How to make the grocery shop less stressful

kitchen organisation pantry organisation supermarket Sep 14, 2019
An empty shopping trolley sitting in front of a brick wall

Before I started The Ship Shape Shoppe, I had a long, successful and VERY busy marketing communications career. I was the epitome of the Rushing Woman; stressed, forgetful, disorganised and always running at least 10 minutes late. So I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed and busy, I honestly do get it. And I developed a very unique way of clawing back a few precious minutes each week - enter, the 100m dash weekly shop. I swear, not a word of what I am about to share with you is a lie.

Over time I developed a shopping list template that was specific to my local supermarket at the time (shout out to Albany Pak n Save). On my template were my staples - the things I bought every week or at least fairly regularly - so I simply had to write a number next to how many apples, tomatoes, bananas (for example) that I needed.... MASSIVE time saver right there, not having to write those words out every week!

But the real magic happened as we arrived at the supermarket (I dragged Jamie along, he was a crucial part of my strategy). Jamie would push the trolley, and as we arrived I’d command him (referring to The List), “we need 3 onions, 4 apples and a bunch of bananas... see you in the meat!” And then off I’d dash, leaving him to follow my instructions while I loaded my arms with the rest of the fruit and veg we needed. We’d meet in the meat section, I’d dump my finds into the trolley and then shout over my shoulder: “We need sausages and chicken, see you in the deli!” as I whizzed off, once again loading up my arms with the remainder of the weekly meat requirements. We’d zoom around the supermarket like this, dividing and conquering our way through the weekly shop. I shit you not when I tell you that some weeks, we spent longer at the checkout than we did filling up our trolley!!

I remember at the time having a laugh at my own expense at work, humble-bragging about how quickly I could knock off the weekly shop, and someone (yes they were a little bit older and wiser than I was at the time) suggesting that I shouldn’t race through life like this. That perhaps it might be a more pleasant experience and I might discover beautiful new products to try if I slowed down and looked up every now and then. I firmly rejected it at the time, and I still do on some level. I despise the weekly shop - there are literally 100 things I would rather be doing. However, there is absolutely merit in the slow down message, and I’ve chilled out a lot when it comes to the weekly shop (but you better believe that blocking the aisle with your trolley while you chit chat is still going to enrage me, haha).

These days I doubt I’d qualify for the Olympics, should grocery shopping ever be an approved sport (hey, it could happen). I’ve been able to slow down A LOT thanks to far simpler and less stressful organisational and efficiency strategies. Here are 5 things you can try to make your weekly shop a less frantic activity:

  1. Keep a shopping list on the fridge and add things during the week as you run out;

  2. Create zones in the pantry so you can see - at a glance - what you’re running out of, so finishing the grocery list is a breeze;

  3. Keep the pantry well-labelled so it is easy for the rest of your family to find things, and put them away tidily;

  4. Keep the fridge zoned and organised to eliminate food wastage;

  5. Give your reusable shopping bags a home, so you never forget them when you’re heading out the door.

So what about you - could you rival the old me in the 100m supermarket dash? Or do you have some awesome strategies that help you glide through the grocery shop like a glorious gazelle that you’d like to share for others looking for inspiration? If organisation isn’t in your wheelhouse and the weekly shop is a regular source of stress and frustration, check out my services - I’d love to teach you some simple strategies so you too can feel less stressed at home.

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