Thursday, May 19, 2016

Organized Life, Organized Body, Organized Mind?

 I possess none of the above.

Throughout my life I have tried to be neat and organized, to declutter and simplify. I make some progress, but quickly regress.

I clean closets, but they transform almost immediately into messy, clutter-filled space.

I shred papers, file documents, and order reigns. Unfortunately I blink and piles reappear all around me.

Is disorderliness a bad thing?

There are competing theories about organization vs. disorganization, clutter vs. declutter.

One school of thought declares disorganization, clutter, and general messiness leads to a muddled and chaotic life, and therefore nothing gets done.

Another school of thought states messiness suggests activity and creativity.

Obviously I am partial to the latter theory because I am not an organized, orderly person. I lean chaotic, the gene probably imbedded in my DNA.

I am not alone. Minds far wiser and brainier than mine are partial to the belief that from disarray arise good things. Albert Einstein, for one, is on my side:

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, 
of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?  - Albert Einstein

Other famous individuals successful in a messy environment include Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.

I am not making excuses. Science backs up the thesis that messiness encourages creativity. Psychologists tested peoples’ responses in a neat atmosphere and a disheveled room. The untidy place produced more creative reactions than the neat space.

An emphasis on order may be misdirected and overrated.

On the other hand studies have shown that people endowed with ‘innate conscientiousness’, defined as organized and conventional, usually eat better and live longer than people who are sloppy. They also tend to have immaculate offices, and by extension neat homes, unless they live with a messy person and can tolerate the disorder.

So what does all this mean?

I have decided to accept my messiness and my procrastination when it comes to decluttering and organizing – files, closets, kitchen cabinets, etc. I will in the future revel in my chaos and confusion and not be frustrated when unable to locate whatever it is I am looking for. Who knows what creative masterpieces may flow forth from my mind. I would never want to inhibit my imagination or productivity.

My disorder, however, does not extend to cleaning. I have a habit of putting off cleaning my house, but at some point take a deep breath and dig in (metaphorically speaking).

My mess is a dustless mess.

Just don’t look under the furniture.