STACKS: The 5 Step Organizing System

STACKS: The 5 Step Organizing System

The 5 Steps to get organized at last

It is time to learn the simpler way to organize. Earlier we talked about the foundation system of SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.  You start with the SEE IT – take a look at where you’ve been. Then MAP IT – make a plan for where you want to go. Now it is time for the DO IT step. Now we are touching the STUFF and trouble starts. Because this step is so loaded it gets its own system called STACKS.

S – SORT

T – TOSS

A – ASSIGN

C – CONTAIN

K – KEEP IT UP

S – SIMPLIFY

Organizing can be overwhelming because we are trying to make many decisions at once. Should I keep it or let it go, where will it go, how did it get here, who will take care of it? It is exhausting and we typically give up after a couple of hours. STACKS breaks down the process into 5 distinguishable steps that you take one at a time. You ask one question at a time, make one decision at a time, and take one action at a time

These steps make it possible to break down the process into bite sized pieces. And the steps build on each other. When sorting just sort! The toss is easier once you can see exactly what you have, then what’s left needs a place to go followed by what it will go in. Once everything is contained, it is time to ask how to maintain it and lastly, how to simplify? If you really give STACKS a try for a couple of small projects, you might get hooked.


I promise using STACKS will save you time, energy and money! And, by taking one step at a time, you will have more energy, think better, and get through the project faster.

Get your copy of the C&S Systems card here. 

Stay tuned for our next blog where I will take you through the C&S System visually and teach you even more. I have used this system on thousands of organizing jobs over the last 20 years and there is nothing like it. 

Marla Dee – Your Guide to getting organized at last!

Were you born with the organizing gene?

Were you born with the organizing gene?

Did anyone ever tell you that organizing is a SKILL that only 10-12% of the human population on the planet earth is born with (see note below)? Most people assume that everyone should just know how. Parents expect their kids to know how to clean up their rooms. Bosses expect their employees to know how to organizing their office. Yet, 90% of the human population on the planet earth really struggle.

So believe me when I say…
 – If clutter clearing was easy, the piles wouldn’t be there.
 – And if organizing was easy, the chaos wouldn’t be here.

If you are part of the 10% then:

  • Walking into a room filled with clutter and chaos gets you excited  
  • Your hands get itchy and you want to start touching and moving the stuff
  • You go into a trance or creative zone when you are doing the work
  • You are often helping other people with their disorganization and maybe you have even started an organizing business.

If you are NOT born with the innate skill then:

  • You struggle with where to start, what to do and how to keep it up
  • Even thinking about clutter clearing or organizing is draining 
  • Your attempts to get organized have left you feeling helpless and hopeless
  • You have probably ready many books and tried many approaches only to give up

My story of how it all began…
It was April of 1999 when I met my first organizing client. I was there to work on her home office. I was excited and also terrified. We had only spoken on the phone so I didn’t know what to expect and I felt clueless about how I would help her.  I had many tools and lots of experience to draw from but I didn’t have a system to take us through the process.

Throughout my first year I witnessed over and over again that my clients were wired differently from me. They got confused and didn’t understand the steps. This is when the Clear & Simple Systems were born. I realized I needed a way to teach them the SKILL. And I wanted it to be fun and easy. 

Coming up, I will be sharing SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. and STACKS. These systems teach the SKILL. These simple steps are what make organizing easier.  If you want more information now, go to www.clearsimple.com/systems


NOTE: In the last 20 years, I have consulted with hundreds of clients and audiences. According to my research only 10-12% of the human population is born with the organizing gene, with the innate skill. The other 90% really struggle.

Your Guide, Marla Dee
 – teaching the Clear & Simple Way to live free of clutter and get organized at last

Picking the Perfect Planner

DAYTIMER DILEMMA? TIPS FOR PICKING THE PERFECT PLANNER

Do you have daytimer dilemma! We need paper planners more than ever! We love our technology for tracking all the details of our contact and appointments.  But nothing replaces paper for planning out our month, week and day.  Putting pen to paper is grounding for our bodies and brains.

Yet we get overwhelmed trying to figure out which planner to get! Big or small, just the months or do I need the day, simple or colorful…

Watch and this fun segment on Fresh Living and get my top tips for picking the perfect planner, along with some favorites.

Marla Dee on Fresh Living

1 – SIZE MATTERS: Will you want to carry it with you at all times? If so, does it need to fit in your purse or pocket? Or do you want a larger planner? For a simple, sleek planner try the moleskin which you can get on Amazon. Or one of the many pocket versions at your office supply or bookstores.

2 – USE MATTERS: MONTH, WEEK & DAY: How much use do you need? You can keep it simple and just get a 2-page month to keep track of appointments. Most of us need this because doing it on the smartphone is impossible. However, if you need more space or want to make simple lists, also get a 2-page week. If you need to plan out your day in detail then a 1 or 2-page day is needed. For tabs and pages that fit the disc bound notebook go to levenger.com or Etsy or your local office max. The advantage here is that you can add and subtract pages easily.

