We had the good fortune of connecting with Allison Almond and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allison, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
I’ve been a realist with my child. When my child was about 9 years old I got so tired of “Mommy, can we buy this toy or get this item?” while standing in line at check out. I had so much on my mind, that I was not looking at the toys or extra items, because they were extra items – not in the budget. So one day, I wrote out my budget of my expenses, and when they are due. Then on a different paper I wrote out a calendar and filled in what bill is due on what days. Then, I showed how about each week a major bill is due and how I fill my work calendar to pay all the bills. Then I showed my then 9 year old my bills and my work calendar. Then I talked about what happens on days that she tells me she needs a school supply or cupcakes for school, how I have to subtract that necessary item from the money made that week, and how much more I have to work to make up for that item, to make sure that week’s bill is paid. That explanation of where the money comes from and where it goes, and why I have to work harder the first two weeks of the month, and why I take my days off towards the end of month all made sense. Now, when I get some extra unexpected money in, I ask my now 12 year old kid, “How should we spend it?” She grabs my monthly budget planner and looks to see where we are in the month, what has been paid or not. Then she allocates the money to go into savings, paying a bill, and then about $10-$20 towards doing something fun like go to the discount movie theater. She has completely stopped asking for toys, or things at check out, she knows what we are buying is a necessary item and anything extra will mess with the budget.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a expert professional home & garage organizer. I go into cluttered spaces, and my client just feel so overwhelmed. They don’t know where to begin, and that it is too much to do. So they close the door and avoid that space. They are ready to purge and so I come in, create an action plan and then execute it. It has not been easy, people are very attached to their items, both the sentimental and the practical aspects. They feel obligated to keep something their Mother-in-Law gave them, if they get rid of it, their Mother-in-Law might stop loving them. So they keep it, hate the item, but don’t want to deal with hurt feelings from their Mother-in-Law. Or they keep it “just in case”. I address both issues. We get the Mother-in-Law on the phone and explain the situation, we both say how much we love the Mother-in-Law and thank her for giving us the item, but that we need to get rid of it to make space or we want to gift it to another person that will enjoy it. Mother-in-Law gives us the okay to do that and she still loves everyone. OR I find out why they are saving the items for “just in case” instead of using it now. If they cannot tell me a good reason why they are not using it now, it gets donated and they can re-buy at a later time. How I stand apart from other organizers, is I’m more of a minimalist in the sense that I don’t like bins, or buying things to hold things. I like to slim down their items down to what they REALLY need. Like no one needs 12 pairs of scissors. I let them keep (5) and they can tell me why these are the best, the sharpest, the best fit into their hand, and we donate the rest. To me to buy a cute basket to keep the 12 scissors is silly and doesn’t really accomplish true organization. I also do all the donation, hazardous materials, eWaste, and trash hauling myself in my truck. When I finish a project, I don’t want to leave any tasks for my clients to do. I just fill my truck and take care of it, and if I have to do multiple trips – I just do it, it is usually included in the estimate.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So I know Southern California is known for it’s beaches and In & Out Burgers; but I’m not a fan of the typical tourist spots, in fact I loathe traffic and especially beach summer traffic. I would take them to botanical gardens: * Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar. They have Cafe Jardin to sit and eat at, and you can stroll through all their various gardens to see unique flowers and plants. * Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia. They have an Happy Hour of drinking and walking around or evening Forest Bathing, a guided tour through the forest to connect with your senses in the trees. * The Fullerton Arboretum is in Fullerton. Well, they are closed at the moment because of Covid-19, but they have a bench next to a pond, and lots of gardening classes on learning to can veggies to making floral arrangements. Next, we would hit all the cool sunset spots: * The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente. You can sit outside on the dock and watch the sunset and the water is below you. It gets cold quickly because of the on shore breeze, so dress warmly, or bring a coat. * Victoria Beach (Laguna Beach) We call it Pirate Tower, it was built in 1926 as an enclosed stairway from the house up on top of the beach. (google it for the images) If there is time, I will take them to Oak Glen, CA for apple donuts, and to drive around the short 5 mile section of the road filled with apple orchards and farms, shops, restaurants, nature trails, and historical landmarks. I personally enjoy the small shops and talking to the locals. When we go to Snowline Orchard & Winery for fresh made friend apple donuts, then we go to the next spot which is Holy Honey Company. We restock on flavored honeys for yogurt, marinating chicken, and for just eating. Then we go to Los Rios Farm and there is a wild life preserve and a park to enjoy some sit down time. Then we go to Mom’s Country Orchard and it is a general store with fresh baked bread, eggs, and homemade jams and butters. We sample a few, and then purchase everything our hearts desire.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out to Orange County Mom Collective’s owner & founder Maria Hoey. She might not know it, but being a part of this mom blog in my area really helped me step out of my comfort zone. I know that I had dreams and ideas for my business, but didn’t know how to harness it. I have written a few posts for the blog, but connecting with her directly as my sounding board and letting me be sponsors for various events really helped me be known within our area and given me confidence to run with ideas – even when I’m not sure it will even work! Maria is so talented and tender hearted, she really loves a lot of people and wants to help the community. The blog has helped her be known and let her have a voice to share what’s important to her. At times, she thinks people are just her friend because she owns a blog, but I feel the blog has allowed those us to get closer to her on a deeper level.