Sunday Thoughts (the “reverse” grocery list)

What if I told you that I have a little trick that could save you time, money & aggravation, and make mealtime easier too?

Truth be told, it’s not my trick. But I recently read about it and though I was skeptical, I had some time on my hands so I decided to give it a try.

And I’ll admit… there’s something to it.

It’s called a “reverse grocery list.

Now we all know how to make a shopping list. I do most of the grocery shopping in the house, and I find that by using my voice activated “assistant,” keeping a list is easy.

When I think of something or run out of something, I just say “add carrots (or whatever) to the shopping list” and it’s there on my phone when I get to the store.

But when’s the last time you did an actual inventory of what you have on hand? What’s lurking in the freezer, the pantry, the spice rack?

Or let me ask you this. Have you ever picked up, say, garlic powder at the store, only to find out later you already have garlic powder at home?

It’s frustrating. It wastes money. And space. But you don’t really know what you have to work with until you sit down and make this list.

So if you’re up for it, and you have a little time to spare, here’s what you do.

Grab a pen or paper. Or open up the “notes” app on your phone. And get ready to do an inventory.

It may be best to start with pen or paper, and then organize it later. I’m not going to lie, this may take some time. But the goal is to create a list of all the staples, all the spices, all the ingredients you have to work with.

While you’re at it, check things for freshness, expiration dates, and any “doubles” you may not know you have. (How we got 3 jars of turmeric, I have NO idea.)

When you find duplicates, create a special place in your cabinets or pantry where you “shop” first if you think you’ve run out of something.

Now, when you’ve completed this task, the key is to try to keep it updated as you go. Run out of something? Once you replace it, note it on your list.

Want to try a new recipe? Check your list to see what you have on hand. Or even better, if you’re struggling to decide what to have for dinner, check the list first, and then start searching for recipes that make use of what you’ve actually got.

Online recipes make this pretty easy to do.

I’m telling you, the extra legwork in the beginning saves you a lot of frustration in the day-to-day.

It’ll keep things from going bad (because you know what you have and what you need to use). Which’ll save you dollars.

And it’s not a bad idea to clear out some “extras” that you may not use (especially if you’ve loaded up on canned goods) and set them aside for donations. 

There’s a lot of people out there who could use the help. 

Happy organizing, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Rebecca Hunley - April 18, 2021

I find it helps a lot if I put canned goods or spices in alphabet order. But I do have a few spices I use more than others and they stay up front.

Victoria - April 5, 2021

One thing that helps me remember what’s in my stand up freezer is I put a list of everything that’s in the freezer & hang the list on the door. As I use an item I cross it off the list. It has really helped when making a grocery list. I use a clip magnet. Good luck.

Dianne Martin - April 5, 2021

Thanks for today’s list of shopping hints. I have occasionally experienced some of the issues you’ve described.
Therefore, I will now keep my list of frequently used grocery items on my refrigerator door so that I can check off what I need to put on my shopping list.
No more triple duplications in fridge or pantry.
I thank you. My fridge AND my pantry thank you. 😘
D. Martin a pure bred Cajun
Way down So. Louisiana

HEIDI MCCLAFLIN - April 5, 2021

What a great idea whenever I shop I always go to the back of the shelves and look for the stuff with the longest out date as soon as I wake up from my nap this Easter Sunday LOL I am seriously going to find a pad of paper and start making a list I do however wish you had written this about three months ago before I stocked up in case the world came to an end it’s going to make a lot more work this time thank you for the idea

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