My room is usually what I call “organized chaos.” If another person walked in my room, they would probably say, “How the hell do you find anything in here?” But I know exactly where every document, nail polish, and dress is hidden. It’s my own personal filing system that no one else can crack – but is that filing system a reflection of my brain? Is cleanliness really next to godliness or is a messy room just an indication of a different kind of personality type? In a study done for Psychological Science journal in 2013, it was concluded that there’s a balance between tidy and messy brains and how they function. Turns out, your slob status might say more about you than you think.
- You’re less likely to follow conventional ways of thinking. During the study, people with messy rooms picked an option labeled “new” while people with clean rooms picked the option labeled “classic” when choosing smoothies. This means that you’re probably more likely to have new ideas and solutions to problems instead of sticking with traditional ways of doing things.
- You’re more creative than tidier people.In the second part of the study, the subjects were asked to make a list of unconventional uses for ping pong balls. The people with messier rooms came up with more creative responses than those of people with cleaner rooms. This means that you’re probably more creative and innovative when tasked with projects at work or school. You’re able to open your mind a little more and see in some different directions.
- You’re efficient in your own way. According to Eric Ambrahamson, a a Professor at the Columbia Business School and the co-author of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, if you spend too much time organizing, you become less productive. As he explains, “If you devote all your time to organizing, you won’t get anything done. If you don’t spend any time organizing, the resultant mess bogs you down completely. When you find the ‘sweet spot’ between messiness and order, then you have a perfect mess.” So maybe your own personal “organized chaos” isn’t such a bad filing system, after all! If you know where everything is and are able to find things quickly, you might just have the “perfect mess” for you.
- You probably feel ashamed of your mess and may have higher levels of anxiety. According to the study, two thirds of people feel ashamed of their mess and more than half of people think less of someone who is messy and disorganized. Clutter can cause overstimulation and distraction sometimes, which can lead to anxiety.
- You may accidentally create some amazing things out of your mess. We’re not machines and our messes are indicative of that fact. Our messes make us human, in a way and sometimes those messes can be beautiful. Many things were created totally by accident, including chocolate chip cookies, Slinkies, and champagne.
- You’re more likely to snag new opportunities. People with planned, orderly schedules are very efficient if nothing changes throughout the day; however, people with messy, unplanned schedules tend to catch new opportunities that arise throughout the day because they have no strict agenda about where they need to be. They are more likely to be able to go with the flow and take chances on new prospects.
- You enjoy being in a position of power. As Ambrahamson points out, “In terms of power, if you create a mess at work, you may be the only person who knows where things are. You become indispensable – they can’t fire you. That may be good from your point of view, not necessarily from your employer’s.” Your mess gives you the upper hand in many situations and you’re more likely to feel powerful and irreplaceable if only you know how to crack the code of your mess.
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk?” -Albert Einstein