My father (not a natural list writer) emailed me to say "I make shopping lists - but then forget to take them to the shops with me."
And then my sister pointed out to me that our mother never, ever writes out shopping lists. But in contrast to my father she manages to hold a list of what she needs to buy in her head. And importantly, she remembers to buy everything that is on her list. That's a rare talent I think.
So I am like neither of my parents. I keep a permanent shopping list stuck on the fridge and add to it all week before taking it shopping with me.
Should you stick rigidly to what you have written or stray off list? I am a big fan of starting off with a list and then getting 'inspired' as I walk around the shop. C is an intensely practical child and when he comes shopping with me this freelance behaviour drives him wild. Maybe its because he dislikes shopping so much. Before we set off he will take my list and count how many items are on it.
"So, we are going to buy ten things, Mum?" he clarifies.
"At least ten things," I reply.
He's not daft and fixes his gaze on me.
"Ten things? Or more than ten things?"
"Hmmmm...well...yes, about ten things."
A deep, knowing sigh from C.
Then, later, comes his triumphant moment. The customer display at the till tells us not just how much I have to pay, but crucially, how many items I have bought. C shrieks in alarm.
"Mum! You bought twenty-four items! We just needed ten things! You said!"
"Well, the lamb mince was on special offer," I say, weakly.
C shakes his head at me in disappointment.
A quick search on Google reveals that there are websites for shopping list templates, shopping list generators, shopping list software, shopping list organisers and shopping list makers. It really needn't be that complicated.
I just have a favourite rainbow coloured pad from Paperchase that I use to write my shopping lists on, and I stick it somewhere that all the family can see it and add to it if they want. Of course, no-one does ever add to it. Instead I end up asking everyone before I go if there is anything they want me to buy. O always asks me for shreddies, G for syrup and C for an obscure tropical fruit that he wants to try. For ages, I believed that we really were in need of these items, and didn't bother to check the veracity of these demands. The obscure fruit was fine, but we quickly ended up with stockpiles of shreddies and golden syrup.
So these days I ignore other people's requests and just stick to my list...plus those all important 'inspirations'. I'd better go and unpack it all now.
PS - my father has quite rightly pointed out that he is not a natural shopper rather than not a natural list maker!