Creating The Minimalist Kitchen

As you know, I like to consider myself a minimalist, but there are certainly areas of my life where I am not necessarily practicing  what I’m preaching. In fact, Melissa Coleman, author of The Minimalist Kitchen,” has shown me that when it comes to cooking and organizing, I have a lot to learn.

I first met Melissa when she was one of my private media training clients.

We got along straight away, as we’re both productive and practical people. Melissa’s speciality is helping you really think about the ingredients that your using as well as cutting back on an overflowing pantry. She’s like the Marie Kondo of the kitchen.

We spoke recently about all of her best minimalism tips in this video interview:

How it all started

Melissa had always been a competent cook but, after the birth of her daughter, things started to unravel:

“I had my daughter about … she’s five now, and the kitchen completely broke for me. I did not know how to get dinner on the dinner table. It was mind-blowing, and it got to the point that I looked over at my husband and I said ‘I’m going to either quit this space or fix it.’”

A big life change can often leave us having to re-evaluate the systems we have put in place.

What worked before will not always work forever.

So how did Melissa turn it around? She invented her own system.

“The Minimalist Kitchen was born. I love food, I love to eat, and so I wanted to preserve the dinner table. And getting back to the dinner table took a long time. It took making over my pantry. It took changing my shopping habits. It took convincing my husband to change his shopping habits.”

Of course, it’s important to not just find a style that works for you, but for those you live with too. Melissa saw her kitchen like a restaurant that needed to be managed.

“I’m the restaurant owner and I need to build the system for my employees. I don’t like that hierarchy, but just for an example. And it needs to work for my employees. Like, the snack bin for my five-year-old needs to be at a place she can reach it or she’s gonna scale the pantry and it’s gonna all fall apart.”

 

Fixing What’s Broken

When she was looking at what wasn’t working, Melissa started with her pantry.

“I had spilling bags of pasta and rice. I had every variety of rice, because different recipes call for different varieties.”

How many different types of rice do you have? How can you combat this? Melissa explains you have to pick just one.

“What you use most, or an ingredient that you really like how it performs. I imagine if you looked in your pantry there would be one rice that you pick up every time. Or when it runs out you replace that rice, even though you’ve got five other bags. Or, the same with pasta. There’s a bunch of different varieties of pasta, and I imagine that you go pick the same one.”

As much as I hate throwing stuff away – it’s true. There’s no point keeping things we never use.

Melissa recommends getting rid of everything at the back of your pantry and learning to work with what’s at the front – the items we use most.

 

The Concept of Negative Space

Melissa’s background in graphic design has inspired her minimalist quest.

“I am a graphic designer by trade and before that I was a painter. A technique or a philosophy or a tool that I always grabbed was negative space, and then when I became a designer they called it white space. I realized that what I’m doing now is what I was doing then. I am trying to minimize what’s around me in my physical space to create physical white space and mental white space. Just a space to breathe and think.”

Melissa also uses a lot of lists, like I do, in order to plan her meals for the week.

“I have to write down a meal plan. I have to not only write it down, I have to see it, so we have this huge chalkboard in our house that I write the meal plan on for the week. So as I’m going throughout my week, I see that list and then I make that list.I used to loathe dinnertime, and when I see that list, I know what to do, I know what to buy at the store. I just make dinner and it feels light. It feels easy and really doable, but prior to not having a list, trusting my brain, it was not working so well.”

If you feel like you need more help, be sure to check out Melissa’s book, “The Minimalist Kitchen. It features loads of great recipes that all use the same core ingredients -the kind of stuff you already probably have lying in your pantry. So you can spend less time shopping and more time cooking! My personal favorite is the take-out cashew chicken.

Melissa has something special coming up in the New Year. In January, she’s launching a deeper pantry cleanse tutorial. It’s taking the same concepts of the book, but taking a deeper dive, doing worksheets, really making it so practical so that you can completely makeover your kitchen. I’ll keep you posted on that because it’s something I need to do as well! We can do it together.

Check out this free shortcut for entrepreneurs

Some of you want to start your own business or are looking for your next big thing. Am I right?

