Thought for Today - Organization

"When it comes to organizing a workspace, relaxation and comfort aren't the primary goals. Work is about efficiency and productivity. ... The more neat and logically organized your workspace is, the better you will be at your job."

Peter Walsh

"Let's say you have a pile that is not sorted. … Bring it in front of you, put a sticky [note] on it that says 'pay bill' and the date when it is due. Then you can sort them by due date."

Liz Franklin , author of How to Get Organized Without Resorting to Arson

"I do triage on everything that comes through the door, and if it's not something we need (now, for real—not maybe someday) or something that deserves to be saved for posterity, it's discarded. I stop before I let myself drop something into a drawer or set it down on the piano. "Where does it belong?" I think. If I don't have a place for it, I make a place."

Michelle Herman , a writer and English p rofessor at Ohio State University

"Organizing time is exactly like organizing space. Just as a closet is a limited amount of space into which you must fit a certain number of objects, a schedule is a limited space into which you must fit a certain number of tasks. Each day and each week is simply a container, a storage unit with a definite capacity. The trick is to treat time not as an abstraction but as something solid that you can hold on to and move around."

Julie Morgenstern , organizing expert

"Tailor your space to your needs. In one closet, I have upper and lower rods for skirts, pants and tops. The second is all shelves for bags and linens. In the third, there's just one rod for suits and dresses. To hang evening gowns, I use hooks on the ceiling."

Thelma Golden , the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem

"Be wise with what you have. Be wise with what you are using. When you have something and you are not using it, you are telling the universe that you don't have the room to be blessed with more."

Dr. Robin Smith

"My job as a father is being compromised by the amount of clutter that we have in our house."

Charlton Gavitt , who needed Peter Walsh's help to de clutter his home and life

"[Clutter] robs us spiritually, because we can't be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space."

Peter Walsh

"Be ruthless: Do you really need three pen holders, three copies of The Da Vinci Code and three hole punchers?"

Margot Dougherty , an editor at Los Angeles magazine

"Being organized isn't about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person; it's about living the way you want to live, but better."

Andrew Mellen , a professional organizer and life coach

"'Shop your closet': Clean it out; give away anything ill-fitting, outworn or outdated; and assemble an organized list of what you need."

Adam Glassman , creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine

"If [students] have good routines at home, it's very easy for us to give them good routines at school."

Cathy , a grammar school teacher for 14 years

"Clean and restock your car at the end of each trip. No matter how tired you are, resist the temptation to let that empty muffin bag wait until mañana. Tomorrow turns into next week, next month..."

Julie Morgenstern , organizing expert

"What stuck with me was when [Peter Walsh] said, 'If you hadn't touched it in 12 months, get rid of it.' That sort of removed the emotional attachment to anything."

Babette , a mother of two whose messy home needed some expert help

"A child who is disciplined will be more obedient and also more organized as a student."

Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint , authors of Come On People

"Prep things in advance so that you don't have to cook everything at the last moment."

Wolfgang Puck , chef

"Don't let the fact that you're spending time getting organized result in late fees on your credit card bills."

Jean Chatzky

"You may think you're this incredibly organized person who will remember everything the doctor says, but—take my word for it—you won't. You hear the first and last thing they say, and very little in between."

Kate Clay , program director of the Center for Shared Decision Making at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

"The more clean and organized you are, the bigger your room feels."

Lance Boyd , stylist

"I explain to everyone I deal with—co-workers, children, friends—that I'm transitionally challenged and they should call me on my cell phone if I'm even a few minutes late. Such calls often come in when I'm happily writing or rearranging the furniture. The monochrones in my life are so organized, they have no trouble remembering to remind me to show up."

Martha Beck , life coach

"It's from the kitchen that nourishment flows to the whole family, so for me, that is why clutter in the kitchen and lack of organization from the kitchen is such a mistake."

Peter Walsh

"You can't slice chicken for dinner and sort your bills at the same time, so when you come in the front door with a stack of mail, put it in the basket, box or whatever container you have handy for this purpose."

Andrew Mellen , a professional organizer and life coach

"We all get attached to frayed towels, mismatched sheets and shapeless pillows, associating them with years of comfort, but they have ceased to be functional! … As for the plethora of hotel freebies, gather them in a basket to be offered as a hospitality service to your overnight guests. They'll be pleased by your thoughtfulness—and amazed that you're so organized."

Julie Morgenstern , organizing expert

"You should own nothing that is not useful, beautiful or loved."

Barry Izsak , president of the National Association of Professional Organizers

"Simple is hard to do. But when you get there, it's so liberating."

Eileen Fisher , clothing designer

"You can invite friends over to help or simply keep you company while you get organized. You can even agree to swap help."

Dr. Michelle Callahan , relationship expert

"I'm an organizational fanatic. I created a locker room that the children pass through when they come in the house. Each child has a personal locker, and every day when they arrive home from school, they dump their stuff there—backpacks, shoes, soccer uniforms. I organize them by season."

Kathryn Sansone , mother of nine

"Directing is much more psychological—it's a lot like being a general. And you have to be organized. While you're making a film, you have between two and 500 people asking you a billion questions."

Julie Taymor , Tony -winning director and artist

"Things don't put themselves away, and your kids won't learn organization automatically, especially if you're not modeling the behavior you want."

Peter Walsh

"Each time we go through a major life change (getting married or divorced, moving, having a family, switching careers, starting a new business, going back to school), we experience a breakdown of our organizational systems. It's inevitable—we are dealing with a new set of realities—and it takes time to process the information and to actually see what there is to organize."

Julie Morgenstern , organizing expert