3 – DESIGN MATTERS: You will be using your planner all the time so choose a look and feel that you love. You can also get creative and customize. For stylish in different sizes and formats daydesigner.com. Or check out the Happy Planner, the Martha Stewart Planner with Staples.

4 – PERSONAL &/OR BUSINESS USE: There are excellent planners available now that really help you stay focused on your goals and productivity. For a super smart, productive 2-page day check out the brilliant Self Journal at bestself.co  You can download the pages and try them out first. And don’t forget the classics of Daytimer and Franklin Covey.

Check out our Live & Virtual Workshops at www.clearsimple.com/events/

Marla Dee, Clear & SIMPLE | www.clearsimple.com | 801-463-9090

Marla Dee, the creator of the Clear & SIMPLE Way, has been helping people for 18 years get clear of the clutter in their space & the chaos in their day!

Honor What Matters Most

Only YOU can stand up for what matters most in your life.

We talk about this every December because your life is what matters most to us.  We are passionate about helping you get free of clutter and get organized so you can love your life. We are constantly hit with distractions and overwhelm in our world.  This energy keeps getting stronger. It takes being present and standing up for what you really want in your space, your day, your relationships and with your stuff.

We want your year-end to be filled with the sweetness of the year gone by and looking forward to what is next. December can be a time to slow down (rather than speed up). As the sun sets earlier we now have long evenings to sit, read, write and share with loved ones. Before technology came, we sat around a roaring fire or the big, wood dining room table and we talked. Wouldn’t it be sweet to end the year this softer way?

We invite you to take an honest, deep look at your life. By simply getting still and reflecting back over the year, you can open to what matters most! Set aside an evening or a morning to ask and answer the following queries. Then share with your loved ones and ask what matters to them.

What means the most to me right now…

  • In the relationship with myself?
  • In my intimate relationship?
  • In my family?
  • In my home and workspaces?
  • In my friendships?
  • In my work or creations?
  • In the next steps of my path?

** Get a printable version here.

Now ask yourself–Is there one change I am ready to make that will truly honor what matters most to me?  It might be going to bed earlier, journaling daily, or calling your mom every Sunday.  We suggest starting with one change and let this be enough.

Clear & SIMPLE, Your Life Matters GuidebookFrom Marla – Once a Year I offer this precious workshop and guidebook. It is called Your Life Matters! I will step you through looking at the year closing down with heart and presence.  We will then tune into what you most want for the next year and create your theme and goals. The workshop will be on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 at my office in Murray Utah.  I would love to have you join me.  This workshop is limited to 9 wonderful human beings.

Live workshop is limited to 9 wonderful souls – Find out more here 

We honor you, Marla, Kate & Team

3 Tools for School Success

School Tools to relieve the stress and add success!

It’s here! – Time for the kids to go back to school, or for the grown kids to leave for college. No matter what age you are, school can be overwhelming as well as exciting. We want to make organizing fun so we are sharing our tools to relieve the stress and add success.

1 – Even with today’s technology most of us still need paper. A Day Planner that suits the child is still vital for tracking all the information and actions. And check out the brilliance of discbound notebooks. This notebook is called the TUL Notebook at Office Depot, the ARC at Staples or CIRCA at Levenger (an online resource). You can also find cool accessories for them at Etsy.com.

2 – Set up yourself up for success by getting the perfect backpack for you along with all the necessary tools. Watch the video below to see some of my favorite tools to go inside the backpack. Hint – those packs get heavy, so get one with wheels.

3 – We all have activities where we get lost in the zone. Our favorite tool for helping you stay on track in the TimeTimer. It answers the big question of how much time is left without having to calculate. And the section in red gets your attention so you stay focused.

Invitation to you – Choose one of the TIPS above and share your experience with me at [email protected] or www.facebook.com/clearsimple.com and we will give you a prize. we want you to get organized and have fun doing it.

Clear & SIMPLE, Marla Dee, School Tools

Travel Bags & More from The Container Store

Travel Goods – get’m while they’re hot!

You know that organizers can be obsessed with containers and bags.  But when it comes to travel, having the right containers makes a huge difference.  We just wanted to let you know that JUNE is the annual travel sale at The Container Store, one of our favorite places to get exactly what we need for traveling. Check out the items below and then head to www.thecontainerstore.com to see much more.

Note – Make sure to check out their short videos along with their travel tips.

1 – The Perfect Bag makes all the difference.

Check out the Eagle Creek Collection and see the video here

2 – Create your body care set and refill when you get home.

Here is a link to the page full of containers.  Kate’s favorite are the GoToobs.

3 – Check out the Eagle Creek Pack-it Folders. This is Marla’s favorite.

These cubes make it easy to set up camp wherever you are staying.

4 – And a favorite for Technology is the GIO Organizer

We hope these containers and tips help you have a fun filled summer!
Marla, Kate & Team