Introduction: Shopping List Origami

About: I'm a programmer analyst and SQL DB guy with a wonderful wife and two kiddos. Tastes and interests are wide and varied. JClouseau42 is a combination of two things: Jacques Clouseau (of the Pink Panther movies…

Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into animals or objects.  This check-list technique isn't exactly origami (or art for that matter), but I've found it extremely useful.

Before doing our weekly shopping, we invariably make a list. When actually doing the shopping I equally invariably forget to bring a pencil, pen, quill and ink pot, etc. to check off the list.  I needed to find a way to check off the list without actually writing on the list, thus was formed my paper-folding technique.

Step 1: The Basic Shopping List

We're not the best at putting lists in order of the item's occurrence in the store.  As with most busy families, we jot stuff down as we think of them.  Here's an example printed list to get us started.  I know that the Aspirin and Tooth Paste will be the first things I pick up in the store (being the first area I walk through), but those items are in the middle of this list.  Here comes the folding technique...

Step 2: The Mid-Fold

Starting with the most useful, and least obvious fold in our shopping list.  Having picked up the Aspirin and Tooth Paste, I make a fold below Toothpaste then fold the bottom portion of our list to cover up Aspirin.  Our list now reads exactly as before, but the two items we've picked up are now hidden from view and visually "checked off".

Step 3: The Top-Fold

Here's the obvious fold, I'd use this if my list were in order (but as I said it usually isn't).  Let's say we just picked up Eggs and Milk, we can make our fold below "Milk" and hide those top two items from sight.  Our visual list is getting smaller and less cluttered.  One more fold to go...

Step 4: The Bottom-Fold

Let's say we've continued our shopping and we've just picked up the Apples and Bananas.  We can now fold the bottom of the list up and cover those last two spots.  Our list has been completely simplified and only shows the last three items we need.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

Most of the time my list will look like this half-way though the trip.  Mid-folds, top-folds, and bottom folds combined.  Each fold hides more of the list making it less visually distracting and easier to see what we're missing.  No writing utensil required.

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