Is It Clutter Or Art?

October 3rd, 2013

If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard a client (or my husband) say, “I’m messy because I’m creative, ” I’d be a zillionaire.

I know that there are different levels of organization. Being organized does not necessarily mean that you are neat. It simply means that you can find things, without wasting time & getting a stress headache, when you need them.

There recently was an article in the NY Times called “It’s Not ‘Mess’. It’s Creativity”. In it the author tries to prove the point that being messy serves a purpose, especially if you’re a creative type.

Heck, they even did a laboratory..with real, live people.

Here’s the scenario:

2 rooms. One very neat & tidy. The other messy, things strewn about.

The test subjects were divided into the different rooms & asked to solve the same thing, new uses for Ping Pong balls. Independent judges rated their answers – think American Idol.

The judges concluded that the answers from the messy room were far more creative. Hmmmm……..this doesn’t sound so scientific afterall. And it brings up another question – can art be judged? OK. Let’s not get into that one today.

I  understand that artists can create beautiful things in what looks like a garbage dump of a mess. I’m married to a creative man. When he’s in the midst of making something magical – a fabulous meal or a painting, his space looks pretty chaotic.

I’m also creative, but I work differently. I tend to line up all of my supplies. I clean as I go; food or craft supplies, it doesn’t matter. Yup, it’s a little OCD but I work better that way.

I wish the Messy Creative Experiment was performed over the long term, in a space where people actually have to live or work on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure that outcome would produce some interesting results.

I’m not a scientist, but I’ve seen firsthand how too much clutter can crush people’s spirit.  And it can be difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you can’t find your art supplies.

It’s an interesting article nonetheless, so check it out & share your thought below.



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