I am a list maker: To Do lists, Remember lists, Birthday Gift lists, Project Ideas lists, Must Read lists. They all find their way to my trusty yellow-lined pad of paper.
I am a list maker because I like crossing things off my lists. I like doing this so much that I will often add things to my list after doing them just so I can cross them off. I don’t think I’m alone in this practice (and I’m pretty sure I get it from my mom). I also feel more in-control when I have lists: there is enough I have to keep in my head, I don’t want “make dentist appointment” to have to be one of those things.
My own weekly menus and grocery lists have evolved considerably since we started (a) grocery shopping with three kids in tow and (b) making lunches (and snacks) for all three during the week. While food lists hastily scribbled on the back of envelopes used to work, I found that I spent a lot of time writing down things that we needed every. single. week. or forgetting things that weren’t necessarily part of the week’s menu but that I still wanted to have on hand (like nuts or dried fruit).
So, I simplified my shopping list by creating a list of those every.single.day items and ordering them according to how we move through the grocery store. (Can you say neurotic?) As we plan meals and search through cupboards before each shop, I can simply circle what’s needed and make notes where items are missing. (For my own reference, I also have a list of the Environmental Working Group‘s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen so I can quickly remind myself which fruits and veggies I should favor as organic and which ones I can go conventional and save money.)
Will this same my time or money or energy (from chasing the kids around the store while Tim and I search for what we want on the shelf)? I can’t say for sure. But I can say that I feel a lot more in control, and right now that’s enough.