Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Printable shopping lists & menu plan blanks

Who wants a visit from the organisation fairy?!

The golden rule of organisation: organisation should be less work than sorting out the chaos would be. If it takes you more time / money / effort than living with the muddle, that's not organisation, that's bureaucracy! So these are to make life easier and simpler, so you don't run out of things like tinfoil or toilet paper, or stand staring despairingly into the fridge, asking that age-old question, what the hell to make for supper. I made these shopping-list and menu-plan templates for myself, and then for my cousin, and there's different versions depending on how much planning you want / like to do. Also each set comes in two fonts.

Click on the image to preview, click on the link underneath to download it. How to use them is further down.

Option 1: Combined shopping-list + flexible menu plan

Choose one, in the font you like, and print out a batch.

Option 2: Shopping list + detailed menu plans

1. Choose one shopping list, in whichever font you prefer, print out a batch, and chop in half.

 2. Choose your meal-plan style (lunch + dinner only or breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in whichever font you prefer, and print out a batch. All versions have a "do in advance" column.

Matchbook font menu plans


Lobster font menu plans


 How to use...


 The shopping lists

Print a batch of shopping lists and put them up somewhere in the kitchen. (Mine are the combined version, so they're folded in half.) If you don't have a pinboard, some combination of crocodile clip / paperclip / string / blutack should do the trick. Maybe on the inside of a cupboard, but I like to keep mine visible, so I remember to add stuff.

Any time something's running low - tinfoil, loo paper, salt, the random things that are easy to forget - add it to the list. (When I had a utility room, I always had a backup of stuff like that, and replaced the back up, but this kitchen has less space.)

I have pens cached everywhere, all over the house, so that's not a problem, but you could attach a pen, except in a pen-short house, someone would steal it. So instead you could empty a cheap pack of ballpoints into the cutlery drawer. (One of my many pen caches.)

The combined shopping list / meal plan

Before we go shopping, or while we're wandering around the shops, we jot on the meal-list side what we're planning to make, in no particular order, and add the ingredients to the things already on the list. There's only the two of us, so no need for military menu planning and it all stays quite flexible, but I do allocate specific easy & quick dishes for teaching nights when I finish at about 10. That meal list then stays pinned up on the pinboard while we cook our way throught it; meanwhile, a new shopping list is gathering up anything we're now running out of.

The detailed menu plan

I made this at my cousin's request, as she needs to do more planning - she has two kids, and does complicated things involving pre-soaking all the ingredients, hence the "do in advance" column which is also handy for remembering to defrost stuff. I only menu-plan with that kind of detail when I'm cooking or planning for someone else.

The meals list

Old menu plans don't get chucked away - they go in the magic meals list envelope. I've had that envelope since about 2008, at least, so some lists must've strayed, but it's still bulging. It's been pinned on the pinboard, blu-tacked on a cupboard inside, magnetted to the fridge and the side of the boiler... Whenever we can't think of anything to cook for the coming weeks, we rifle through the assorted scraps.

The meals list is especially useful when the season changes, and our heads are still full of stews & soups and we can't even remember what we eat in summertime. (That's why I added "season" to the detailed menu plan.) Occasionally I think about writing or typing up a masterlist, but I like seeing the constellations of dishes, and find that useful, and also like the fragments of memory and other houses.

Enjoy! (Also, if you want other versions and want me to make them with those lovely fonts and with the organisation fairy, let me know.)

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