Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Should you clean your clutter?

March 17, 2014

Kid's Responsibility Board | UncommonGoodsNot if you plan on penning your memoirs or painting a watercolor masterpiece! Studies have shown that while working in a tidy room encourages people to be more responsible and perform normatively “good” actions (think eating healthy, giving to charity, remembering to reschedule your cleaning at the dentist), working in a messy room encourages people to try new things and come up with creative ideas. During one of several controlled experiments, two groups of people, kept in either neat or messy rooms, were given smoothies and the option to enhance them with flavored “boosts.” Half of the boosts were deemed “classic” and the other half were “new.” Those in the cluttered room were more likely to opt for the newer, less typical add-ons. The theory is that disorderly environments tend to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can in turn produce fresh insights. This finding can go both ways; let the clutter pile up when you need to think outside the box, then tidy up once you’re ready to buckle down and get serious with eating well and finally making it to the gym—but if you lost track of your sneakers in all that clutter, maybe it’s a sign that you should just keep creating.

Kid’s Responsibility Board, $40

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