Home > Just Silly, Musings on Life in General > Draliman’s Guide to Lists

Draliman’s Guide to Lists


A shopping list (noun) is a list of items needed to be purchased by a shopper, a grocery list is a the most popular type of shopping list– including items that need to be procured on the next visit to the grocery store. It’s time to get extremely personal.  Share your grocery list with us! Scan it, snap a photo, or write it out.

Making a list can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Without proper preparation, your list could go very badly wrong! I hope that this guide will help you to get the most out of your lists.

We’re going to concentrate today on one of the most common types of list – the “shopping list”. To explain, this is a “list” you might make before you go “shopping”.

There are two main reasons for making a shopping list:

  1. You have a tendency to go a bit crazy so you make a list and stick to it. That way you return home with the toilet rolls and milk and only toilet rolls and milk, rather than augmenting your shopping trolley with a six pack of beer and a new flat screen television set.
  2. You always forget something – without a list you’ll be taking your coffee black and wiping… well, enough said.
Top Tip: Only put items you actually need on your list.

Here are a couple of lists I made earlier.

Shopping Lists

Note the poor handwriting – an unreadable list is useless! For example, on the top list, the very top item reads “pizzas”, not “pixies”, and the fourth item down on the left is “pickled onions” rather than “disabled chins”. Imagine what a fool you would feel when asking the shop assistant where the disabled chins are! The pixies, however, are to be found in aisle three, apparently.

Top Tip: Write legibly – an unreadable list is a useless list, and could lead to embarrassment!

To make your list, any spare piece of paper may be used. There’s no hard and fast rule, but I like to use a paper block. I’m currently using one I got while on my holiday in Wales – take a look below.

Paper Block

See how it cleverly it opens up to reveal the paper within! It’s a great source of paper and when not in use, a great decoration for your coffee table.

Top Tip: Use a piece of “paper” to write your list on.

Once you are feeling confident in your lists, you may try reusing them – refer to the lower of the two lists in the illustration. You should attempt this strategy when:

  • You are confident in making, and in using, lists
  • Many of the items on your new list will be the same as those on your old list
  • You have not already thrown out your old list

On the lower list, see how I’ve cleverly reused the list by scribbling out the items I no longer need.

Top Tip (advanced): When reusing a list, you may also add new items. In this case, I have added “birthday cards”.

Finally, be sure to think carefully before making your shopping list. Try to list the items in the order they appear in the shop, not in the order in which they appear in your head. Take a look at the illustrations below. The route on the left was followed by someone using a well-thought-out list. The route on the right… well, I think it speaks for itself!

Supermarket Routes

Top Tip: Save time by planning your list so that the items appear in the correct order.

I hope that this guide will prove useful to those of you who plan on embarking on designing, and using, lists. Remember, lists can be fun to make, and useful too!

Happy list making!

  1. Gilraen
    October 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Lists are my lifeline. So I would add a tip.
    When it is a list which runs over multiple days; plan in (list) a review moment to see if list is current and help plan in items on list. Even works with a shopping list if it involves multiple stores. The it can help you plan the trip to the stores in the most efficient way


    • October 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks for the tip! Sadly I’m not nearly that organised 😦
      I generally just chuck items randomly onto the page.


  2. merbear74
    October 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Spam? Ew. =)


    • October 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Mmm, Spam. Salty fatty goodness 🙂


  3. October 14, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Pizza not pixies, haha! Oh, that cracked me up. 😀 I’m afraid my grocery store route is very much the red one, even with pretty awesome lists. A list doesn’t fix an easily distracted brain. 🙂


    • October 14, 2013 at 6:18 am

      I have a vision of you traipsing around the local supermarket thinking “Let’s see, biscuits, bread, ooh! ooh! Look! Stuffed dinosaurs!” and then shooting off across the shop 🙂


      • October 15, 2013 at 5:09 am

        That’s so accurate that it’s unnerving! Haha! 🙂 It’s not uncommon for me to be in a grocery store for 15 minutes without checking a single item off my list… 😀


  4. October 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

    What are “Mi Mints”???? I’m glad you explained what the disabled chins were! 🙂


    • October 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

      They are actually “Nic mints” as in Nicotine mints (lozenges) 🙂


      • October 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        Ah, I see! I’m a bit of a mint fanatic and I thought I was missing out on something (I just discovered today that in the States, Polos are called Lifesavers), but no . . . am not missing out on nicotine mints.


