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organize with shopping lists

Ideas for Organized Holiday Shopping

For years my shopping lists looked like a mind map.  The items I needed started as an organized straight line, but as family members kept asking me to add products to my list, my line turned into a circle. Eventually, my entire shopping list needed to look like a wheel that needed to be rotated to be read. 

Get Organized with Holiday Shopping Lists

organize with shopping lists

My disorganized list led me to forget to buy essential ingredients for my cooking and baking. There are different approaches to organizing a shopping list.

Remember to Put Everything On Your List

Holidays aren’t the only time it’s important to be organized. Creating and maintaining a shopping list can save you time and money any time of the year. The tips below can be used to keep you orgainzed year round.

  • Always keep a way to create a list handy for those moments when you say, “Oh, I’ll remember that item.” We know that chances are that you won’t; therefore, it is best to write things down.
  • If you like to write, keep a lined pad of paper in your kitchen, by your bed, in your recreational area or home office, and anywhere else where you spend lots of time.
  • Prefer technology over paper? Download a list app like Remember the Milk to your phone. Or, create an electronic spreadsheet you can keep on your phone.
  • Create a catalog of all the items you buy for your house that includes all household supplies, bathroom supplies, seasonal supplies, home office supplies, etc. Add the necessary Holiday food items to this list.
  • After gathering your notes from around the house and completing your inventory list, enter this information on your spreadsheet in your list app. Below is an example of a worksheet you can use. It takes a few minutes to set up but it’s worth it because you save time in the long run by being more organized.
  • Another way to make lists (if you shop at the same store often) is to create this list with the column headers being the aisles in the supermarket. If you wish, you can add columns for different types of stores such as a wholesale buying warehouse, Butcher, Hardware store, etc.
  • Pro tip: When trying to recreate aisles for your shopping list from a large store like Costco, take pictures of aisles the next time you go shopping. You can use the pics to remind yourself where everything can be found.

How to Create an Easy Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are data laid out in a table form. They have columns and rows. If you do not know how to work with electronic worksheets, you can create this layout on paper in landscape orientation. Have a ruler on hand.

  • On the computer, use a spreadsheet program and create two columns for every category you want to list.
  • Use one column to list the quantity of the item, and the other column contains the category of the item.
  • In the spreadsheet display below, on the right, there is a column for non-food supplies, such as cleaning and household needed items.
  • Begin by creating column headers, as shown below.
  • Always keep a master ‘template’ of column headers for future use.
  • Start preparing Holiday shopping lists by viewing your Holiday list from the prior year.
  • Add or delete items as needed to your template.
  • To keep the original template intact, you can copy and paste to create a second worksheet and use the second worksheet for your current shopping needs.
  • Print out the shopping worksheet (and if you like gridlines, choose this option before printing.
Quantity Type of Product
(fruit, vegetable, household items, dairy, etc.)
1 steak
2 Apples

Keep a Copy of Your Shopping List in Your Car or on Your Cell Phone

I like Dropbox to store my spreadsheets. A paper copy might be easier to work from for significant shopping. Another place to keep a copy of your shopping list is in your pocketbook (or shrink it down to fit into your wallet). Remember to keep it accessible when you are outside of your house. Mark off each item from your spreadsheet list once it is purchased. 

When in a rush, you can email your completed list to your store if they accept emailed orders, and ask the order department to do the shopping for you.

Happy Holidays!

At OrganizingU4Life, we work with you one-on-one to build customized daily and weekly schedules that fit your life and help you achieve your goals. Give us a call today 516-984-9365 to chat about how we can help you get organized for life.,

Debbie Ginsberg is a Professional Organizer and is the Founder of OrganizeU4Life.com. She teaches organizing and life management skills to the chronically disorganized, which includes the ADHD community. www.OrganizeU4Life.com  Email: Info@OrganizeU4Life.com Call: 516-984-9365

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