I know this because you’ve told me through the years as you’ve followed my journey from full time producer to side hustler with my book Listful Thinking to full on entrepreneur with my media coaching and training business.

It’s been 6 months since I left my full time job as a senior health producer at Fox News Channel and believe me – I don’t have it all figured out.

But what I do know is that finding experts to give you shortcuts is the way to go.

I was invited to speak as a media expert at this year’s UpLEVEL Together Online Summit because getting media for your business can give you a credibility boost and bring eyeballs your way like nothing else.

It’s the global online summit for early-stage women entrepreneurs, I know many of you fall into this category or know someone who does!

From April 23rd – 27th, experts (including me) from around the world will be pouring their knowledge and practical tips into YOUR business! (or potential business)

Some pretty incredible women entrepreneurs are featured who have accomplished a lot in their careers, too. Here are a couple things you’ll learn:

– How to build a brand you love!

-How to create a scalable business model!

– How to get camera ready so you can maximize opportunities!

– How to get booked by media! (that’s my piece!)

– Why it’s important to develop a powerful company culture early!

– And much more!

This is an event you’re not going to want to miss! Afraid you can’t “be there”? Don’t worry!

The UpLEVEL Together Summit is a FREE, VIRTUAL online conference!

You don’t have to travel – the interviews come to you to you! They’ll be broadcast over the web, so you can watch from the comfort of home.

You can watch every speaker’s interview for 2 hours after it goes live. See the agenda for more details.

The Summit is hosted by my friend, fellow entrepreneur, Ginny Townsend.

She has over a decade strategic marketing experience and has helped organizations of all shapes, sizes and industries draw out their unique gold, as well as, understand where they’ve been holding themselves back in the marketplace.

Join me and 19 other experts at the UpLEVEL Together Summit. Grab your FREE ticket today!

In my talk I’ll be explaining how to get booked by the media – it’s not as complicated as it seems! My talk on Wed April 25th so be sure to tune in!

It’s Never Too Soon to Plan Weekends Away for the Summer

After all the bad weather we’ve been having lately, I’m really looking forward to the summer. So to help me lift my spirits and prepare for warmer days I’m bringing you the Summer Series. This blog post was inspired by my friend and regular reader, Sandra Keros. She’s a total expert on how to unplug and recharge.

In the last post Sandra explained how she takes little mini-destination breaks in the day to get out of her house and be inspired by the world around her. Read more

Plan Mini Destination Trips to Recharge and Rejuvenate

I recently wrote a post on the importance of making time for myself now that I work from home. When your home is also your office it’s not easy to make as clear boundaries with your time. In the comments section of that post a friend and regular reader, Sandra Keros, wrote  that she likes to plan mini destinations to get out of her head and out of her apartment. What a great idea!

Since I loved it so much I got in touch with Sandra to talk more about her mini destinations and what she does. This is what she had to say:

“As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about and working on your business around the clock. From time to time, a little recreation is necessary to give yourself a break, have some fun, and “recreate” your thinking on projects you’re working on. Read more

(VIDEO) Priorigami App Helps to Prioritize Your To-Dos

I’m always on the lookout for new list-making apps that do more than just store your lists. Helpful, productivity-based apps are not always that easy to come by. Which is why I was excited when I first discovered Priorigami.

The founder of the app, Monisha Longacre was inspired by her love of the Fitbit, and brought its goal-driven style to her productivity app. I was so impressed I arranged a video chat with Monisha to discuss her app and how it can help people prioritize their day.

Check out the video here, where we discuss the following:

  • 3:10 – How to stick to your priorities
  • 5:15 – Why completing your list should feel as good as when you complete your 10,000 steps on your Fitbit!
  • 6:45 – How to create a priority system
  • 8:30 – Finding the prioritization method that works best for you
  • 9:00 – The afternoon shuffle up, or why you should always take a moment to re-think your priorities.
  • 10:45 – How to deal with lingering tasks
  • 12:30 – The importance of breaking your lists down into steps
  • 13:20 Monisha’s top tip!

Priorigami is a free app – if you download the app let me know what you think!