In the early time of the pandemic, I’m afraid I went a little grocery-crazy. Perhaps because of a general sense that we might run out of various items on a national scale, and perhaps because all the other stores were closed and this was my only shopping outlet, I shocked myself with the sheer quantity of groceries I kept bringing home.

I don’t really have regrets about that (the Nutella served me well!), but as things start to slowly move in a direction that feels more normal, I’ve been surveying my cluttered cupboards with dismay. Over the next few weeks, I’m planning to buy nothing but essentials and see what I can do creatively with what’s already in my pantry, and am excited to gather tips from Rebecca Corgan on this very practice in a piece this week at Verily on making a low-waste kitchen. It’s a salutary practice for anyone, but as this unusual time unfolds, many of us are finding ourselves un- or under-employed, so reducing waste is more important than ever. Marissa Mullins has great tips for navigating underemployment—both for finding a new job and for making the most of that sometimes-difficult stage in life—in a piece this week about her experience, and Laura Vanderkam has wise words to offer about working at home.

As we settle in after a very unusual summer to live a (hopefully!) more normal life at home for this new school year, I hope Verily can accompany you in making every day a bit more peaceful, effective, and useful.

When is a time you successfully made the most of what you had? Tell us here