When you live in a big city or urban area, you do so much walking. If you are like me, you try to avoid a trip to the parking garage while lugging your sweet, definitely cooperating, offspring to the car. If you do decide to face that arduous journey, you end up sitting on a packed street while everyone beeps their horns at one another and right hand turns are impossible to make. A sanity saving solution is to walk and sometimes that includes shopping trips. With littles in tow, this can seem challenging. Fear not, I am here to help you navigate this task car free.

Bags

Collect your own stock of reusable shopping bags. You will want canvas or cotton ones as well as one or two insulated bags, especially in the summer heat. You can keep them all stored inside the largest bag to save on space. If you live in a condo or apartment with limited storage space, this is key! Reusable shopping bags are a bit softer and easier to manipulate into a small space, like a stroller basket. You can usually fit more items in some of the larger bags than a traditional sized grocery bag, plastic or paper. Often, stores offer a small discount per bag if you bring your own bags. Some states and cities charge an extra tax for using paper or plastic bags. If you bring your own you eliminate that tax and you save yourself some dimes!

Stroller

Depending on your model or how many children you have, this tip may be very useful. If you have a kickboard on your stroller for an older child to stand on, use this to your advantage. When you roll up to the store, grab one of their hand baskets and plop that down on the kickboard. If an older kid must walk a little, well it builds character and muscle, or so I tell my six year old. If you have a walking toddler and they are on their best listening behavior that day, (a mom can dream, right?) you can release them from their restraints, I mean seat, and let them walk around with you. If all the stars align perfectly, you now have the stroller basket, the stroller seat, and the store’s basket on the kickboard for your items.

Simplicity

Keep it simple. You have limited space and need to push that bad boy all the way home. This is where lists really come in handy. Show up with one and stick to it. The lack of space in your stroller and the terrifying thought of having to carry a bunch of bags on your person as you struggle to push a fully loaded stroller with 30 pound toddler in it, should be enough to remind you to avoid too many impulse buys. There you go, saving money yet again!

Going Home

Now it is time to check out. You have handed over your pile of shopping bags, loaded the belt up, wrangled the squirmy toddler back into their stroller seat, and if an older child is with you, surely they are calmly and politely standing at your side, not begging for candy. Once you have applied your bag discount and saved your dimes, it is time to load up that bad boy and get a move on home. The kickboard will come in handy again (seriously even if you do not have an older child it might be worth getting one just for shopping purposes!) It provides an additional spot for a bag. I usually put my larger insulated bag on it, because it sits nicely. You can fill up your stroller basket with your remaining bags. If you need more space and do not want to carry a bag or two on your person, invest in a larger carabiner hook. You can clip it to your stroller handle and have one more spot for a bag.

Bonus

This weighted walk home definitely counts as a workout! You are doing cardio and strength training simultaneously. Feel free to collapse on the couch when you get home and let the items chill for a minute. You have earned it.

While these tips are not foolproof, and sometimes the stars do not align perfectly, (toddlers have cranky days or your older child insists on checkout candy), they are at the very least a jumping ground to help you shop a little easier while enjoying city living. With this plan, you can at least predict that you are prepared to get your goodies home. Little victories!