The 1 Habit That Will Make You Happy to Cook

POPSUGAR Photography | Sisilia Piring
POPSUGAR Photography | Sisilia Piring

I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. Sometimes there's nothing I'd rather do than find a recipe that speaks to me, shop for it, and spend the evening cooking a meal entirely from scratch. Other times, you couldn't pay me enough to turn on my stove and cook dinner, especially after a long day at work. I've always loved food and was fortunate enough to grow up in a household where my mom cooked for a family of six almost every single night, and learning from her helped me develop my own interest in cooking later in life. And now that I'm (sort of) an adult and living on my own, I still consider cooking one of my favorite things, but it's so easy to fall into a no-cooking rut and turn to takeout, ice cream, and other definitely-not-Mom-approved meals. When my bank account and sluggish state remind me what a huge mistake that can be, I remember something very simple that reignites my inspiration to cook:

People who cook often keep a really, truly clean kitchen.

If I come home at night and there are dishes piled in the sink, pots on the stove, and clutter all over the kitchen counter, my immediate response is to cringe. Cooking sounds like torture at that point, and there's nowhere I'd rather be than outside of my kitchen (which, for me, is nearly impossible because I live in a studio). But if I open the door to a shining, spotless kitchen, my first reaction is to open the refrigerator and get excited to turn on the burner and get cooking. That's when I'm reminded of how relaxing and fun cooking can be.

Cooking on a regular basis is easier said than done, so when I really want to get back into the routine, there are two important things I keep in mind.

1. Clean dishes immediately after using them.

My famous last words after cooking dinner are, "I'll just relax for a while before cleaning the kitchen." Does that ever work out? Nope, and then I wake up to a dirty kitchen, and the cycle starts all over again. This pattern has caused me to waste so much food that I swore I'd use but ended up neglecting. So as soon as I'm done eating, I keep in mind that I'll thank myself later if I clear the sink of every dirty dish, wipe the counter of every crumb, and put away every bulky kitchen tool before going to bed.

2. Prioritize grocery shopping on Sunday.

Grocery shopping on Sunday means setting yourself up for cooking success for the entire week. Not only do you end up saving a lot of money that you would've spent eating out, but you get excited about recipes to try out. I like to make a grocery list, go shopping, and then come home and clear my refrigerator and cabinets of any old food before putting the new stuff away. Clean kitchen + full fridge = happy cook.