This isn’t really my typical type of blog content, but this little “technique” is making my life a tiny bit easier these days, and I thought some of you fellow busy ladies might be able to use it to do the same! Basically, I’ve been using the “Lists” section on my Simplified Planner app (which is basically the same thing as the iPhone’s standard “Reminders” tool) to keep a running grocery list and track what I’m making for dinner every week (because no matter how many times I buy groceries and cook meals, we keep running out of food and needing to eat again. It’s crazy! ;))
So, here’s the gist…
I love lists. I keep them for every.thing. I especially love keeping them on my iPhone because paper doesn’t get crumpled up in my purse, the list is (almost) always on me, and changing/moving/deleting things is easy and neat (neatness is entirely too important to me when it comes to these kinds of things).
I initially started keeping my grocery list on my phone just because of the above reasons, but then I discovered a bonus “efficiency” feature: When I check off an item on my Grocery List, rather than being completely deleted, it is simply moved down below the pink line. SO, I go to the grocery store, check off all the items on my list (which prompts a really cute little congratulatory message on the Simplified App, btw), and then don’t think about it again until I (inevitably) run out of something again in a day or two. When that happens, I simply UNCHECK that item from my grocery list, and it is moved back up to the active section. It takes one second, doesn’t require a hunt for pen and paper, and won’t be lost between now and when I actually get to the store a few days later.
The idea isn’t novel or anything, but I kind-of love it. After a few weeks of using this technique, I’ve created a pretty extensive “master list” for grocery shopping that I can also just scroll through before my weekly trip to make sure I haven’t forgotten any of our staples. And, on the off chance that I do need something not already on there, it just takes a hot second to add that on to the bottom of the list. #doneanddone
The other thing I’ve been doing with this same feature is keeping a running list of “go to” meals. I’m honestly not a great cook (like, at all), so I’ve decided that sticking to simple meals that I can make quickly and know my family will eat is most important right now. (I don’t have the time or the motivation after being at work all day to try some fancy new recipe with a million ingredients.) The problem, however, is that my mind usually goes completely blank on what exactly these meals are when I sit down to plan for the week (or – more often than I’m proud of – when I think about it for the first time at 5PM), so we end up eating the same bland chicken and rice dish every week for months on end. (Anyone else?!?) List to the rescue!
My “Go To Meals” list has about 15 meals that I feel pretty good about and know I can either throw in the crockpot before work or whip up in less than 30 minutes after. THEN, when I make one of them, I cross it off and apply the same technique as the Grocery List. It is saved below the line to re-use but only after I cook some of the other ones on the list too. Assuming that I cook three nights a week (which is average), that’s almost 5 weeks without repeating a meal. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about tacos – which are an obvious exception to the “no repeats” rule.) And, none of the meals stress me out! It’s working great so far.
Anyway, nothing fancy, just a chicken-with-her-head-cut-off mama trying to make life the tiniest bit simpler. I hope these ideas helped someone today!!
Do you have another grocery list or meal planning tip that works for you ? If so, I’d love to hear them!
See you tomorrow,
Is the name of the app The Simplified Planner app? I can’t seem to find it in the Apple App Store?
Yes. It’s the Simplified Planner app, but when I looked closely it seems like Emily Ley has taken it down for a bit to do some revisions etc. Hopefully it will be back up soon. I’m sorry!!
Spinning Cook says
This is great Elizabeth! I keep a lot of lists using the standard iPhone Reminders app and it’s so liberating to be able to just tell Siri “Add galvanized nails to my Home Depot list” and be done. Your approach to unchecking and rechecking those recurring needs is very smart; I hadn’t thought of that. I do have my own meal planning app called Spinning Meals, and we designed the grocery list to allow designating “Always Shop For” items so that milk and eggs. But I love the idea of letting that develop naturally through unchecking what you’ve recently marked off. A really smart app could learn your patterns and do that automatically!
I loved this post! Different from your regulars but a welcomed change. I enjoy reading how other mamas “do life.”
I would love to know some more of your go-to meals! I’m pretty impressed that you have 15 you are comfortable with. I really struggle in this area so I really appreciate all the tips!