Another day, another amazing new NEAT girl! We can hardly believe how many wonderful women are joining the NEAT family, we keep pinching ourselves.
Portland, it's your turn to get NEAT with Allison Gross!
NM :: Tell us why you wanted to run NEAT in your city.
AG :: I love organizing, and I love making people happy. Finding a career that allows me to do both is a dream come true! Organizing has a very therapeutic effect on me. I also love sharing my understanding of organizing and teaching others.
NM :: Sounds like the perfect job for you! What did you do before running NEAT?
AG :: Most recently, I had a short-lived stint as an elementary school teacher. Before that I worked in fashion. I was a visual merchandiser for Nordstrom and a personal shopper for Anthropologie. I have always been drawn to jobs that allow me to make aesthetically pleasing visual spaces and work directly with customers. I had a true desk job for one year in New York City and I just hated it! I need to move around and interact with people, not just stare at a computer screen all day.
NM :: So you lived in NYC for a bit, how long have you lived in Portland?
AG :: I moved to Portland 7 years ago and never looked back! I am originally from New Jersey, but I feel more at home here. I love the people, the lifestyle, and of course the food! I recently moved to SE Portland and I'm just loving life on the east side of the river.
NM :: Portland is often described as eccentric, what do you think makes your city unique?
AG :: Portland is growing and changing so fast! Since I arrived 7 years ago, it has already evolved so much. The people who live here, both life-timers and transplants, really love their city and are proud of it. I also love that in about 90 minutes or less, you can be at the beach, on top of a mountain, at a waterfall or in wine country. There is something for everyone here and the opportunities are endless! People are also genuinely happy and friendly, and it is contagious. They have the friendliest grocery stores I have ever been to… if you are having a bad day, just go food shopping and you'll instantly feel better!
NM :: We may need to try that! Speaking of shopping, what are your favorite places to shop in your city?
AG :: My favorite local shops include The Yo! Store, Alder & Co., and Canoe for accessories, clothing and small home goods. The Bull & The Bee is my favorite spot for all the kiddos and babes in my life. Powell's City of Books is a Portland landmark and I just love to get lost in there! I have a 3-book max that I'm allowed to buy each time I go. Some other favorites of mine for gifts or home goods are Made Here PDX, Rejuvenation, Cargo and Porch Light. My favorite place to shop for my pup, Oliver the Goldendoodle, is Pet Loft or Lexi Dog.
NM :: Sounds like there are a ton of choices! What about your favorite places to eat?
AG :: If you know Portland, this is a very difficult question to answer! The food scene in Portland is on fire and it feels like it just keeps getting better. My favorite daytime/cafe spots are JoLa Cafe in John's Landing and Tea Bar on SE Division. My favorite restaurants are constantly evolving. Most recently I tried Kachka and Farmhouse Kithen Thai Cuisine and loved both. Some classic favorites include Nostrana, Piazza Italia, Andina and Ava Gene's. For a more casual dining experience I love going to the Hawthorne Cartopia and Pine Street Market. For dessert and treats my go-tos are Salt & Straw Ice Cream and Petunia's Bakery. Another great food spot is the Saturday Farmer's Market at PSU. I love to cook at home too, so this is where I pick up my favorite organic produce, some salami or sausages at Olympia Provisions, cheeses from Ancient Heritage Dairy and the most beautiful flowers!
NM :: Looks like we need to visit ASAP! What do you think is going to be your favorite part of running NEAT Portland?
AG :: I think connecting with my fellow Portlanders and helping people find peace in their homes will be my favorite part of running NEAT. I love watching the effect organizing just one space can have on a person. It starts to spread to all other areas in their lives!
NM :: So, as an organzer, we have to ask… what's your most organized space?
AG :: I just moved form a 1,700 square foot space into a 700 square foot space and I had to get a little creative about where I stored everything. I am really proud of my organization of the awkward bathroom storage. Using the right sized bins and propertly labeling everything has made this space so easy to use and find specific items I need.
NM :: Nice work! And since nobody's perfect… what is your least organized space?
AG :: At the moment, my least organized space is my one "dump bin" in my otherwise very neat Kallax Ikea storage unit. It is filled with things I used while moving and it is on my to-do list to clean out and find proper homes for everythig in it! I also need to reorganize all of my clothing. They are neat, but I don't think I'm taking full advantage of all the spaces in both closets. This is another thing on my to do list!
NM :: What can people expect when they hire you to organize their home?
AG :: They can expect the utmost respect, professionalism and most importantly, no judgement. Inviting someone into the messiest part of your life can seem a little scary, but all I care about is turning that space into something that you are proud of – maybe even something you want to show off! Your home is a private space and allowing me into it is an honor! I love meeting new people and learning from others and their experiences. It's important to remember that I am there to make you happy and to help create solutions!
NM :: What is your favorite product to use to organize things?
AG :: I have a slight obsession with hooks. A good hook in the right place can solve any problem! I also love to add shelving to awkward spaces to maximize the space available.
NM :: What blogs do you think we NEED to follow?
AG :: My all time favorites are The Kitchn for the most amazing, yet easy to follow recipes, and their sister website Apartment Therapy for home inspiration. Some other bloggers I like to follow are Lee from America, Something Navy, Styled by Emily Henderson and my sister-in-law just turned me onto Cup of Jo.
NM :: Besides your love for organizing, do you have any hidden talents that we should know about?
AG :: My mom is French and grew up in France. Thanks to my grandmother, I was brought up speaking both French and English. Due to my upbringing, I love to travel and can get a little antsy if I've gone too long without a trip. In the last couple of years I have been so fortunate to see some pretty wonderful places including Iceland, Thailand, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Maine and Minnesota.
NM :: We've got a well-traveled lady on our hands! Is there anything else you think we need to know?
AG :: I am so incredibly honored to be joining the NEAT Method family and to bring NEAT to Portland, OR! Organizing is something that has always come so naturally to me and I love to share my insight and ideas to help others. I feel like I am finally finding my place in the world where I can put together my passion and my career.
NM :: We are so glad you've found your place here at NEAT Method!
Look out Portland, Allison is ready to get you NEAT.
the NEAT girls