Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

Grocery List

cournoyer says:
Any tips/trick on creating an effective grocery list for a specific store... ????
Posted at 3:51pm on December 22, 2007
lwallach says:
I don't know if my system is great, but I'll describe it. Whenever I remember I need to get something, I write a task for it (eg "get bananas"), tag it with @errands and specify the location of the store I think most likely I will pick it up. I have an @Errands smartlist, but I also see the location in my tag cloud and can view a more specific list that way. Perhaps there are other tweaks that people have come up with that may make this more useful? It seems workable enough, and since I can look at my tasks on my phone, I always have my grocery list at hand. The only trouble really is remember to jot things down.

I suppose another way to do this would be to just create one task and write the list as either a big list in one note or even a bunch of individual notes attached to the task. I'm not sure really what the advantage would be to this except that it would keep things less cluttered in the lists, but it might be harder to maintain if you got some of the things on your list, but then couldn't get everyone for some reason (for example they were out of a few of the things)...
Posted 10 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
I would create a list Shopping and add all things I would buy at one time or another (probably 100's of items). In order to sort them I would start each task with a two digit number (01 for fruit, 02 for vegetables etc, a typical task would be 01 Apples or 02 Tomatoes). This number would be the order in which you pass the aisles in the store.

It would take some time to set this up the first time but you could add new tasks as the need araises.

These tasks are not meant to be completed, as a matter of fact you would need to filter them out of your regular searches so they don't show up there.

In order to create your list for this weeks shopping, you would go to this list Shopping and mark all items you want to buy. When done marking them, duplicate all and using multi-edit tag them with todays date or similar. If you somehow miss this, you can find them by looking for recently added tasks and then multi-tag them. By clicking this tag in the tag cloud you get a sorted list of all your shopping items. When done shopping, complete the items ether one-by-one or all together.

For convenience, you could use the mobile version to see this list on your phone while shopping.

One draw-back: you can't enter the number of each item, but either you remember that anyways, edit the task or add several identical tasks.

Good luck!
Posted 10 years ago
mas90guru says:
Just having a list has always worked well enough for me. Any fancier and it doesn't get written down and kept up.
Posted 10 years ago
stubbornmule says:
As much as I love RTM, I've found that Backpack is far superior for a shopping list.

I've been using Backpack for months but due to all of the extra features of RTM I decided to switch and give it a try.

My system for both has been:

Create a list called Shopping and then when I'm at the shops pull the list up on my mobile phone and check the items off as I get them.

The problem with RTM's mobile version is that to mark a task complete it needs to load that tasks details on a separate page which is both slow and costly (as here in Australia we are charged for data usage).

With Backpack you simply load the list page, each item has a check box next to it which you check off and then when you're done you save the list. Quicker to check off items and cheaper on data usage.

If the RTM gurus could implement this in the mobile version they'd win me over.
Posted 10 years ago
csesget says:
I've gone the other way, stubbornmule. A once-zealous Backpack user, I was won over to RTM by the iPhone mobile interface (switched from Treo 650 and haven't regretted it for a moment). That, along with the Gmail extension, made me drop my paid plan on Backpack. For a simple grocery list, though, Tada Lists ( works great on the iPhone. Not sure about other mobile platforms, though.
Posted 10 years ago
bglenden says:
While I have an iphone, as stubbornmule says RTM is very poor for shopping on other mobile devices because of all the page refreshes (my wife as a WM device). Toodledo is also much better on non-ipones.

(I made this suggestion in August in:

It would be very nice to get this improved, otherwise my wife might make me do all the shopping.

Posted 10 years ago
mew1965 says:
Handling lists does seem to be a weakness with RTM. This relates to GTD philosophy when it comes to Agendas. If I have a meeting coming up and I want a list of items for an agenda, clearly that's not a list of actions.

I'm still working with RTM to figure out if it's what I need (love the iPhone interface) but right now it would be a great addition IMO if there was an Add List link next to the Add Task link.

Posted 10 years ago
mew1965 says:
An update more on topic:

It seems to work well to make the store you're going to an action, and make the list a Note attached. It's a few clicks in on an iPhone to get to the list, but once you do it's easily read and edited. I must say again that the iPhone interface is very slick, fast and easy to use.

