Welcome to our Healthy Habit Challenge! Instead of focusing on (impossible-to-keep) New Year’s resolutions, we’re challenging four writers to start a new healthy habit. These challenges aren’t about cutting out sugar or going on a diet, or focused on the negative. They’re about doing something new and good — and making it second-nature.
Everyone wants their kitchen clean and organized, and I have plenty of incentive to keep ours that way: My husband and I love to cook, we’re Airbnb hosts (meaning random people come and go in search of coffee and corkscrews), and I work from home with my laptop at the kitchen counter.
We’ve also become a one-income family since my husband was laid off and returned to school full time, so the kitchen is more important than ever. Because we can’t afford to go out, we cook — often from scratch because that’s more affordable and we have the flexibility. Why not buy the dried beans instead of canned when we’ve got that shiny Instant Pot I bought on Prime Day back when we had two incomes?
But when I don’t remember where I stashed it, and don’t know if the beans are any good because the bag has been open for who knows how long, it’s a recipe for a squabble. When I buy another mustard because I didn’t see one in our fridge, but whoops, there are already two, that’s cause for an argument over grocery budgets.
Despite all the reasons to have an organized kitchen, we actually live at the edge of chaos. In my peripheral vision as I sit at my counter is unopened mail, dishes drying, tangled charging cords, a box of crackers, and too much other mayhem to mention. I’m stressed just writing this! So it’s time to take back the kitchen; to make this late Victorian-era kitchen work for us in 2017; to have a comfortable, clean space where we can work, cook, entertain, and host; and really, to feel like grown-ups who can handle the responsibility of a house we only half jokingly call Downton.