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.

Do This Gut-Check With Your To-Do List

It’s official!

It’s been one year since I became a full-time entrepreneur! Do you believe it? Wow!

In that time I’ve really honed in on what I really want to do in my business and what I can best leave to others.

I also launched a new website for my media strategy and training services at PaulaRizzo.com to let the world know what I’m doing! And I’m really proud of it.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in this year is to do what I call a “gut-check move.”

That’s made all the difference for me and it’s something you can do with your to-do list today! Read more

Forget FOMO and Embrace the “Joy of Missing Out”

You’ve probably heard of the term FOMO or “fear of missing out” – possibly in the context of someone making fun of millenials who say things like “I can’t believe I’m not going to Coachella this year I have so much FOMO”.

But it’s not just millennials who have this problem!

I used to get FOMO and it drove me a little crazy.

I couldn’t say no to any networking event or opportunity without feeling that if I didn’t go I would not only miss out, but be negatively affecting my business or the launch of my book.

We have this weirdly held belief among entrepreneurs that just around the corner is our big break or big meeting that can turn everything around. We just have to go to enough events or connect with the right people to find it.

It’s technically true but it can drive you insane. Or in my case make your appendix burst.

It’s time we started to admit the truth. Read more

An Easy Exercise to Help You From Drowning in Lists

In just a few days my bud and business partner Terri Trespicio and I will be headed to the Speak to Sell conference with Lisa Sasevich in Florida. Whoo hoo – can’t wait for some sun! It’s been a long winter.

After the conference my husband and I are heading to Miami for a few days of vacation and a chance for us to check out for a little bit! (Plus to celebrate our wedding anniversary – 9 years!)

As exciting as this all is, it means I’ve got several lists going all at once.

  • Lists for the conference
  • Lists for my vacation (altho I’ll still be working)
  • Lists for everything I have to catch up on before I go

I feel a bit like I’m drowning in lists.

It’s times like these that I have to step away from my usual tactic of just getting things done and zoom out a bit. – Otherwise I get too wrapped up in the small stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to do a workshop training with Ali Brown. She’s an amazing coach for entrepreneurs and she interviewed me for her podcast “Glambition Radio” about my book “Listful Thinking” a while back.

One of the things she taught in this creativity workshop was how to shift your focus. And it involved buying magazines! (My guilty pleasure!)

The idea is to go to a store and get yourself a magazine you would never normally read, which for me could be on something like golf or surfing or the National Geographic. But for you it could be anything that you wouldn’t consider yourself to be interested in.

Now when you read that magazine you have to be a completely objective outsider. The actual content is not that important to you so you can focus on the way they get their message across.  How do they engage with their readers.

So how does this help your list making efforts?

It can give you loads of idea for your own creative output and how you actually get things done. Can you be more creative about the way that you outsource? But also – stepping outside of our usual routine (it’s scary, I know) can actually spark great ideas and allow you to get more done. It will actually make you more productive and help utilize parts of your brain that might have been a bit sleepy til now.

They say you can travel all around world, but you can never escape yourself. Well that’s not strictly true. The magazine exercise allows you to take a break from your own mind and usual way of thinking and take a vacation in someone else’s hobby for a bit – and who knows what you might take away!

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Join Me For a Popup Productivity Power Hour

We’re just a few days away from spring – it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your productivity style!

What’s working and what could use a little help?

Maybe you hit the ground running when the New Year started and now you’re losing steam on your projects.

Or perhaps you have a list of new things you want to do but haven’t gotten to yet. (Like your book, or your laundry?)

And what about your email? Maybe that’s overwhelming you again?

One of the best ways I’ve found to keep motivated and productive is to get a little accountability nudge!

So I’m thrilled to offer a “Popup Productivity Power Hour” just for you!

On this group video call I’ll laser coach you on whatever productivity woe is getting in your way of being more efficient. Plus you’ll get to meet fellow list lovers and bounce ideas off each other.

Many of you have done this kind of accountability coaching with me in the past and I’ve been told it’s one of your favorite things that I’ve offered.

So I’m doing it again! Read more