Posted 10 years ago
mew1965 says:
One more update:

Actually the Action should be called something like Shopping Lists. Then you create Notes for each store, and make the first line of the note the name of the store since that is bolded by the software.

Posted 10 years ago
thisisjjs says:
I just add @grocerystore or @vegstore and @errands and print the list when I go to the store. Some stuff that I need to buy periodically is set to repeat itself every couple of days. I see no need for any other system.
Posted 10 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Having put some more thoughts into this I think the most effective way to get a list of groceries that is sorted for a specific store involves both MS Excel and RTM.

At home, you have an Excel file with all the stuff you will buy at one time or another. This will probably be a few houndred items. These items are ordered by shelf or any number that reflects the order in which you would pass the items in the store. You could even have different columns for diffent stores.

Put a number in an empty column for the number of articles you want, use autofilter to only show the items you need and finally copy this list to the notes field of a new task in RTM. In the store, use the mobile version to see your list. Just scroll down as needed.
Posted 10 years ago
ascaaear says:
I have a little different kind of shopping list:

First I have a list I call "need". Where I add everything i need to buy on a short term and long term (Like a frame for my new picture, a chair, tools or whatever).

I then have a smartlist which I call "Grocery list" wich fetch all from "need" which have the tag "grocery". If there are items I need to get for shopping, like milk, sugar, bread etc... i put it in the smartlist.

Then I have all things I need buy in one list, but if I need only a grocery list, I pick up the "grocery list"
Posted 10 years ago
becky.holt says:
I have a list called "@Store" where I put items I need. I preface the task with the place (i.e. Target, Wal-mart, Walgreen's, etc.) Also, for things I tend to buy regularly, I have set it to repeat after a certain amount of time (i.e. Target - apples, after 1 week) so that I don't have to use the mental energy to remember each time I got to the store what it is that I usually buy. Works great for me.
Posted 9 years ago
angela.randall says:
It is possible to easily create and filter out templates:
Posted 9 years ago
jamiepullman says:
Blimey, there seem to be some complicated ways of doing shopping lists. We just have the laptop in the kitchen with RTM open in a tab, and whenever we run out of something, it goes on the list, and whenever I'm going past the shops, I'll have a look on my mobile to see what we need.
I agree that the mobile interface is a little clunky (I have an N95). I'd like to see the back of the new page for the undo facility, and scrolling down to the bottom to get back to the lists is a bit of a pain, but otherwise, I love RTM.
Posted 9 years ago
ekcj says:
When I saw the name, "Remember the Milk," I immediately thought there'd be a really cool and slick grocery shopping list tool within the RTM. I'm actually very surprised there isn't. What'd I'd like to see is an option to choose a "Grocery List" tab that's pre-populated with everything you'd want to get in the grocery store, making each item completely editable and being able to add items that might not be on the pre-populated list. As I realize things need to be added, I'd like to be able to go to the tab and somehow indicate the things I want to get the next time I go shopping. Where this would become extremely useful is when you get to the store and your pre-made shopping list is on your iPhone. If someone (e.g. your spouse, etc.) wanted you to pick something up from the store, they could go to the list, add it and it should then show up on your iPhone. I think this could be a huge win and make RTM and even bigger killer app than it already is.
Posted 9 years ago
lwallach says:
ekcj, I never thought about that, but it is kind of funny that "Remember the Milk" doesn't have an easy way of setting up shopping lists. But RTM is really just a very open system for creating lists and tasks. It has some powerful features but in general in forces users to create SYSTEMS in order to deal with their tasks. That makes it extremely flexible, but also often hard to work with or at least get started with because it's so open and relies on the user to set everything up rather than providing templates, etc.
Posted 9 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
Good point.

Given the many posts from those new to RTM asking to stifle future tasks, I have begun to think that one useful template RTM could give all new accounts is smart list of 'Active' tasks (e.g., due today and overdue.)

I think offering this would be useful in itself, but also, by exposing smartlists to new users, it would encourage them to create whatever smartlists would be helpful to them.
Posted 9 years ago
frank.wilder says:
If anyone is using a palm based device, Handyshopper is great. We have all of our food items in categories like "fridge", "freezer", "pantry",... and sorted alphabetically.

So before you go to the store, you can view the "fridge" category to see a list of items we keep in the fridge and check if any need to be restocked. Then the freezer,...

