Can a messy room really be good for your creativity?
Are you not convinced that an organized space is better for innovating? Would you rather work around your messy desk and cluttered shelves?
According to a recent study, the mess could be a great way to get your imagination going!
Much of the research, and public exuberance, on clutter is focused mostly on the home. Still, with workplace stress expected to cost U.S. businesses up to $190 billion in health care costs each year, it’s time to recognize the role of clutter on creativity — and what we can do about it.
Clutter and Creativity:
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- Research on Disorganization and Psychology
- Types of Creative Personalities
- A Messy Creative Process
- An Organized Creative Process
- Why Do Some Creative People Have Messy Homes?
- What is the “Messy Genius Theory?”
- Messy Rooms Can Cause Moments of Inspiration
- Signs Clutter Isn’t Helping Your Creativity
- What to Do if Clutter Is Killing Your Genius
- Get Rid of Extra Clutter to Innovate
Research on Disorganization and Psychology
In published research in the September edition of Psychological Science, Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota, discovered working in a tidy space motivates individuals to perform socially responsible, normatively “good” activities like eating well and contributing to charity.
Working in a cluttered environment, on the other hand, appears to encourage people to try new ideas and come up with innovative ideas.
However, according to the Harvard Business Review: “Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.”
Types of Creative Processes
It is pretty well known that certain personalities thrive in messy environments, but some crave a clean and orderly workspace. But at their core, what is the difference between these two unique personalities?
A Messy Creative Process
Of course, messy people are attracted to creative endeavors! Have you ever attempted to paint a painting without producing a sloppy mess? Have you ever tried to mold a lump of clay without getting your hands caked with grime? Of course not! Artistic people tend to have a personality that thrives in messy or cluttered environments.
Creativity is, by its very nature, a sloppy process. What happens when you ask your child to draw a picture for you and provide them with supplies such as glue, scissors, paint, and glitter is as follows: A magnificent, one-of-a-kind creation, as well as a huge mess.
An Organized Creative Process
Clean fanatics, on the other hand, prioritize their desire for cleanliness over other, less critical activities. For them, having a home where you can eat your meal is the pinnacle of achievement — but only if you tidy up your space afterward.
This type of organized personality is more common in professions such as architects, secretaries, and project managers. Which one sounds more like you?
Why Do Some Creative People Have Messy Homes?
Messy people may seem disorganized or irresponsible, but they are more often masters of prioritization. They often prioritize the most significant parts and are able to ignore the less important ones.
While it may appear that keeping everything perfectly ordered is helpful, it’s frequently a burden for messy people with creative minds.
What is the “Messy Genius Theory?”
Albert Einstein is famous for noting that “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” It is well known that many “geniuses” of the past few centuries had a notoriously cluttered workspace. Thomas Edison must have agreed with this theory as his workshop was famous for being a pigstye.
The “Messy Genius Theory” is the idea that your mind generates more creative ideas with a cluttered space than an organized one. That doesn’t mean if you trash your workspace, you can paint the Mona Lisa; it simply means that some people thrive in cluttered environments.
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Messy Rooms Can Cause Moments of Inspiration
Look around you. What can you see? A tidy and orderly desk or a cluttered menagerie of papers and knick-knacks? If you have ever had writer’s block (or any creative block), you have probably found yourself gazing listlessly around the room.
Which environment do you think will spark more creative ideas? The cluttered space can cause visual stimulation and generate more creative thoughts for many people.
According to a study sponsored by the University of Minnesota: “Participants in the messy room generated the same number of ideas for new uses as their clean-room counterparts. But their ideas were rated as more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges.”
So, as it turns out, a messy room can actually help some people innovate! But are you sure that’s the case for you?
Signs Clutter Isn’t Helping Your Creativity
While some people thrive in a cluttered environment, others find it distracting or stifling. For these individuals, clutter can actually slow down the creative process or stop it all together.
How to tell if clutter is killing your creativity:
- You find yourself too distracted to work. If you find yourself spending more time staring at your clutter or daydreaming than actually working, it might be time to clean up.
- You can’t locate valuable tools or documents. If you spend a lot of time rifling through the clutter to find your pen or important documents, your cluttered lifestyle isn’t working.
- Typical processes are taking longer than they should. If you find that you are spending more time than usual on unimportant or straightforward tasks, you might need to get more organized.
What to Do if Clutter Is Killing Your Genius
When we talk about clutter, we usually refer to having too many “things,” which works for some people. However, you can get to the point where these items that provide creative inspiration can become more of a burden than a help.
Try these simple ideas to create “positive clutter.”
- Create a separate, uncluttered space to escape to if you feel overwhelmed.
- Declutter and organize your work area and see if you notice a positive change.
- Audit your clutter. Go through items you haven’t used in three months and toss them.
- Create inspiring surroundings with the right clutter – think inspirational posters, music, etc.
Get Rid of Extra Clutter to Innovate
While it is true that clutter can be a sign of genius and help productivity, it does not work for everyone. In fact, many don’t work well in cluttered environments at all. If you are creative and clutter helps lift you out of a creative slump, make sure it is “positive clutter” and not just junk.
If you find yourself distracted by clutter or just want a fresh, clean start, LoadUp can help you haul away your unwanted clutter and free up space in your home. With our online booking system, it’s easier than ever to schedule a professionals to remove clutter from your home.
If you are ready to innovate but would like some help with recycling, donating and disposing of your unwanted clutter, simply book a quick junk pickup online with LoadUp for a fast, affordable, and eco-friendly junk removal service you can trust.
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