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Hi! I’m Aline Lickel, a visual designer based in Amsterdam. Every morning I start my day listening to good music and researching design references, online or at the real world. Here you can see what fascinates me. If you like it, drop me a line. I would love to hear from you. Enjoy! +



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Have a shopping list, always

Have a shopping list, always

I wrote last week about a weekly dinner menu technique. Now I’ll tell you another little secret to make your day to day even easier.

You might agree it’s so annoying when you’re cooking and then you realise it’s missing some ingredient. Oh, I hate it!

I’ve got also a particular irritation with unnecessary duplicate stuff in the fridge or pantry. I remember once finding more than three bottles of ketchup in the fridge!

You know, you’re in the supermarkt buying stuff for dinner, then you don’t remember if you already have can of tuna. To avoid missing the ingredient, because you hate it so much, you end up buying it, to arrive at home and find out you already have ten of it. You add one more to your collection and here we go with the massive clutter in your tiny pantry.

Even living in a spacious flat in Amsterdam, our kitchen is not exactly well provided with cabinets, so we try hard to have a minimalism approach. But sometimes it seems to be hard. So how do we do?

We have a easily reachable shopping list
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We introduced in our lives the idea of a permanent Shopping List, easily reachable, shared between us. First, we did it on a google document, and now a days we use Trello. Whatever the tool you use, it’s just important to be:

1. Easy for you to use. Avoid bureaucratic tools.

2. Always reachable.

3. Shared (unless you live alone).

4. Portable, so you can carry to the supermarket.

Then, the rule is simple: every time you run out a product or you remember something you need to buy, put it immediately in your shopping list.

For instance, I was taking shower this morning and I finished a bottle of shampoo. When I left the bathroom, I replaced it for the last bottle I had in my cabinet and I immediately grabbed my mobile, opened Trello and I added “shampoo” to my shopping list. It’s done! Next time somebody goes shopping, it can be bought.

Just remember to keep the list updated. When you buy something, remove it.

We plan what to eat before going shopping
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Of course we have extra food for spontaneous dishes or emergencies. Even if we cook our own fresh tomato sauce, it’s handy to have a prepared can of it in case of emergency.

We also have some soups and meats in the freezer for those days you don’t have time to go shopping or need a quick meal (and yes, I’m proud to say in two years we had order delivery only twice).

But generally, we plan what we eat, weekly: late sunday or monday morning we make our dinner menu, then we check what we need to buy (always verifying what we already have) to put in our list.

As we usually go shopping every three or four days, most of the times we include only ingredients for half of the week. Then we go to the supermarket after work.

Another great benefit of your shooping list is saving time and money

But how do I save time?
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Because you have a list, you don’t need to think about what to buy or which ingredients are necessary for that recipe. You know exactly what you want, so just go straight on it.

Trying to be even quicker (because I don’t like day to day shopping), I usually go to the same supermarket, this way I know where each ingredient is. I organize the items, then, in my list in the same order as I walk through the corridors and sessions: fruits and vegetables first, then fish, bread, cheese , meat and so on.

I can follow my list while I walk in the supermarket and I don’t get lost. Hardly ever I need to return to the first session when I’m already in the queue. It saves a precious time :-)

I usually spend around 25 minutes in the whole process: from leaving my place to returning home with bags full of food (take into account 10 minutes cycling to go and return). It gives you 15 minutes shopping for 3 big bags, including taking time to choose fruits and vegetables, querying, organizing stuff in the bags etc.

Moreover, when you have the list, you avoid buying extra things you actually don’t need, so at the end, you save money.

Share it, so anyone can go shopping
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Our list is made between the two of us and it’s shared online. We can access it through our computers, mobiles or tablets. So we both are able to go shopping any time, anywhere.

Once in a while, we go to the supermarket together, but then we slip the list and do the shopping separately to be quicker :-)

Little effort, huge benefits
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At the end, the effort is basically having an easily reachable shopping list and creating at home the culture of adding stuff as you need. Trust me, you will get used to it very fast.

The benefits, on the other side, are countless: you save a lot of time in your day to day, money, avoid food wasting, duplicated items, clutter in your cabinets, bad surprises of missing things etc.

I confess, now a days I don’t know how to survive without a shopping list. When something happens and I don’t have it, I get totally lost in the supermarket and I take ages to finish my shopping. And it’s quite rare to miss some basic stuff at home, such as toilet paper, olive oil or shampoo. We also waste far less food than before.

And what about you? What kind of problems do you usually face? Do you have some trick to share? Tell me, I’m curious :-)

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7 comments
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  • Andrew | 10/04/2013 | 4:27 pm

    Rodrigo using all the shampoo again? RODRIGO!!!!!!!

  • Rodrigo | 10/04/2013 | 4:28 pm

    Andrew: no, but I confess I’ve been eating all the cat’s food :P

  • alickel | 10/04/2013 | 4:29 pm

    Unbelievable, isn’t it?

  • Badá | 10/04/2013 | 10:25 pm

    I wish I had that kind of discipline… I try my best, dammit!

  • Andrew | 10/04/2013 | 10:26 pm

    Is this the new facebook? Or as you say in Brasil, fay-chi book-i.

    Poke —> (to Badu)

    Add as friend: Alickel

    Kiss: Rodrigo

  • Rodrigo | 10/04/2013 | 10:35 pm

    It’s the new IRC!

    /me slaps Andrew around with a large trout

  • alickel | 11/04/2013 | 5:41 pm

    Badá, don’t give up. Keep trying! Where exactly do you think you’re failing?

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