When I go to the store, I can sort the items in isle order for the store (Giant, Food Lion,...).

We use RTM when when are on the computer to add to the shopping list when my Centro is not handy. We add these items to HandyShopper before going to the store (or at the store via the mobile link to RTM).

Posted 9 years ago
sparrowitis says:
I find RTM great for shopping. I enter "bananas" and tag it with "groceries" (or you could have a list and share it).

When I get to the supermarket, I click my "tags" shortcut, click on "groceries" and leave it open.

As I walk around I swipe each item from right to left to complete it. What refresh time?

The next time I go shopping I click to see the completed items and uncomplete the items I need again. Okay this bit is a pain on the iphone, so I use the web to do multiples at once.
Posted 8 years ago
davidbessler says:
I have my method (the +bessler method) outlined here:

hope that helps
Posted 8 years ago
ian.griffin says:
Just out of curiosity, why do so many people use '@' before their tags or lists? I'm not sure what the upside of this would be. It seems that they are tags or lists and using @ before every tag or list is very redundant. Maybe I'm missing something here...

Incidentally, I've implemented what ascaaear said. I have a 'Shopping' list where I put everything I need to buy. Each item is then tagged with 'groceries' etc... and the store where I typically buy the item (I do go to a different grocery for meats and fruits). I have smart lists for each store, plus one for 'groceries', just in case I want to see all groceries I need. I think this is a great system, actually. Thanks for the tip, ascaaear.
Posted 8 years ago
jladomato says:
I love RTM for tasks and to-do lists, but for my grocery lists, I find Microsoft Outlook much more effective. I use the "tasks" in Outlook, and have a "category" for each store I shop at. If I have an item to be put on the list that could be picked up at 3 different stores (like bananas can be picked up at any of the grocery stores I shop at), I can type in all 3 store names in the category, separating them with a comma, and Outlook puts the task in all 3 categories. The nice thing about this is that whichever store I get the bananas at, when I mark them off that store's list, it will then delete them off the other 2 store's list also (because they are all linked, since it was entered as one item).

Outlook also syncs with my phone, so I always have my shopping lists right there with me. Works great for me! (Though I wouldn't mind if RTM wanted to incorporate this feature also, and then I wouldn't need to use 2 progams :~) ).
Posted 8 years ago
mark.thomsen says:
Jladomato: RTM syncs with BlackBerries and iPhones! Although you'll need to purchase a Pro subscription for $20. It's worth it! Do it now and you'll get a 2 for 1. Another words, you can give a RTM Pro subscription to your valentine for free!
Posted 8 years ago
pyrusman says:
There is an awesome T-Mobile G1 app that makes shopping list pretty easy to deal with on my phone. (The app is called Astrid and it uses the RTM APIs, and offers a richer experience than the browser site. I am still not sure how to do certain tasks on the website that I can do via Astrid.)

I simply created at Groceries list. (I also created a Home Depot list.) I then use the import email option for creating new tasks items for the groceries list. (What is also cool is that my wife can also update my list via email.) Then as I shop, I just check each off.

I like the earlier concept of ordering items based on proximity, but I know I could never mantain the additional complexity.
Posted 8 years ago
vannylu says:
I have just been playing around with RTM and discovered smartlists. Although I've been using RTM for about 6 months I've not really used it much until I got my new mobile phone and am finding more uses for it now. This is how I have set up my shopping list - not fully tested yet tho as haven't used it out on a shopping trip so that bit is just theory!

I have created a list called grocery containing tasks for every item I potentially buy in it.

The tasks are tagged with which cupboard I store item in at home prefixed cb- eg undersink cupboard I have called cb-sink.

The tasks are also tagged with the shop where I buy the item prefixed shp- eg shp-grocery.

When am ready to make up my shopping list I can take my mobile phone into the kitchen select a cupboard tag and set a priority for any items I want to buy. Or if I remember something mid week that I need then I find the item and set the priority.

I have created smartlists for the different stores eg grocery, chemist and to select those items which have a priority set.

In the store I can select the smartlist for grocery store and select complete on my task when I have picked up the item.

When I get home on the PC I can select my smartlist for grocery, select everything, uncomplete the tasks and set the priority to none again.

