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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

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

Home & Holiday Tip #3: Containers for Beauty & Order

During the Holidays we want our homes to be organized and also beautiful.  This is our favorite tip for bringing both of those together!

The secret to success is CONTAINERS! Containers provide a home for all the loose stuff so it is easier to find, use and return.

1 – Containers inside: Use containers within drawers, closets, and cupboards and on shelves to add clarity and beauty. When it comes to the kitchen and pantry, containers make a huge difference. Our favorite resource is The Container Store.

2 – Consistent: Then be consistent (all white, wicker, etc) to add that clean feeling and functionality. You can also add one color for fun!

3 – Label: Lastly, label all containers for instant ease in returning to their home and zone.  There are many ways to label now so you can get really creative. Check out this erasable duct tape. See The Container Store’s other fabulous labels.

Have FUN getting Holiday Container for your wrapping paper, gifts, and decorations.

Our FREE GIFT for this holiday season is our Ebook – Top Ten Tips for Home & Holidays.  You can get it on our Shop Page.

The ART of Letting Go ~ Inspiration

Inspiration – the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions!

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, getting inspired means to get the intellect or emotion moving! We often hear people say, “I”m lazy so I don’t… clean out my purse, clean out the garage, clean off the kitchen counter, organize the linen closet…” We want to reframe this. We believe it’s because these things just aren’t inspiring in and of themselves. However, once they are done, the space and fresh flowing energy gets our brains, hearts and bodies fired up! This opens us up to spend time and energy where we really want to. Now that’s inspiring!

Encouragement comes in many forms:

  • creating a vision of what you most want
  • reframing negative thoughts to positive ones
  • the support of a trusted loved one
  • a picture in a magazine
  • hearing stories of others accomplishments
  • sitting with how it will feel when you reach a desired outcome

Find what really lights up your entire being! Here are 3 ideas to get you going:

1 – Look for affirmation of the feeling you want on the other side of clearing the clutter. One great resource is Clutterers Anonymous and here are a couple from their site. As I declutter my life, I open up space to receive the support and comfort that I need – or – As I let go of what is insignificant to me, I am better able to enjoy those things that are important to me.

2 – Find stories of people that have released clutter that you resonate with. One of our favorite story tellers is family man Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. Not only does he share about his family’s journey on his website, but he regularly shares guest posts in his newsletter.

3 – Print a picture or create a Pinterest board that inspires you let go of the stuff that is not adding value to your life or your space. We are always inspired by visual.

The ART of Letting Go is Marla’s ebook about taking that inspiration and then following the steps within The Clear & SIMPLE Systems to clear the clutter. Download this sweet and simple, yet powerful little book today as our free gift for yourself and others. Please feel free to share with your loved ones.

Clear & SIMPLE, Marla Dee, The ART of Letting Go