SEE THE SORT in action – Thanks Ruth Hadlock (a Clear & SIMPLE Certified Organizer™)

You’ve picked the organizing project to do, you have set aside the time and now the overwhelm hits. You look around at all the stuff and feel paralyzed about where to start…We are here to help! Read and watch below as Ruth Hadlock brings the power of SORTING FIRST to life!!


Clear & SIMPLE, Ruth Hadlock, SORT

Click to watch Ruth on TV


We just love when other people share in their own words the steps of The Clear & SIMPLE Systems™. It affirms to us how simple and supportive they truly are. Ruth Hadlock of Streamlined Space, who is also a Clear & SIMPLE Certified Organizer™, explains the power of a simple SORT.

PARALYZED! My clients tell me it’s often overwhelming when they decide they are going to finally organize a junk room/craft room/etc. They are inspired and ready for action but as soon as they walk into that room and look around at all the clutter they are paralyzed – they don’t know where to start and what to do! I’m a certified organizer in the Clear & Simple method, a step by step system called S.T.A.C.K.S. © that takes you through the entire organizing process.  The first step is SORT. I have seen over and over again that by sorting first all the other steps are easier; they actually build on each other.

So we start with setting up for the SORT. Put together 15-20 bankers boxes. You can buy them at Office Depot or Costco [or best price at Wal-mart]. These are great because once you’re done with this project, you fold up the bankers boxes until you’re ready to use them for your next organizing project. [read Clear & SIMPLE’s blog post on bankers boxes to get more]

The goal of SORT is to put like with like according to categories. As you pick up an item, ask “What is it?” and put it in a bankers box with a post it note label. For example, if you were sorting your office, you might have books, office supplies, filing supplies, projects, etc. If you don’t have a box already with that category, then make a new one. 

The benefit of using boxes is you can freeze the process in time. How many of you have tried to organize an area, run out of time, friends are coming over, so you shove it into a closet and shut the door essentially wrecking any organization you just tried to implement!? This way, when you run out of time, simply stack the boxes against a wall and when you have time another day, you can easily pick up where you left off.

The key is to focus only on sorting. You’re not jumping ahead to “Am I going to keep it? ” Where will I put it?” “Does it need a container?”. Those are later steps. Just sort until the room is completely categorized.

Does this take time? YES! But how long has this room of yours been the way it looks now? I promise this method pays off if you follow the system. You will feel the progress!

VIEWER HOMEWORK: Choose a room in your house to sort. Download the Clear & SIMPLE Systems Card for free. Next time, I’ll share the 2nd step “Toss” with you.

Marla, Kate & Team

Would you like to become a professional organizer? Check out our in-depth, 3-tiered training program.