Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You may be right...

...I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for...

Tonight's post made me think of this song because when my sister saw what I am about to show you, she sweetly asked me "can I have one?" When I gladly gave her a copy, she exclaimed "I can't WAIT to show my boyfriend how CRAZY you are!!!"

But I maintain, not all crazy is bad! As a matter of fact, just today I was reminded how helpful some of my crazy is. People can call some of my tendencies OCD but the reality is good planning and organization allow you to be less crazy later.

I have a plain black binder (I saw the picture above and thought, maybe I'll make it pretty sometime soon!) that I keep in my kitchen with several tabs for information that should always be kept near at hand. For instance, a babysitter page that lists my child's schedule for eating, sleeping and rituals as well as emergency information. Our base line budget. The schedule for the gym's workout classes. {{Insert your family's needs here}}

But tonight's post will focus on 2 things that might seem a little crazy at first, but if you try them, I believe will quickly become indispensable.

First: The Pre-prepared Grocery List

This was the cause of my sister's crazy comment. I enjoyed KM's post on kitchen staples. Whenever I cook I open my notebook to my current grocery list and mark anything that I use up in the process. I have posted a picture below of my base list. I took one morning when I had a babysitter and walked slowly through my grocery store of choice writing down aisle by aisle what things were there that I usually or might buy. I went even further than that! I thought about the most efficient shopping route, starting right to left, skipping the frozen aisles, circling around the outside and then doing the cold stuff last.

I brought all that info home and put it into a spreadsheet (it took two sides though only one is shown) leaving room for notes next to each item and blanks to fill in. I included 3 letters I circle: N=Need, S=Sale and C=Coupon. This way I can note if something is BOGO this week and I need to grab two, or I can paperclip coupons and remember to look and make sure I am getting the correct item for the coupon. Here it crazy list.

But TRUST ME, my shopping takes on average 10-20 minutes less time than it used to per trip, and I never forget anything. Even using a normal jot-down list, I always forget a couple of items. And heavens knows when I shop from memory (like I did today) I feel crazy, wander a LOT, retrace my steps, and forget much.

Second: A Freezer Inventory List
My husband will complain that the only food in the house are bagels. This week I had to admit he wasn't that far off.

I have used this method for a while but let it lag. This is useful for saving money by buying on sale and not letting leftovers go to waste. I freeze LOTS of things:
-meat when it is on sale
-prepared extra servings of meals for future use (ie. making an extra lasagna)
-a bit of leftover meat sauce for adding to a future soup
-fruits or veggies before they go bad (for smoothies or cooking)

Whenever I freeze any of these things I jot it down on my freezer inventory list in my binder. When I use an item, I cross it off. Any given night I can open my binder and know there are 3 bags of frozen chicken breast in my freezer and pull on out for tomorrow's dinner.

The wonderful part is you don't overbuy things you have in stock (in my case bagels), you get ideas of what you need to use up, you get ideas about what to cook and things don't go bad from being lost in the bottomless pit of freezer land.

So maybe my sister is right, maybe I'm a little crazy...but it's the lunatic in me that keeps our kitchen in working order and me from wandering the grocery aisles!


  1. I love your idea for a freezer book! When my family grows a bit more, and the need for a freezer becomes a real NEED I will totally jump on the "crazy" bandwagon and make a freezer book. Neat idea!

  2. You Rock! I'm right there with you sister! I can't even sneeze unless it's on my daily agenda! I can't live with out my Calendar either. I made a grocery chart on excel!