        • October 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

          Polos are Lifesavers? I always wondered on US TV what sort of thing they were talking about when they ate Lifesavers. I certainly never envisaged the simple mint with a hole 🙂


          • October 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm

            Me neither! It kind of makes sense, I guess. They do look like a life ring / saver thing 🙂


            • October 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

              Oh yes – even now I didn’t make the connection! I always assumed Lifesavers were some sort of “Fishermen’s Friends” type of thing. No idea why.


  5. October 15, 2013 at 2:26 am

    My list making skills need your tips I”ll have to try to put them to good use! 🙂

    Also, I’ve heard lifesavers are called lifesavers because you aren’t supposed to be able to choke on them. I guess theoretically it gets stuck in your throat and you can still breathe through the hole? I’m not sure if this is true or not as I’ve never tried it. But I can say that for sure the wint-o-green ones spark if you chew them in the dark.


    • October 15, 2013 at 6:48 am

      That makes sense! Like the big hole they put in the top of pen lids to stop people choking. Probably best that you haven’t tried it 🙂
      I feel jealous now – I don’t think we have any spark-in-the-dark sweets 😦


      • October 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        Ahh -but how many have you chewed in the dark in front of a mirror? Perhaps you have some but you just don’t know it. I think Some experimentation may be in order! Worst case scenario nothing interesting happens but you get to eat lots of sweets. Well, perhaps worse case scenario is that family and friends start worrying you have some sort of addiction issues hiding in the dark eating candy – but probably they’ll be fine if you just offer to share! 🙂


        • October 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

          Now that’s a very good point! I can’t remember the last time I chewed sweets in the dark in front of a mirror. Can you believe that?
          I think it’s definitely time to peruse the confectionery aisle at my local supermarket on the hunt for anything which could potentially spark in the dark 🙂
          It’s all in the name of science, after all.


  6. October 16, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Problem with lists for me is once I am shopping I don’t like what’s on my list.
    I get bored with food and always want something new.
    Nice mints, I recently quit smoking using those. Hardest thing I have ever done.
    Love fried Spam sandwiches on fresh sour dough bread but have quit those too. Life is getting lonely. ha ha


    • October 16, 2013 at 6:20 am

      I’m glad the mints helped you quit smoking too! Trouble is now I’m addicted to the mints 😦
      Don’t quit everything! You need to keep some little luxuries for yourself.
      I’ve never actually fried Spam. I’m too lazy 🙂


  7. October 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Oh I like your handwriting! Spam is meat right? I love how Pizza’s is on the top of your list! If you ever go for PM in Engeland I will force people to vote for you. Ah.. imagine.. world pizza..


    • October 22, 2013 at 6:39 am

      Spam is meat, sort of 🙂 – “spiced ham” I think the name came from. It’s all mashed up and processed and whatnot.
      Once I’m PM we can have World Pizza Day. It’ll be awesome 🙂


  8. October 27, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Absolutely brilliant & so so true lol. I am a great lover of lists but, somehow, even though I plan my lists very cartefully, my route always ends up looking like your 2nd one 🙂


    • October 27, 2013 at 5:39 am

      Lamentably something always seems to come up which makes our careful list-making all for nought 🙂


      • October 27, 2013 at 6:55 am

        On the subject of lists … My sister sent this rather large fridge magnet to my husband for his birthday. I thought it was hilarious. You can see it here…



        • October 27, 2013 at 6:59 am

          That’s great! Perfect for the music lover in your life 🙂


  9. Maz
    November 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Just found you . Will try to browse a bit.


  1. October 15, 2013 at 5:08 am
  2. October 15, 2013 at 6:57 am
  3. October 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

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