My 6 Rules for Loading a Cart at Aldi (I Shop There Every Week)

published Apr 16, 2024
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If doing household chores and running errands are an inevitable part of your week, why not approach those everyday tasks with intention? I prefer to get these done in a way that feels efficient and organized (it’s part of my personality). While you might approach the same tasks in your own way, maybe we can learn something from each other. 

As a recipe developer, I spend a lot of time attending to the not-so-glamorous aspects of the job like loading the dishwasher and grocery shopping. Strolling the aisles of grocery stores has become so commonplace to me that I didn’t even realize how particular I am about the way I load my cart, until I started rearranging groceries that my husband haphazardly tossed in. He got a good laugh out of it, which is how I noticed the specific way I load my cart was especially evident when I shop at Aldi. 

Aldi’s checkout experience is unique to the store and gets to the very heart of what makes this mini market so unique. As I’ve become an avid Aldi shopper these past few years, I’ve switched up my cart stocking strategy to adapt to the quickfire speed and cart-swapping experience of the store’s checkout process. Here are my tips for how to best load your grocery cart. 

Credit: Jeff Bukowski/Shutterstock

1. Always (always!) grab a cart. 

This might seem obvious, but even I’m guilty of running in for just an item or six and end up standing in line, arms overloaded with my favorite Aldi staples, like honey-vanilla yogurt and three loaves of Italian bread, among others. Aldi’s super-speedy checkout is dependent upon every shopper swapping their shopping cart with the next in line. While there are often extra carts for cashiers to grab in a pinch, you can help things move smoothly by shopping with a cart from the start. 

2. Group shelf-stable and “AOS” items in the front.

The items in the center aisles of Aldi, including the ever-changing Aisle of Shame, are packed in sturdy boxes, bags, and cans that can easily be nestled together to maximize cart space. I like to position these groceries toward the front of my cart so that they are among the first items I unload onto the cashier’s conveyor belt. After scanning them, the cashier stacks those sturdy items on the bottom of the next cart, with no risk of crushing more delicate groceries. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

3. Stash eggs and bread in the upper basket.

The bakery aisle is at the front of the store, and simply tossing loaves into the cart is just asking for smashed bread. Same goes for the eggs, which are stocked just around the corner. The best spot for these delicate items is in the protected upper basket. This placement also guarantees I’ll unload them last, and the cashier will place both on top of all other items and not the other way around.

4. Do keep meats down under and away from everything else.

The meat section is usually at the back of the store, and if you stash those buys in the main part of the cart, you run the risk of cross-contamination. The safest spot for raw meat is the bottom of the cart. Separating meat from the rest of the groceries means you can strategically unload it whenever there’s a good (and food-safe) spot for the cashier to ring them up.

5. Chill cold items together in the back.

Aldi’s fridge and freezer sections are some of my favorite areas of the store to shop. I make sure to pick up the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, frozen chicken quinoa bowls, and more every time I go. I load all refrigerated items into the back of the cart together. I like to think that proximity helps keep these items colder than if they were spread out while I finish my shopping. Plus, once they’ve been rung up and I’m left to bag everything up, it’s easy to transfer all of the chilled groceries into cooler bags for the drive home. 

Credit: Patty Catalano

6. Never forget to sort discounted items — of all kinds — together.

There is one small caveat to all of this organization, and that has to do with the round, red discount stickers. Aldi’s cashiers have to manually key in these extra discounts, so I load (and unload) those items into the cart together, regardless of what department I find them in. I usually stash these finds in the back of the cart, so that they are among the last things to be unloaded. This way, I can glance at the bottom of the receipt to track whether the discounts have been applied or not by being able to look at a single section of the receipt.

Do you load your cart in a specific way? Share your tips in the comments below.