Clutter – a good thing?

Look around you.  What do you see?

I see clutter – to my right…left…behind and before me…clutter.

Yes, we live in a small house – and yes, we have too much stuff. And, yes, for the most part the stuff is “organized” and I know where everything is …but it’s still clutter.

My house is cluttered but does that mean my life is cluttered as well?  And what about my mind? Is she free to be, to think, to come up with thoughts and ideas? Or, is she cluttered by stuff because my surroundings are cluttered?

How often have you heard (or said) the following?

  • Clean up this mess, how can you live in it?
  • Straighten your room, you can’t find anything.
  • It’s time to clean house.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness.
  • A messy desk equals a cluttered mind.
  • Disorder creates chaos.

Researcher at the University of Minnesota took a look at the premise that cleanliness is next to godliness and made some surprising finds.

  1. A messy work environment can bring out creativity and lead to bold, new ideas.
  2. Thinking “outside the box” is more common among those with messy desks.
  3. Einstein was not a neat freak.
  4. While clutter is not going to make an empty brain creative, it can activate the creative side in you.
  5. If you have a creative side, clutter seems to pull what creativity you have out.

The research involved young and old participants and led to several conclusions.

  • Sociology’s “broken windows theory” is only partially accurate.  Some choose to be creative and don’t choose crime.
  • Environments that are orderly tend to encourage convention and conservatism, but clutter encourages people to try new things, take new routes, step away from the norm.
  • Varying (or cluttering) the environment can be an effective means to shaping behavior.

The researchers summed it up in this way:

“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” the researchers concluded. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

To read more on this, visit Lee Dye’s, piece Einstein Was Right. Be sure to catch the last few paragraphs.

To all my messy friends out there – 😉 it’s nice to see research that backs up what we already knew!

And, to all my neat freak friends…yes, I still envy your ability to have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.

But, sometimes some things are more important than keeping everything neat and straight. What? How about…living life fully and freely?!   😉

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