Thursday, February 13, 2014

Saturdays Are No Longer for Sleeping In

Do you find yourself at the grocery store multiple times a week picking up ingredients for the dinner you just decided to make or the toilet paper that your 8 year old announced you just ran out of?  Maybe I am the only one, but more weeks than I can remember, I have found myself at the nearest grocery store almost every single day.  It's a good thing the grocery store is only about 2.5 miles away.  Of course, maybe if it were 25 miles away, I would plan my shopping trips a bit more carefully eliminating the daily journeys.

The past few months, I realized how ridiculous these trips were getting.  Every. Single. Day.  Sometimes twice a day.  Really?!  The only explanation was a lack of organization, as I absolutely detest grocery shopping and only do it for the survival of my family. 

Now, I don't know if you've been keeping track of the weather around the Northeastern part of the US, but it's been cold.  I mean, REALLY cold.  Ok....downright freezing.  Sub-zero.  Colder than Alaska.  Ridiculous.  Not the kind of weather I want to go out in every day and definitely not just to grab a gallon of milk or a pound of butter.  It was time to get organized and eliminate the daily trips to Wegmans.

This is nothing you haven't heard before.  Make a weekly menu, make a list of the things you need to make those recipes a reality, check you pantry, bathrooms, cleaning closets and write down on the list those things on which you are low or empty.  That's it.  Not hard in ideal...just difficult to put into practice. 

My problem is getting around to making the menu, the list, and finally...the shopping trip.  I am a pretty flexible person and, while I love routine, I am not big on tight schedules.  However, I finally came to the realization that I needed to schedule a specific day and time to do my grocery shopping.  This way, I had a deadline by which to have my menu and lists completed.

I have always tried to stay away from grocery stores on Saturdays as they are insanely crowded.  Large crowds, long lines, shopping....these are a few of my least favorite things!  (cue Julie Andrews)  However, have you ever been up early on a Saturday and driven past a grocery store?  The lot is almost empty.  And, seeing as I have nothing but sleep vying for my time between 6 &  7:00 on a Saturday morning, it seems the perfect time to get the job done.  I balked at the idea for a while as Saturday mornings are meant for one thing and one thing only:  sleeping in.  But, there was no getting around the fact that, for me, it is the obvious and best time.

Now, about 6:00/6:15 on Saturday mornings, I roll out of bed, throw on some clothes, put on my glasses (with so few people in the stores, I'm not worried about how I look), grab my list and go.  The one drawback is that Aldi (aka...the cheap store) is not open at this early hour.  However, I know that if I wait until it is open, the crowds will be a bit bigger and I will have too much to time to get distracted by other things and get out the door much later in the morning.  The positives far outweigh the negatives, though.  I get all of my items in an hour or less, I have everything I need for the week, and I am home before my children even get up.  After I get the groceries put away, I have time to make a nice Saturday morning breakfast....something we have rarely done in the past.   I may make a trip to the store at the end of the week for a gallon of milk (as I don't have room in my fridge for more than 5 gallons and those don't usually hold out the entire week), but that is it!  I am less frazzled and not as weary from all the wandering I once did.

In addition, I have also laid down the law that I no longer run out and get the items my children claim they "need NOW."  If it isn't on the list, they put it on the list for the following Saturday...and we make do without it until then.  I, along with them, am finding out the importance of doing a thorough inventory before leaving for the store.

Do you have a regularly scheduled time to shop?  Do you prefer early morning, mid-week, late-night?  Let me know if you decided to start shopping early on Saturday morning at "my" Wegmans...I just may have to put in my contacts and put on some make-up.  :)