Have you ever spent an entire weekend day shopping? Groceries in the morning, the home store and Target in the afternoon, followed by a stop at the mall to get a birthday gift and clothes.
Not only is it exhausting, especially if you have kids in tow, but it takes up so much time. Too much if you ask me.
If this is the situation you find yourself in, then the best way to get some of your time back is consolidating trips so you can get your shopping done in less time.
This works for online shopping too. By getting organized and knowing what you need, you can place fewer orders and save on shipping.
Checklists are Your Friend
The best way to do this is with checklists. You’ll spend less time browsing the aisles. With a checklist, you can walk in and confidently grab exactly what you need and trust that you’re not forgetting anything.
If you just decluttered your house and vowed to keep it neat, this method will help you avoid getting glamoured by junk in the store. You’ll be able to decide what you really need ahead of time. You also won’t buy the wrong thing by mistake and then forget to return it!
With a list, if my husband is going to Home Depot to get a tool he needs then he can check the Home Depot list and see that we need a weird-shaped lightbulb and a new latch to fix the back door.
It’s all those little random things that are no longer forgotten. Since I’m usually at home when I write my lists, I have more information about what I need. If I need foundation, I can reference the color from a previous bottle. For that weird lightbulb, I can write the details about the size and shape.
The Best Checklist App
The best free checklist app I’ve found for this purpose is Todoist, simply because you can share lists. In Todoist these are called Projects, but don’t let the name fool you, they’re basically just lists.
Within each project list you can create sublists. Then you can share this list with your significant other or roommate.
Todoist alerts you when someone you’ve shared a list with checks an item off the list. No more bringing home doubles or asking “hey did you get that thing we needed?”
Todoist also has a premium feature that will remind you to complete a task when you’re near a certain location. In other words, if you keep forgetting that you have a Target list, then you can have an item on your list to remind you once you get to Target. Cool right?
How to Create and Share a List in Todoist
To create a new list in Todoist, click on the plus sign next to the Projects header.
To create a sublist, hover your mouse next to the name of the sub-list and an icon with six dots will appear. Click the dots icon and drag the sub-list under the main list, slightly to the right.
To share a list in Todoist, click on the person icon next to the name of the list. In the popup box, enter the person’s email.
To share an individual task, you first need to share the list. Then you’ll see the person icon when you create a task. Click on the person icon and select a name from the dropdown and that person will receive a notification that they have a new task.
Now that you know how to create shared lists, what lists should you create?
Here are some lists that I’ve had for a very long time because I find them useful:
- A General Shopping List – not everything can be neatly categorized by list, so for those tasks I put them in the main list, not in a sib-list
- Lists for Frequently-Visited Stores – Create a list for all the stores you frequent. Grocery stores, gift shops, home stores, craft stores, you get the idea.
- Needs to be Replaced – When clothes, shoes or other things are looking a little ragged, I put them on my list, so I can get them if I happen to find them on sale.
- Wishlist – This is for gifts. When my someone mentions something he wants or needs, I put it on a secret list that I don’t share.
These are my tried and true lists. I also make one for the holidays so I remember to get a gift for everyone.
Maintaining Your Lists
The best way to keep your lists up-to-date is to install Todoist on your phone. When you think of something you need to get, put it on the list right then and there. It only takes a second.
Also review your lists. Do you really need something? Or did you just think you needed it in the moment? Sometimes, I’ll look at the items on my list and see that I don’t really need them anymore.
That’s Only the Beginning
Have you read my blog post on how I shop for all my household goods once a year? That saves me so much time!
I was able to come up with a complete list of the things we regularly buy by viewing the completed tasks in Todoist. Then I kept track of how often I needed to restock items and then calculated how much we would need to get us through the year.
By using checklists in Todoist, I have a much firmer grasp of the things we really need and I spend less time and money shopping.
If you want to spend less time shopping and more time living, check out my Household Essentials Airtable.
Airtable is like a super spreadsheet but neater and easier to use. I use it to write a list of everything we use on a regular basis, track how long it takes us to use it, and it creates a shopping list sorted by store so that I can shop just once a year.
Everything is sorted by category and it includes a place for prices so it will show you how much the whole haul will cost. We save so much time and money shopping this way.