We have all gone to grab the carton of milk from the fridge and discovered that the empty container is sitting in the fridge, or worse, it is gone and no one told you. Make a family rule that if someone uses the last of something, they need to write it down on the list. And even younger children can learn to tell an adult if they just had the last yogurt for their afternoon snack.
While busy moms often keep stock in reserve – such as three cartons of milk in the fridge for the week – seeing milk on the list twice already will give you the heads up to check and see if the milk is low or just-opened, and help you judge if you will need to make a quick trip to the store before the milk runs out.
Likewise, the list can help you see if your daughter finished the box of her favorite cereal and a new box is in order, or if the apples are already all eaten.
Expect some misses in the beginning as the family gets used to the routine. Or make a list of those items that are frequently used up without you knowing, so they can make a check mark next to those they polished off.
It will also save you from buying things you don’t need, when you notice something while shopping and think “Oh, I better pick up a couple extra jars of spaghetti sauce” only to discover you have 8 of them sitting in your pantry when you get home.