Shopping? Use Lists and Photos To Buy More In Less Trips

Shopping? Use Lists and Photos To Buy More In Less Trips

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Sarah Rae Smith
Aug 18, 2010

Over the last several weeks it feels as though I've spent more time at the local big box hardware stores than I actually have at home. When doing renovations and home repairs, it can feel like a home away from home, a place where fashion goes out the window and you eventually start helping customers yourself because you know the store like the back of your hand — and I'm saying enough is enough! This has to stop!

Even though there aren't many options when it comes to leaving the comforts of your home for the hardware store when the need arises, that doesn't mean I can't take a few extra precautionary steps to get the job done more efficiently.

If my husband and I had to guess the number of times we've been to Home Depot, Lowes or our local Ace Hardware just in the last week, it would probably fall in the 6-10 range. Sometimes it was the wrong size plumbing fixture or a part or piece we didn't even know we needed. Regardless of our reasons for going, there's a good chance we can make things a little easier on ourselves. Here's how:

• Research: By researching your project before you ever leave home from start to finish, you should be able to gain a basic knowledge of the tools and materials needed to take things on. Reference books and the internet are fabulous places to start. Check for how-to videos that will show real people using real tools so you have in idea of what to expect.

• Photos: Using your cell phone or digital camera, take pictures of the parts, numbers and pieces that you currently have (or what didn't work). That way when you head to the store, you have a better idea of what you'll need. You might be replacing an existing part (which we always suggest bringing to the store with you), or finding a corresponding one. Either way, photos will help you stay on track and can be great for size comparisons (especially if you photograph them next to a tape measure!).

• Make A List: Although this sounds like the most basic thing possible, it's extra easy not to do. You're covered in head to toe in drywall mud and you run out of tape to finish the project. Instinctively you run out the door to grab more so you can finish ASAP. If you keep a running list of supplies needed, when you bolt out the door, next time you can grab the list and pick up the few extra items that might be needed.

All of these things mean less time in the car, traffic and a smaller impact on our eco-footprint.

Image: Flickr member JoeBehrSoCal licensed for use by Creative Commons

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