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

Organizing helps couples in chaos

Organizing helps couples in chaos

Try working together rather than battling each other! 

I am often called a marriage therapist by the couples I work with.  I am in their home, I see the clutter and chaos, I hear the overwhelm and frustration. It can feel hopeless to create a home that is peaceful and inviting. Use these practical tips to help make organizing easier and get closer as a couple. Your partnership is the most important relationship in your life.

http://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/get-your-home-and-marriage-organized

TIP 1: Let the bedroom be all about rest, intimacy and connection. 

  • Remove all clutter, laundry, paper piles or projects.
  • After clearing the bedside tables, place items like candles, books or music that help you relax and enjoy each other.
  • Choose the furniture and items that you both love.
  • Keep the TV out of the bedroom.

TIP 2: Just like a weekly date night, schedule a weekly planning session together. Make this time meaningful and fun!

  • Choose a comfortable place, in or out of your home, where you enjoy being with each other.
  • Share your wins and disappointments from the week before. Genuine attention is the most precious gift you can give each other.
  • Have a shared calendar to track all the needed activities on.Look at the week ahead and share with each other what is happening and what kind of support you need. You can also handle meal planning and budgets during this time. Then it won’t be hanging over you.

TIP 3: Honor each other’s organizing styles. Each of you gets your “own space” to keep the way you want. 

We tend to be attracted to and partner with our opposites. Each person needs their own space, their own hobbies and their own time to do their stuff. This will relieve stress and make time together more meaningful.

TIP 4: Share the load and/or delegate the keep it up tasks.

Our days are full of the keep it up tasks – cleaning, fixing, errands, calls, etc. Yet, we have really full lives and there just isn’t time to do everything. So, choose what maintenance things each person enjoys doing (you might love doing laundry or yard work). Then hire out the tasks that neither of you has the time, energy or skill set to do. Examples of this would be to pay a housecleaner, professional organizer, yard keeper or meal manager.

I invite you to sit down this week with your partner and choose your time of the week for Tip 2. Make this fun and get to know each other in a whole new way. Please share your success with me at [email protected] or

WHY does getting organized matter?

WHY does getting organized matter?

Do you even care about being organized? Why or Why not?

Earlier we explored where to start getting organized. Now let’s go further and talk about why organizing matters. Does getting organized really matter to you? if so, have you asked yourself why? If not, why? Your reasons can be completely different than your partner, family, friends or co-workers. Getting clear on why you care and how it can help you personally will inspire you to make time for it.

Organizing has been given a bad rap in these times of overconsumption and minimalizing. Somehow, organizing has been reduced to putting stuff in pretty containers. Yet it is so much more than that. Here are a few reasons why getting organized in your space and life matter.

Organizing your space helps you:

  • Consciously choose what you will keep and what you will let go
  • Create systems for how to maintain your space
  • Create a space that reflects and supports you
  • Get your space working when there are multiple people with multiple needs
  • Have peace and serenity in your space
The Organizing skill & systems help you:
  • Manage all the daily activities in your life
  • Manage your time and energy each day
  • Plan events for all the roles in your life
  • Grow personally and produce in the world
  • Reduce stress by making decisions easier

I hope you can see how organizing is an essential part of your everyday life. I invite you again to write down the project or area you want to start organizing this year and why it matters to you. Then, if you want to go further, explore why getting more organized this year will make your life easier and better.

For more understanding of how organizing and professional organizers help you, check out this great blog – What Professional Organizers Really Do. 

It’s no secret that clutter and disorganization contribute to stress, anxiety, further over-consumption and exhaustion. My purpose is setting you free of this stress.

Your Guide – Marla Dee
WHY do you want to clear your clutter?

WHY do you want to clear your clutter?

Knowing your personal WHY for clearing your clutter will keep you going when things get tough.

Clutter is everywhere. It comes in constantly, it builds up in your car, on your kitchen counter, and on your desk. It can bury your bedroom, your basement or your whole home. If letting go of the clutter was easy, it wouldn’t be there. Yes, it can sound simple to pick up that item and ask if you are gong to keep it or let it go. But that query can lead to as many stories as there are people. Clutter clearing just isn’t that simple!

This month we are addressing how to get started. Last week, I asked you where you wanted to start? Now I am asking you why you care about that project? What is the meaning to you? This is what will keep you going. I am asking you to write it out or find a picture or create it any way you want. Then place your why statement where you can see it throughout the project.

Throughout my 20 years as a professional organizer, I have witnessed the power of knowing your WHY. So trust me when I say this will make a difference.

Here are some of my favorites –

  • I want to clear my dining room and kitchen so my family can start coming over for Sunday dinner every week.
  • I am ready to free my bedroom and closet. I want it to be a romantic space that I love going to every night.
  • This clutter has kept me stuck for years and now I want to travel. I am ready to downsize and let go of the last 30 years of stuff.

POWER NOTE: If you want to make this stronger turn your why into an I am statement.

Let me know where and why you are clutter clearing this year! Your Guide – Marla Dee

Creator of the Clear & SIMPLE Way to get free of clutter and get organized