random adviceThis really feels like LifeHacker advice, but trust me: this will save you hours of frustration and countless forgotten items.

groceriesRather than use a sheet of blank paper to make a grocery list, start with a pre-printed list of all the things you would normally buy. Then just mark the things you need. Not only is it faster, but you’re much more likely to remember that you’re almost out of toothpaste and gin.

In our house, we keep the list as a spreadsheet in Google Docs. We have specific brands and aisle numbers noted so that either of us can get exactly the right thing.

The same technique works for packing lists. Make a list of everything you’re likely to need for any generic trip, then indicate quantities and special requirements. Do this, and you’ll remember to take both your prescriptions and your phone charger.

To get you started, here are .pdfs for our grocery and packing lists. I strongly encourage you to fashion your own in Excel, Numbers or Google Docs. Keep them up-to-date and handy.