Next step will be to tag the items by aisle too or I was thinking of using location but I'll see how it goes
Posted 8 years ago
teebark says:
On using the @sign--my take is that this is shorthand for where you're planning on completing the task, i.e., context. I have 4--@home, @work @grocerites, and @commuting (I work out of state). They're also smarlists, so when I create a task, it gets one of those tags.

For instance, I have a list called Me (not a smart list). When I add a personal task here, it gets one of thos conext tags. Then, when I want to see my tasks for that locations, I click on that tag.

I've extended that idea to @NextAction and @WorkWaiting, even though they're not locations. An @NextAction smartlist result might look like this:

@home, ras, x02-visitor emails 02/07/08
@home, ras, add notice in members and offecers sections on Maidens site 15/07/08
@work, ras, change interest for Jeff Pike to "all manner of observing" 12/08/08
@home, ras, turnoversend letter and county contact info 02/11/08
@work, aitp, send monthly email to grtc (, pmi ( Jan 05
@home, me, double check that Best Buy payments are being made Jan 12
@home, aitp, send monthly email to grtc (, pmi (

The formattng's a little screwed up, but you can see that each item starts with 2 tabs--context and list. So, I see all tasks that need to be done, where. to do it, and what list it's under. It's a little more trouble to key those 2 items in every time you create a task, but the payoff is worth it.
Posted 8 years ago
cdhsman says:
I've looked over the many approaches to using RTM as a grocery list, and I have a plan. I'd like to post it here before I spend a great deal of time creating it and then find a major glitch, so feel free to give me feedback.

My system is based on the Palm software someone mentioned above, HandyShop, which I used for years when I had Palms. It worked great, once I got it set up. With HS, you enter everything you ever intend to buy at the store (takes a few hours over a couple of weeks, as you remember things to add). Before you go shopping, you check items off this master list (mine had 250+ items on it. I'm an avid cook). This creates a secondary list, which you can select, to go shopping. It has a place for the store aisle number and the list can be sorted by that number, and in other ways as well, As items are checked off the list, they go to the bottom of the list. When you're done, you click on "Checkout" and everything you've checked goes off the shopping list, but, of course, remains on the master list for the next trip. Very slick.

For now, I'm limited to a paper list at the store, until I decide what I'm doing smartphone wise.

In RTM, I'm going to create a list of grocery items as tasks. I'll tag all of them "shop". I'll also tag them with the store(s) where I buy them. I shop at several different stores - Costco for good prices on bulk items, King Soopers for the regular stuff, and another King Soopers during the week for occasional items. So the aisle numbers vary. So to start with, I'll use Priority to represent different sections of the store. P1 will be produce, P2 will be meat, P3 will be everything from the meat section over to the frozen foods, and P4 will be frozen foods to the other end of the store. Then, when I sort by Priority, the list will be in the order I shop in. And that system will apply to virtually any store.

If I decide I need something better, I can write down the aisle numbers next to the items on my paper list and them put them in front of the item description when I next update my list (E.g., 12 Tomato soup). Then I can sort by task name.

So after I check the items of the Completed Tasks list, I "Uncomplete" them, and print that list to take to the store. When I get back, it'll take a couple of minutes to mark everything I bought and "Complete" them. Then I'm ready for the next trip.

Sound feasible? Am open to suggestions.
Posted 8 years ago
jwhite.rtm says:
I created a post with my method here:
Posted 8 years ago
vihar says:
I agree with mas90guru; it MUST be simple, else it does not get used.

I use tags heavily, in a list called 'shopping'. There is a tag for each possible store (about four or five stores that I regularly visit), so an item is a separate task in this list, which looks like...

Bananas #asda #tesco #sainsbury

When actually shopping, I use the mobile web interface (which could be improved a lot) and select only the tag corresponding to the store I'm in, so no unnecessary items are visible - simple!

As I keep throwing items in the shopping trolley, I keep hitting 'complete' for that item. (this is where cdhsman's Palm feature of 'checkout' would be handy! - what if I abandon my shopping half-way?)

When I need the items again, I can 'uncomplete' those items in the shopping list and the tags are all retained - done!

As I use a Nokia E52, a S60 app would be awesome. You know there are some aisles in some stores where there's no signal, puff!
Posted 7 years ago
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