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Non-Work Uses for Trello - Making a Pantry Board & Integrated Shopping List

Why is it that when we’re using the last jar/bottle/packet of something we don’t put it on the shopping list? I don’t know why! Is it just my house? Is it just the people who live in my house (including me) that are totally unable to add something to a shopping list when we’re using the last one?

fill up love GIF by Target

Why do we have shopping lists all over the place? The Apple Reminders App is a favourite in our family, I use Apple Notes as well, and we ALWAYS end up with scraps of paper around with random bits that we need on it! Why do we do this to ourselves?

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I’m fed up with going shopping with a shopping list that’s quickly cobbled together the night before we’re due to go shopping, at the dinner table, and missing things off it because we’ve forgotten we’re on the last one of something!

grocery store puppy GIF

At the moment, the UK is on lock-down and we’re only allowed out to get food shopping and for a daily 30-minute walk/run/ride. Along with this, we have restrictions on what we can buy at supermarkets, certain products are restricted to 1-2-3 of each product per household, it’s increasingly important to make sure that the shopping list is 100% right and up to date. We don’t want to be buying things we don’t need, and we don’t want to forget things that we’re running out of.  Because there are social distancing restrictions at supermarkets, that work on a 1-in-1-out basis, there are sometimes, very long queues outside, snaking around the carpark.

emperor penguin walking GIF by Nat Geo Wild

This means that a quick shop doesn’t happen anymore, what previously would have taken half an hour, now takes 45-minutes to queue before you even go into the shop, then we have to go around the shop carefully, making sure to stay 2 metres away from other shoppers.

Moreover, there appear to be some people who aren’t engaged in social distancing within supermarkets, so you have to be completely aware of people around you, so that even if they’re not social distancing, you can preempt their actions and you can social distance from them. With all that going on, the list we take with us, must be complete, because we don’t want to o this more than we absolutely have to!

Keep Your Distance Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon

I decided to make a board to keep on top of everything that we have in the house and make a note of when we’re on the last one in the house. 

So, I spoke to Hubster about it, because he’ll be the other one using the board. It’s far too much to hope that Dad will ever join me on Trello, so most things are down to the two of us! I would also point out, that I had no say in what the board was called! Hubster named it, nothing to do with me! ‘The Snack Shack’ - really?!

We decided that we wanted to have a list per area and some way of knowing when we were using the last of something. 

The areas we decided on were split into lists:

  1. Shopping list
  2. Fridge
  3. Freezers - Both
  4. Radiator Cupboard - Left
  5. Radiator Cupboard - Right
  6. Cereals & Shakes
  7. Baking Supplies & Juice
  8. Crisps, Chocolate & Biscuits
  9. Personal Care
  10. Cleaning Supplies

Then we put Custom Fields on the board with three Fields:

  1. No - this is where we put the number either we have, or the number that we buy
  2. Using last one - is a drop-down with only one option - Yes
  3. Shop - with a drop-down of all the shops we go to - there are some items that can be bought anywhere, Hovis bread for example, but there are some things, like my vegan Edam cheese, that can only be bought in a specific shop. 

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 11.04.48 (1).png

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 11.00.44 (1).png

Obviously, I had to have a Butler rule or two, otherwise, it wouldn’t be one of my boards!

I started having about 5 rules, but that would mean far too many actions and commands used per month out of my Butler quota, and this new board will probably end up using a LOT of my quota because of the number of cards there are on this board.

So I made a board button ‘To Get’ - which moves all cards where the Custom Field ‘Using Last One’ is set to ‘Yes’ to the ‘Shopping List’ list. That means that when we’re on the last of something, we can change the CF to ‘Yes’ and then the night before we’re due to go shopping, we have an accurate list of what we’re running out of. 

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 10.46.56 (1).png

I created labels for all the lists:

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 10.17.54 (1).png

Which means that I didn’t need to have a Butler command to move things back to where they came from (which would have used too many commands), by having a label, I can move the cards back to their originating lists (and sections within those lists) when we’ve bought them by hand. Mainly because the things we have in each list are staples, things we buy over and over again, so I decided that I was going to move them back in an old-fashioned way to ensure that the lists stayed intact.

For the eagle-eyed among you, you’ll notice that there isn’t a red label. This was done on purpose, as the ‘Using Last One’ ‘Yes’ is red, so I wanted to be able to make sure that the Butler rule worked moving everything we needed to get into the ‘Shopping List’ list. 

Some of the lists have separators, where they have more than one list of items:

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 10.29.27 (1).png

Now, it might not seem logical to have Baking Ingredients and Drinks in the same list, but they’re in the same area of the kitchen. It might not make sense to anyone else, but it makes perfect sense to us.

Remember, when you’re making your boards, they don’t need to make sense to the outside world, they need to do what you want them to do and be structured in a way that make sense to you!


So this is what my whole board looks like:

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 10.35.06 (1).png

You’ll also notice on the very right-hand side there’s a list for ‘Standard Recipes.’ Each card in this list represents a meal that we have regularly:

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 10.37.43 (1).png

I did this because I have a habit of forgetting vital bits of the meal, like always forgetting spring onions for the potato salad! I have to make my own potato salad, because I’m lactose intolerant, and all pre-made potato salads have ingredients that I can’t eat.

