How to remember the grocery bags (and other things)

Shopping List

Shopping List (Photo credit: Ex-Smith)

A friend of mine posted on my Facebook page:

Your organizational expertise is needed. How do I remember to take my reusable grocery bags to the store? arghhhh! I always forget because it’s such a miniscule task on my long to-do list. It’s driving me nuts already!!

So I responded with a few quick tips:

As soon as you’re done unloading the groceries, put your bags back into the car. If you use a grocery list, add (in highlight/color/boldface) BRING IN BAGS to that list.

She wrote back with a little more detail about her challenge:

I’ve done both… and forget at the LAST second to grab them from the car. It’s the darndest thing. Maybe I’m at the string-on-the-finger-stage! Or perhaps the shock-therapy-stage? Ughh

A couple of my friends posted their own great tips:

From Karen Cook ~ My trick: First thing on shopping list: BAGS!!! Then on the day I plan to go shopping I put them on the front seat under the shopping list. Cross out BAGS!!!

From Michelle Poteet ~ If you use a hard copy list: You can always clip (binder clips are great) the list to your bags – having them together may help. Once you’ve written the list attach it to the bag(s). Keep the clip attached when not in use you’re ready for the next trip to the store. We do this with our library card. It’s clipped right to the library bag and ready to go.

It’s a seemingly easy thing to remember, right? Just bring in the bags. But the issue isn’t forgetting the bags. That’s a symptom of something else that’s going on. The issue most likely goes back to the brain being in a fog from the endless to-do list.

This is quite typical of most people today, especially women. Women feel the societal pressure of needing to have a successful professional life as well as the perfect home life with everything under control. The easiest fix for this is to hire someone to do everything. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic option for most folks. So, what can be done?

We’ll fast forward through the part where we discuss priorities and schedules. Instead, I’d like to address mindset. It’s really important that we focus on the present, that we’re intentional with everything we do. When we rush around from here to there, our minds get jumbled up with more thoughts of other things we’re supposed to do, which breaks our concentration from the present.

This might sound counter-intuitive, but we need to take our time in order to save time. That means prepping beforehand, reviewing right before the task, being intentional during the task, and reflecting on the process afterwards. Sounds crazy, right? Especially if we’re just talking about a trip to the grocery store. But it needs to happen.

Prep beforehand: Prepare the grocery list and make sure the bags are in the car, placing them in a visible position such as the passenger seat if necessary. Do you need any other supplies or information to make the task successful? Coupons? Pen? Phone (with digital list)?

Review before the task: Before you open your car door to walk into the store, start your mental checklist: What am I about to do? Do I have all of my supplies in hand? If you have to, do this out loud. (Watch these great scenes from the Long Kiss Goodnight in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character does something similar. Warning: This clip is totally Rated R! The example scenes run from 0:35 to 1:10.) This is being intentional. If your kids are in the car, turn it into a game. (But without the F-words, of course.)

Be intentional during the task: Focus on what’s at hand so you’ll get out of there faster without having to constantly criss-cross back and forth throughout the store. If your kids were in the car for the previous step and are of reading age, they can help you find what you need and drop it in the basket.

Reflect afterwards: Was there a better way to do things? How can I best make that change? If I forgot something, what is the best way to trigger me to remember it?

Follow these steps not only for the grocery store, but for all of your to-do’s. You’ll greatly improve your effectiveness in completing your tasks.

About Helene Segura

Helene Segura teaches go-getters how to use their time more efficiently in order to have a more peaceful life. For details about her, be sure to visit


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