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  • Whatever place she called home had to be immaculate before she left, as if this punctiliousness could guarantee that she would return safely.

  • A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order — willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.

  • Marcia was incredibly organized, obsessively neat ... I mean she folded her underwear like origami.

    • Linda Barnes,
    • "Lucky Penny," in Marilyn Wallace, ed., Sisters in Crime ()
  • Tidiness ... makes life easier and more agreeable, does harm to no one and actually saves time and trouble to the person who practices it: there must be an ominous flaw to explain why millions of generations continue to reject it.

  • The greatest of mythologies divided its gods into creators, preservers and destroyers. Tidiness obviously belongs to the second category, which mitigates the terrific impact of the other two.

  • Order is ... the true key to rapidity of reaction.

  • Order is not goodness; but perhaps it is the indispensable road to arrive at it.

  • ... in a Home it must be order or ruin. Order is to the house as morality to the human being — a sheet-anchor.

  • ... fully half of Household miseries arise from a lack of order.

  • ... disorder is the slowest worker in the universe.

  • ... if we do not eliminate the clutter, the clutter will eliminate us.

  • ... making order out of disorder any time, anywhere, can be regarded as a sacrament.

  • It is curious how any making of order makes one feel mentally ordered, ordered inside.

    • May Sarton,
    • 1954, in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Among the Usual Days ()
  • Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.

  • There is no beauty without order.

  • When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings. I get satisfaction from perfect order in my papers, in my clothes, in the house. I carry this to excess. As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Tidied all my papers. Tore up and ruthlessly destroyed much. This is always a great satisfaction.

  • ... it was not so much the comfort of neatness, as the praise of neatness, which she coveted.

    • Hannah More,
    • "The History of Hester Wilmot," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • If the apartment has to be neat ... why can't he just tidy up himself instead of asking questions like 'What's the magazine doing on the couch?'

  • Disorder can play a critical role in giving birth to new, higher forms of order.

  • ... we have created trouble for ourselves in organizations by confusing control with order.

  • Filing is concerned with the past; anything you actually need to see again has to do with the future.

  • I suppose we all share this pipe-dream of being able to reach out a hand and find anything at will; what is amazing is that we think that good filing could somehow make it comes true. On the contrary: putting a letter into a filing system is like releasing your ferret in the Hampton Court maze.

  • And what would happen to my illusion that I am a force for order in the home if I wasn't married to the only man north of the Tiber who is even untidier than I am?

  • So before I start work on a book, I'm like a pregnant mole — I obsessively tidy and order my closets and everything in my study. Because there's such a cascade of images and ideas that I'm grapping with mentally, I couldn't also be in a chaotic setting.

  • A life lived in chaos is an impossibility for the artist. No matter how unstructured may seem the painter's garret in Paris or the poet's pad in Greenwich Village, the artist must have some kind of order or he will proudce a very small body of work. To create a work of art, great or small, is work, hard work, and work requires discipline and order.

  • Best friend at the office: Your wastebasket.

  • Being organized is not an end in itself — it is a vehicle to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

  • ... we are all born with the inherent capacity to organize ...

  • Disorganiation is neither in your fate nor in your genes. The ability to make sense of random data is a fundamental human attribute.

  • ... order is not an end in itself. Order is whatever helps you to function effectively — nothing more and nothing less.

  • Everyone has the inherent capacity to be organized, to follow a pattern.

  • Order is a lovely thing; / ... / It has a meek and lowly grace, / Quiet as a nun's face.

  • Order is a lovely thing; / On disarray it lays its wing, / Teaching simplicity to sing.

  • The order and harmony of her house were necessary to the order and harmony of her mind and spirit.

  • ... there should be a place for everything, and everything in its place.

  • To be organized is not synonymous with meticulous. To be organized means you do things for a good reason at the best time and in the easiest way.

  • Keeping up is easier than catching up.

  • For order represents our fear and nervousness. We create ordered interiors as a protest over the passing of things, to define our mortal lives against the void of time.

  • Not only is orderliness an economy; it produces rest.

  • ... one person's mess is merely another person's filing system ...

  • Life is too complicated not to be orderly.

  • I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.

  • ... there must be a routine to life, a framework to hang life on. Routines were what kept you sane, gave you something to do at this moment and at that, definite places to go, positive things to do. Abandon it and that way madness lies.

  • Clutter is nothing but postponed decisions — whether it is mental clutter or paper clutter.

  • Order is life to me. I could, if necessary, live in dirt but never in disorder.

  • In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.

  • Tidying is a dialogue with one's self.