When we’re planning on having a specific meal, I can move that card over to the Shopping List, to make sure that we have all the individual ingredients for that meal. 

This board was started last night, so there’s not a lot on it yet. My plan is to go through all the cupboards and freezers (we have 3), to see what we have, how many of each thing and where they are. That way, we will have a complete inventory of what we have, and how many of everything we have.

I’m also using the Shopping List list to add random things that we wouldn’t buy regularly, as you can see at the moment, I want a new sponge for the shower. That’s in the Shopping List because it’s not something we’d buy every shopping trip, but it’s something we need at the moment. 

Does anyone else use Trello as an inventory and shopping list? I know that many people use a list within a board as a shopping list, usually on a board that they use a lot. But had anyone else gone to this kind of extreme?! I’d love to know!



This is brilliant. I bought the app Paprika several years ago and have been using it to store recipes. It has a "pantry" feature where you're supposed to keep inventory of things that you have, so that when you add a recipe to your grocery list it removes those items.

I like that feature a lot, but Paprika is way too clunky/involved for me to use for day-to-day meals. For that list to be "accurate," I'd have to have a recipe for the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches I make myself while half awake. ;) I might try a slightly more simplified version of this board for my partner and I!

(Staying super organized on the grocery front = less trips to the grocery store = better for our community right now!)

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Esme Crutchley Community Leader Apr 20, 2020

I agree @Samie Kaufman - Your Gal at Gliffy - anything that makes life a little easier right now is good.

Because we now have to shop for meals, rather than being able to go to the shop on the way home from work every day and pick up what we fancy, I needed to be more organised!

Because there are restrictions on the number of certain items we can buy, we have to get creative in meal planning, and being able to see exactly what we've got and what we need to make a specific dish, so that we only buy what we actually need. It's a bit of a culture shock, but if it's keeping everyone safe and fed, then it's the best thing we can do!

Brittany Joiner Community Leader Apr 20, 2020

Wow i love this! I've tried a less exciting version of this - basically just a list for meals I'm planning and recipes, and then a list for shopping items that i can update as I run out of things throughout the week. But i love this approach and the customization and automation! Well done.

Esme Crutchley Community Leader Apr 20, 2020

Thanks @Brittany Joiner 

We can't really do one for meal planning because we never know what's going to be available in the shop and what isn't. So we have a general idea of what we might like to cook and a list of what we've actually run out of, which is the best we can do at the moment!

Maybe when the lockdown is over it might be a little bit easier, but even then we've tried meal planning before but it doesn't work because we always end up fancying different things than what we planned!

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Brittany Joiner Community Leader Apr 20, 2020

@Esme Crutchley oh yeah that totally makes sense - meal planning has been quite an adventure over here as we can go with an idea of what we want but often have to find substitutes. So "planning" is definitely more of an aspirational sort of approach on my part 😂

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Iain Dooley Community Leader Apr 23, 2020

@Esme Crutchley rock on! I made a "Meal Plan" board in the days of Butler Bot that would actually compile the shopping list including quantities from checklist items, so when I ran the Siri shortcut "Go Shopping" it would compile a full shopping list including quantities. Rather than checking off things as they're used up, I opted to create the full list based on meal plan, then run through the list and see what we already have, checking it off and leaving just those things we need to buy.

Then there are certain things that we use up and put on the shopping list on a case-by-case basis, those are generally things that we buy occasionally or that don't fit into a meal plan, and I created a Siri short cut for adding those to the list. I found that trying to add "Tomatoes" to the list when we ran out of tomatoes, even though we buy them every week because they're used in a bunch of meals, was impractical.

The problem in Butler Bot was that to achieve the "looping through" I had to use scripts in a loop, that took a really really long time to run. I eventually rewrote the same thing in Trellinator, so now we can do the meal plan for the week, creating cards for each instance of a meal and have the correct quantities compile (you can also designate a meal "leftovers" so it's in the plan but doesn't contribute to the quantities so you can cook in bulk). Here's what mine looks like:

2020-04-24 at 9.47 am.png

We haven't had too much trouble getting our hands on the ingredients we normally need due to Covid19, but we generally just leave it up to the person doing the shopping to make substitutions on the fly if required.

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Esme Crutchley Community Leader Apr 23, 2020

OMG @Iain Dooley that's amazing!

We're rubbish at meal planning, and it's even harder at the moment, as you're only allowed to buy, for example, three fresh meat products at a time, so if we want to cook spaghetti bolognese, fajitas and burgers (which Hubster makes from scratch), that's all three of our meat allocation. So we've had to get a bit creative!

I run the 'shopping' board button the night before we're due to go shopping and that puts everything we're running out of in the Shopping List, then we sit down and work out what we actually want to have for dinner, and move things across that didn't automatically go into the list. It works at the moment, I can't guarantee that it'll always work, but it's helping us muddle through right now!

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Just passing by to say how amazing this board is @Esme Crutchley thanks for all these insights and application <3

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Esme Crutchley Community Leader May 01, 2020

Thank you so much @Fernando Ticon 

I'm glad you liked it


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