As a mother of three, a full-time teacher, and a newbie entrepreneur who is learning everything about business as she goes, to say my life is busy is a major understatement. Because of how full my plate is, I create very few opportunities for myself to relax; in fact, my current version of self-care is allowing myself to lock the bathroom door while I shower at night just in case one of the kids gets out of bed and tries to disrupt me. Sad, I know, but true.
One other thing I occasionally do for myself is to go food shopping alone. Yes, this may sound absolutely pathetic (even more than the whole locking-myself-in-the-bathroom thing), but heading to the local ShopRite around 8 p.m., popping in my earbuds to listen to my favorite marketing podcast, and giving my body the opportunity to move without the stress of having to awkwardly navigate a cart with a literal Little Tykes car attached to the front through the narrow aisles of the grocery store is very, very pleasant.
Not only do I enjoy the peace of a nighttime grocery shopping trip, but I also enjoy having the additional, childless space in the cart to actually be able to organize the items I am choosing to buy.
Now, before you think I'm crazy, give me a chance to explain why I choose to organize the items in my grocery cart.
Tell me if you've experienced this before: You are self-bagging at the grocery store and suddenly begin quietly panicking at the randomly sized and shaped items that the clerk is tossing down the runner at you because the person who is next in line is staring you down, waiting for you to get everything put away so he can buy his single pack of gum and four-pack of Red Bull. You start stuffing everything you can get your hands onto into the bags, not wanting your fresh loaf of Stroehmanns to land beneath your canned veggies, but it's what you had placed on the conveyer belt first and you just have to get it done. So it happens. Your bread--like many other things along the way-- gets squished, and there's nothing you can do about it. Then, when you get home, you find yourself wasting your time bouncing around from the fridge to the pantry to the kitchen drawers as you are unpacking the contents of each disorganized shopping bag and you end the experience feeling completely drained.
Ok, I am actually laughing out loud as I am typing this, but it's true! C'mon, you know you've been there!
What I've learned after one too many grocery shopping trips gone wrong is that organizing my cart as I go greatly speeds up the bagging process, keeps like-items together, and makes unpacking so much more efficient.
When organizing the grocery items in your shopping cart, create zones by placing like-items with like-items. Just as the aisles of the store are set up with similar items living together, create sections in your cart that keep fruits with fruits, snacks with snacks, cheeses with cheeses, and so on. I would also encourage you to keep the cold products you choose separate from the dry items so that when you are bagging your groceries, you can keep them from being mixed together. No one likes a wet box of Rice Krispies!
Placement Tip: If it drives you crazy when the boxes and bags in your cart fall over every time you start and stop moving through the aisles of the store, then organize them horizontally (left to right) instead of vertically (front to back). By doing this, they will not tip forward each time your cart moves!
Now that you have an organized grocery cart, you will be able to pack and unpack your items with greater intention and efficiency. As previously shared, instead of having to run a single bag from the pantry to put away a dry item, then to the fridge to put away a cold item, then over to a kitchen drawer to put away a paper product, your groceries will be separated from the start and, in turn, simpler to unload.
If you are ready to make your trips to the grocery store way less stressful, I challenge you to give the organized shopping cart strategy a try. Taking the time to organize my groceries on-the-go has made a difference for me in terms of time, energy, and stress management, and I know it can do the same for you!
Want to have a little fun? Tag me on Instagram @abalancedabodenj during your next shopping trip to show off your organized cart!