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!

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.

The 3 step foundation system to get organized!

When we are confronted with all the stuff in our space, organizing can feel overwhelming! We don’t even know where to start. Marla Dee defines clutter as “delayed decision or holding onto the past.” The stuff seems to pile up because there are just too many decisions to make. So we need a simple place to start. Try this three step system for any project of any size. For more details get the C&S Systems card here.

Take the 3 steps in order

SEE IT – What’s working, what’s not working and why?

The first step is SEE IT.©, which stands for take a look at where you’ve been. Before you dive into touching the stuff, take 5 minutes to answer the questions what’s working, what’s not working and why? 

MAP IT – How do I want my space to look, feel and function?

The second step is MAP IT.©, which stands for make a plan for what you want. This can seem overwhelming also. To make this step simple write how you want your space/project to look, feel and function when you’re done.

DO IT – STACKS. Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up, Simplify

The third step is DO IT.©, which stands for take the steps to get it done. For this step, try out the Action System of STACKS. Now that you are touching the stuff, the project gets crazy. The power of STACKS is taking one step at a time.You do this by asking one question and making only one decisionat a time. Tune into our blog next week to get more details. 

Get the Clear & SIMPLE SYSTEMS CARD and more here

Clear & Simple SYSTEMS Card

Get your own card to use anytime

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

A Podcast… Be More Organized & Present

A Podcast… Be More Organized & Present

Create Organizing Habits to Reduce Stress

In this episode of Wellness Wisdom Camille Kennard interviews Marla Dee, Professional Organizer at Clear & Simple Organizing. In today’s world we are bombarded with information & stuff! So there is clutter everywhere – on our phones & computers, desktops & countertops, bedrooms & basements, closets & cupboards… We crave being free of the clutter and fantasize about being organized, but it feels impossible. Marla Dee is here to change that. As a professional organizer for 18 years, Marla has seen the pain!

Living in chaos has an impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health, and our outside environment is often a reflection of what’s going on inside our minds and our lives.

Marla believes that as we clear the clutter in our lives we will be happier, alive, and connected. When we let go of the clutter, we FREE ourselves to possibilities and open space for something new to come in.

Marla will share with us Clear and Simple principles that are the foundation of her work including how to see it, map it, and do it. You can create a vision of how you want things to look, feel, and function. She will help us learn how to simplify and set up habits to be more organized and present. The habits piece includes the “keep it up” step in STACKS (sort, toss, assign, contain, keep it up and simplify). Tune into this episode to learn systems that can help you make shifts in how you care for yourself and your environment.

Marla believes that living organized and clutter free is a skill anyone can learn. What is your clutter costing you? Free yourself of clutter and be present in your life to what matters most! Listen to the podcast

Camille is passionate about supporting people in their health and wellness. Check out her other blogs for inspiration and support.

Listen to the Podcast
Clear & Simple, Marla Dee, Camille Kennard, Flourish Wellness

Organizing Tips to Transform Your Clothes Closets

Organizing Tips to Transform Your Clothes Closets

When spring energy hits we feel compelled to clean out & organize!

One of the most needed and popular areas to organize is the clothes closet. Today I will share my top tips for making this area fun & functional.

TIP 1– Hanger Hell or Hanger Heaven

The easiest and cheapest closest transformation is getting the same color and type of hanger. Our brains and bodies go to color first. If you have hangers in all the colors of the rainbow, your brain can’t focus on the clothes. Then, along with the same color, choose the same type – all plastic or all wood. The best place to get the hanger you love is The Container Store. They have the largest selection.

TIP 2Sort by colors and types

To make it easy to find the piece of clothing you want, sort them first by color (refer to the tip above) and then by type.

TIP 3 – Clear the floor

The floor is not the place to store your shoes or homeless items. Get them all contained. Put the shoes on shoe shelves. Put the dirty laundry into a hamper. Do not store other stuff in the clothes closet.

TIP 4– Use cool containers for the small stuff

Containers make the difference between a cluttered closet and a gorgeous closet. Put accessories such as scarves, bags, jewelry and such into their own containers. Remember to label the containers and the shelves so it is easy to find what you need.

Invitation:Have fun clearing out your clothes closet and share before and after pictures with me at www.facebook.com/clearsimple/

I want you to get organized and have fun doing it!
Marla Dee


Clear & Simple, Marla Dee, Organizing Tips to Transform Your Clothes Closets

Home Organizing Tips & Tricks for Productivity

Being organized and being productive both require finding what you need when you need it. The following tips will make both of these easier.

Our homes can easily fill with clutter and chaos.  Yet, the purpose of our home is peace, support and connection.  We are sharing our top 5 tips that are easy to implement and can make a big difference over time.

Watch the video for all the great information and see our tips down below. Marla on Fox 13 – The Place

Marla Dee on Fox 13 – The Place

Top 5 Tips: 
  • Containers make a huge difference for all types of stuff and all areas – everything from drawers to the garage. Containers make it easier to store your things, find your things and return them to where they belong.  Trick: Leave the tops off containers that will be used often for easy access. (Watch the video for some of our favorites)
  • Then label the containers and the shelves. This makes it easy for you to find what you want rather than digging through multiple bins and boxes.  It also makes life easier because the kids (or husband) can put it back where it belongs. Get and use your own labeler. The Container Store has a great selection of all kinds of labels.
  • Get your own TimeTimer – the best tool for making time tangible. This wonderful tool is different from you typical timer.  It shows you by the section in red how much time is left so you can quickly adjust.
  • Capture all incoming information in ONE place – one notebook, one place on your smart phone and one container for all the paper that lands in your home. (check out the video for a couple fun ideas including a magnetic container from the Container Store that can attach to your refrigerator Piggy Magnetic Container.
  • Create strong ZONES by putting like with like. These days we are so busy that the stuff lands everywhere. Start with creating zones just for home office & paper, for all the toys, keep the bedroom only the bedroom, all tools together, a nice relaxing living room, etc.

We care about your home being everything you need and want.  Please reach out and let us know if we can help by teaching you how or helping you get it done!

Marla, Kate & Team