To Julie Tringali, simplifying life means getting things out of your life to free up energy and time for the things that matter most.
This 32-year-old mom of four girls understands how quickly chaos can take over.
Tringali said she'd always been the type of person who appreciates organization, but she never knew how to do it well.
Until a pivotal moment in her life.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
She recalls a chaotic day in 2007 when she was busy nursing her second daughter, Ava, a newborn at the time, while trying to make a healthy dinner. Her eldest, Morgan, now 7, ran up to her and kept pulling on her trying to get her attention.
Tringali, a resident of Hickory Grove Road, said she remembers thinking, "I am over it. This is not a sustainable lifestyle. I cannot live in chaos from moment to moment. It's time to simplify my life and bring peace back into my home."
Tringali said she started by going from room to room and purging everything that was not helpful or beautiful, donating about 30 percent of their stuff that was just taking up space.
"It made my home feel resourceful, clean and peaceful," Tingali said.
Now Tringali not only kept the promise she made to herself in 2007 to live simply, she also writes a blog called "Simplify Your Life" (organizesimply.blogspot.com) that gives organizational advice to help others live a simplified life.
In summer 2010, Tringali's passion for organization turned into a business opportunity. Her first client was a friend, Virginia Spykerman of Dilworth, whom she helped de-clutter and organize her loft and attic.
Tringali said the most popular room people want help organizing is the kitchen.
Since becoming a professional organizer, one of her most profound moments was working with a hoarder. The client wasn't ready to give up all her stuff, but Tringali was able to talk with her and help her realize she was hoarding to fill a void in her emotional needs.
The client was able to accept this and worked on the emotional barriers. Tringali felt honored to be part of this process.
Tringali suggests these basic steps to simplify you life:
1. Evaluate your room. Take a step back and think about what is stressful about the room. Is it the untidiness, the décor or just too much stuff?
2. Prioritize by what's most important. Decide which room/area to tackle first and create a list numbered from highest to lowest priority.
3. Set small goals. For example, within one week complete a room by decluttering on Monday, dropping off donated goods on Tuesday, measuring the space/shelves for organizational bins on Wednesday, searching for bins on Thursday and putting the finishing touches on the room Friday.
4. Once the decluttering begins, take everything out and re-assess each piece. Tringali adds that sometimes it's hard to let go of a gift from a loved one, even if it's just taking up space. It's important to remember, the relationship isn't being thrown away just because the object isn't in the home anymore.
5. Maintain the organization. Tringali said 80 percent of organization is maintenance.
Tringali's biggest piece of advice: "Our culture thrives on get it, buy it, want it, and need it. Do you really need it? Do you really love it? Even if it's not useful? If you have an organized home but it's full of clutter, then it still won't give you peace."