Take a camera phone picture of the shopping list on your whiteboard

At Amazon: Board Dudes Magnetic Dry Erase Board
At Amazon: Board Dudes Magnetic Dry Erase Board

Here's how Janice cuts time off of her grocery shopping chores:

I've long used a white board on my fridge to keep track of things that I need to get on my next shopping run. It's easy to jot down staples as I use them up while cooking. But, when it comes time to go shopping, I've always had to rewrite the list on paper or email it to myself so I could take it with me. I finally realized that I could take a picture of my whiteboard on my camera phone and read the list from there. When I'm done, I just delete the picture and clean the board. It's so easy to take the picture on my way out the door that I haven't forgotten my list for a few weeks now!

I love when people combine low- and high-tech in creative ways.

Anyone else have a good grocery shopping list shortcut?

Related: Meal planning hack: Cook from a single cookbook all week (or all month)


  1. Mike says

    I use Ta-da List (http://tadalist.com/) for my shopping lists. We can add items anywhere a web browser is available, and access it from my iPhone at the store. As a bonus I can check items off as I grab them.

  2. says

    This works great with the agenda for a conference, homeschool event, or family day at our local museum. The schedule is often written on a whiteboard and it’s just so much easier to snap a picture (or several, get in there close and make sure that you’ve got the info you need…) than to try to copy the info by hand or enter it as a memo in the phone.

  3. snarflemarfle says

    I downloaded an app for my iTouch…GroceryIQ. I use that for my shopping list. I just type in what I need as I run out of stuff and then type in my whole list the night before my shopping day. I can organize the aisles in the app to match the grocery store aisles so my list is always in order!

  4. stephan F- says

    We just use a folded up piece of paper on the frig and build the list on that. We also add the meal ideas on the other folded sides and take the whole thing to the store.

  5. Sarah says

    I also use a folded piece of paper, but I use the sections to create a rough “map” of the grocery store.

    I fold the paper into fourths, then I label each section Produce, Dry Goods, Dairy/Deli/Butcher, and Frozen. Then I just write my items under the appropriate section.

    I can do all of my shopping in a single efficient lap around the store, which is essential when shopping with a restless preschooler. It’s also easier for me not to miss items on my list, which saves me from doubling back across the store for a single item.

    Like Stephan, I also put meal ideas on the back in case I need to substitute or inspiration strikes while I’m in the store.

  6. says

    I use the memo pad application on my phone and take great delight in deleting the items after they are in my basket. When my list is gone, it is time to go home.

  7. Stephanie says

    Cozi has a shopping list you can text a number to and it will send you your list! It works pretty well and can be accessed by the people in your family so long as they have a password.

  8. Janice says

    I’ve also played with using Backpack to keep my lists. I have an app on my iPhone, Satchel, that I use to interact with Backpack there. But you can also use a mobile web browser. I’ve found I’m just faster and more consistent with the whiteboard. It takes much less time to write “butter” on the fridge than to type it into an interface, which can be critical when the last of the butter is melting in the pan. I’m still waiting for my smart fridge with a web browser on the front I can use for recipies and keeping my shopping list. Maybe someday it’ll exist…but Backpack is pretty great as an online tool for lists and notes. You can email to it, email a page to yourself, share it with a family member (or more than one if you sign up for a paid plan). I keep a variety of info there, sorted into pages and shared with my husband in case he ever needs it. I like it a lot. But it’s still not as fast as a whiteboard and marker.

  9. says

    I keep a list of staples on the computer, organized by grocery aisles. I print it and leave it on the kitchen counter. When we run out of something, we circle it. We can also hand write other items on the list. I take the list to the store (or, better yet, send my husband!), then print a new one for the next shopping trip.

  10. Parent Hacks Editor says

    I’m reading today’s comments after returning from a mammoth grocery store run. I should have read them before I left!

  11. says

    I take photos of just about everything- especially parking spaces at big stores, amusement parks and the airport. Flyers posted on bulletin boards, billboards, etc.

  12. says

    Me, I use pencil and paper. Proven, useful, doesn’t smear like a white board, needs no photograph. I do keep a list of the aisle organization next to it on the fridge so I can write items in more or less the order I’ll find them. All these high tech methods just seem like more steps.