having an organized and efficient grocery shopping trip comes with one other big perk: a routine! If you’re someone with children, having a routine can often be comforting to your kids as they know what to expect, and it’ll keep them from running around and reaching for things that they know they shouldn’t be having.

Follow this guide to make an epic, ultra-organized, and super-efficient grocery list tips that will both reduce your number of trips and to get yourself in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible.

And if your friends make fun of you, go with them on their next grocery store run and time them. Bust out that stopwatch and compare their numbers to yours (kidding, but not really). They'll come around :) 

1. Keep a running grocery list somewhere convenient, like your fridge.

As you run out of items and ingredients, continually update your grocery list at that moment when you are low on the item. This will reduce your time preparing for your weekly trip on the day that you go because you won’t have to think of everything you need before you go, or at the store.

It also ensures that you won’t forget any items, and you won’t have to make an unnecessary trip later that week just to stand in the express check-out line for that one item! 

2. Color-code with a highlighter or numerically code your running grocery list by perishable and non-perishable items.

When you color-code or numerically organize your list by perishable and non-perishable items, the next organization step prior to your trip to the store will go much more quickly.

If you prefer not to highlight your list with different colors, number each item differently. For example, number perishables with a parenthesis, i.e. “1)”, and non-perishables with a period, i.e. “2.”. I also like to highlight ice-cream with a third color, or an asterisk.

3. Re-arrange your grocery list before your grocery shopping trip.

Before your weekly trip, make a second list (based on your first one) that removes the numbers and re-arranges non-perishable items first and perishable items second, and frozen foods can either be last or with the perishables. It depends on what they are – I usually like to buy my ice-cream last.

Head to the store, and start with the non-perishable foods in the aisles closest to the check-out lines and move to those that are farthest from the check-out lines. Then, head to the perishables farthest from the check-out line and work your way around the outer parts of the store, ending at the perishable items closest to the check-out line.

If you’re worried about certain frozen foods, like ice-cream, melting, grab that last.

In this way, you’re accomplishing two things at once: keeping boxed, non-perishables at the bottom of your cart and the more fragile perishables and frozen foods on top. You’re also starting and ending near the check-out lines, which saves time (every little bit counts!)

4. While at the store, number each item on your list according to the aisles where you find them.

Then, save this running list in a notebook or a phone-based list app, and use it as a reference to number and arrange your list by aisle for the following week’s trip.

5. On your next trip, use your pre-made numbered list to organize your items by aisle.

You’ll know exactly which items you need from which aisles, and you can even arrange your list by aisles that are closest to the check-out lines and end with items farthest away.

Eventually, you’ll have all of the location of the items memorized and your trips will go incredibly fast. Even better, you’ll have an easy-to-follow grocery list for your kids, which allows them to easily help you and check off items as you go. They might even enjoy being helpful :)

As a bonus, an easy-to-follow list like this one makes shopping super easy for anyone - so be sure to send your partner and your grown up kids to buy the family food too!


Grocery list, grocery shopping list, organize grocery store shopping list


Pro-tip: don’t deviate too much from your list! Staying focused on only the items you need will save money and time, as well as helping you and your family to establish that structured routine.

How do you all organize your grocery shopping lists? Have you tried this system, does it work for you? Let me know in the comments!

Good luck and happy shopping!! Don't forget to join our mailing list for a review of our weekly posts, life-hacking tips, and discounts on our Artly Co. line of products.




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