I am a list maker. There is nothing I love more than making a long list, whether it’s a grocery list, a to-do list, a packing list – I love them all, and crossing items off one by one. (And okay, I probably love a few things more… like my husband and child or something, but you know what I mean bees.)
With a pregnancy brain that never seemed to have gone away (more than 15 months postpartum…oy), and while the list making is more important, I feel like I’m less likely to be able to rely on a hard copy of anything. I’ve learned that my old school legal pad lists aren’t quite conducive to parenting. My lists are constantly changing, and I’m rarely staying in the same place to edit and cross things off. They are more likely to be lost or chewed up by my child than utilized.
While there are apps out there for everything from task lists to shared grocery lists to meal plans, I have found the one magic app that helps me organize my life from all aspects (and even ropes in my hubby into the planning when needed). It’s called OurGroceries. Multiple users can view and edit the lists simply by using the list sharing function, where in our case Mr. Confetti and I joined using the same email account (mine, since I got us started). The app is streamlined, it’s easy to use, and the best part – it is FREE.
Here is a sneak peak into the many ways I use this app to keep my life organized:
Groceries – I used to keep a running paper grocery list on our fridge. Then it turned into a weekly email chain with Mr. C. Finally, I found this app and this is where the love affair began. Whoever finishes the last of something in the fridge or pantry can update the list, and as you start typing, it will give you options to auto-populate with items that you have previously entered. I also add items en masse after working out my meal plan (more info below) and before heading to the store.
Once you add an item to the list, you can hit the arrow on the right, and select a category (and once you do this, the app remembers it and will automatically put it in the same category next time). While it is obvious to me that peppers are in the produce section and the eggs are in the back wall, Mr. Confetti finds this feature to be super helpful, since on the rare occasion that he shops in my stead, he isn’t wandering around aimlessly looking for the feta, since I mark that it is near the deli instead of on the back wall with the sliced cheese (just a random example, but you catch my drift).
Another way I take advantage of the categories is for separating out certain items that I always get at different stores (like Target for a better deal on our favorite cereal). I put those items in a separate “Target” category, or if you preferred, you could create a whole separate Target shopping list. Personally, I like having all of my groceries on one condensed list, and categories makes this easy for me.
Meal Planning - I have tried so many methods for meal planning… four different styles of excel spreadsheets, a printed list of every go-to recipe tacked inside our pantry, family meetings, trying to cook everything on Sundays, etc. Still, I would fall into a Grandma Confetti style rut of making the same 5 things week in week out, and still end up with a ton of food waste at the end of the week. I knew I didn’t want to pay for an app for this, because with my failing track record, I couldn’t justify the expense.
Here is what I do now. I made a separate list called “Meal Planning,” and on it, I typed in every single meal I’ve made that has every been successful enough to warrant repeating. I also listed side dishes and veggie recipes. As I typed them in, I conscientiously used an intro word to keep them in alphabetical sections (like instead of writing “Happy Monday Chicken“, I wrote “chicken thighs Monday” so that it would stay together with all the chicken options).
I keep them uncategorized, and then at the beginning of the week, I pick the ones I plan to make that week (usually 2 or 3 meals in double batch, because I get exhausted cooking every. single. day.) , and add them to the category “This Week.” That way, I have a plan right under my thumb when I am finalizing my grocery list or when I’m staring at everything in the fridge thinking, “what should I make for dinner?” I think through what I need and pop the ingredients into my grocery list, and we are prepared for the week (that is, if I actually cook everything I plan to make, which happens 80-90% of the time).
Vacation Packing – Oh heavens, traveling with little ones can be a nightmare, amiright? After a couple of road trips to Ohio with Little C to visit the grandparents, I realized I was anguishing over creating and executing a packing plan every time, when really I could create and keep one list that I use over and over. Enter OurGroceries.
I started entering the key items that I feared leaving town without. I didn’t worry about specific clothing tallies (I just made a bullet for “C clothes”). The list includes all of the items that not only do I fear forgetting at home (white noise, pacifiers, Ergo, Mr. Confetti’s beloved baseball hat, etc.), but also that I wanted to be sure I brought back as we packed to head back to Chicago. Once something is packed, I click on it and it goes into the deleted items list below. I keep the items there, and then when we are re-packing at the end of our trip, I click the items in the deleted section as I pack them, and voila, they pop back up to the top and are ready and waiting for our next vacation.
To-Do List – Mr. Confetti and I share this list, and we keep two categories in it, each with our first initial. Usually, we maintain our own lists, but if he needs my help with something, he can add an items to my list, and vice versa. We also leave some items uncategorized that are shared to-do’s that we can work on whenever either of us has some extra time.
Other – I have found this app to be a great place to keep track of books I want to read, blog post ideas, restaurants we want to try, my new years resolutions and more. I love that all of my crazy list making can be contained in one easy to use app.
Hive, how do you stay organized? Do you have an app you love? Tell me about it!