People Can’t Get Over This Vintage Metal Grocery List and We Want One Immediately

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How nifty is this retro shopping list?

I find that after a long day, perusing the aisles at Trader Joe’s or looking for Aldi finds can be therapeutic. But other days, I probably want to shop quickly, picking up what I need and not wasting a second.

Either way, I can’t forget my well-organized grocery list. I know making a list is important, but I don’t like going through the pantry and cupboards to see what we’re out of before I add it to the list and head out. Inevitably, I’m going to forget we’re out of cereal—and not remember until we’re ready for breakfast the next morning.

In the ’40s, or possibly as early as the ’20s,  someone came up with an ingenious solution to this problem: a mechanical shopping list to hang in the kitchen. It was easy to see when the pantry was low on essentials!

This Reddit user came upon one and posted it:

How Does It Work?

Next to each etching, there are bendable metal tabs. If you were to use a vintage metal shopping list like this, you would start by making sure all the tabs are either flattened or bent in the same direction. Then, once you’ve run out of, say, bacon, you simply bend the tab the other way. Easy enough, right?

Now, we know this list might be the bare minimum for some households. Where’s the oat milk and Cheez-Its? This metal list isn’t customizable, so it might not cut it for today’s pantries. Still, you have to admit that seeing “catsup” on the list is endearing.

Where to Find a Vintage Metal Shopping List

You can find metal shopping lists on Etsy and at flea markets or garage sales. It looks like some of them are labeled in French and German, though. Not the most functional, but it will still look great on your wall.

These vintage metal shopping lists do make fun decorations—if you like the antique look, that is. Hung securely on the wall, they’d make great additions to the kitchen or pantry in your home.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.