sort oneself out

sort (oneself) out

1. To make oneself presentable; to fix one's appearance. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "sort" and "out." A: "People from the local newspaper want to do an interview with you." B: "OK, tell them I just need 15 minutes to sort myself out first." You're a mess, Tom—your clothes are dirty and you smell like you haven't showered in a week. Take the rest of the day off, go home, and sort yourself out.
2. To calm oneself down and begin to think or act appropriately. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used between "sort" and "out." I know you're stressed out, but you need to sort yourself out and get this report done! I hope she sorts herself out soon. We need her to be focused heading into this trial.
See also: out, sort

sort out

1. To separate and arrange something according to certain properties. A noun can be used between "sort" and "out." We need to sort these clothes out and decide what we're going to keep. My job is to sort out the recyclables so that all the paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass goes to the right part of the facility.
2. To understand or resolve a problem or conflict. A noun can be used between "sort" and "out." They brought in the head of human resources to sort the issue out. I've spent nearly an hour on this math problem, but I still can't sort it out.
3. To correct, discipline, reprimand, or punish someone for their behavior. A noun can be used between "sort" and "out." The disciplinarian had to come in to sort out the unruly students. A: "The new accountant has been giving me nothing but grief since he began." B: "Don't worry, I'll go sort him out."
See also: out, sort

sort oneself out

to pull oneself together; to figure out what to do about one's problems. (Fig. on sort something out {2}.) I need a few days to sort myself out. I need some time to sort myself out.
See also: out, sort