Is clutter constricting your creativity?

May 22 2015

by Carrie Peeples

An office where you can find anything in an instant=successful person!
An office where you can find anything in an instant=successful person!

Does clutter contribute to or constrict creativity? While I’m sure there are plenty of us that want to justify a messy desk as a source of creativity, inspiration, and a sign of “more important things to worry about,” I can tell you clutter is constricting your creativity, not a source of it.


Everyone loves to share this quote with me as justification for having a messy desk or office. I always say, think of what he could have done if his desk were tidy!

Being organized actually promotes and encourages creativity because your mind is at ease to explore new ideas.


You are not distracted trying to remember insignificant details because your brain is fully focused on the task at hand. When your office is organized, you function at your best because you can find what you need in a nanosecond and you don’t have to stress wondering where things are because they are in place. Feels good, doesn’t it?


In my world of helping people by creating systems in their homes to manage everything, piles are just delayed decisions and reminders of things you haven’t done yet, but should have. Ugh. That pile of papers you say you need, you probably don’t but since you don’t really know what’s in there you call on your friend, Justin. Just-in case. As in, “I’ll keep this just in case I need it.”


That pile becomes the ghost of Christmas past: you don’t know what’s in there but it might be really important. It might, or it might not but you just haven’t taken the time to figure it out so it sits there, haunting you and reminding you that you still don’t know if you need that receipt or not or what to do with that random picture that might be helpful.


I know a lot of highly successful people who have messy desks and vice versa so one doesn’t preclude the other.


This is the office of a man that wore the same thing every, single, day!


And where would we be without the suspense of figuring out that Keyser Soze was just Verbal Kint making a story up based on Officer Rabin’s messy office. Sorry for the spoiler but the movie did come out 20 years ago.

So there would be no “Usual Suspects” if the detective didn’t have a messy office to inspire the story but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t organize your office.


While I’m sure we can all think of people who excel in the midst of chaos, I can think of many more who are paralyzed by it. More importantly, you can certainly live with clutter in your life but imagine how much easier it would be if you didn’t have to? Wouldn’t a reduction in your stress level make your life more enjoyable?


So what do you do with those piles on your desk? What is the solution? You may not like it but you need to set aside some time to go through the pile and create a system for managing all of that.


A system includes a location for the papers and stuff that you do need to keep like an inbox for incoming papers, file folders for bills and receipts, maybe a box or 2 for storing memorabilia, a bulletin board for inspirational photos or quotes, and a trashcan for what you definitely don’t need.


That system will also include a regular time assigned that you do go through the inbox or any piles that accumulate throughout the week and deal with these papers so that the pile doesn’t get bigger or more significant than your real work. Remember, you should be at ease in your office, not stressed wondering where THAT paper goes or if you’re going to have time to read THAT magazine or questioning whether you paid THAT bill that was in the bottom of the pile or where the checkbook is.


You need an office space that supports you and helps you live your best life. You’re doing what you were called to do and living out your dream. Don’t let the clutter keep you from pursuing your passion. Clear off your desk and say “yes” to success!


I’d love to hear from you: Do you have a cluttered desk or office?


Happy organizing!


Carrie Peeples View More Blog Posts from this Author

Carrie Peeples is a life saver for people who are too busy to get their homes organized. Her specialty is creating beautiful & functional organization systems that makes you feel like you’re in control again.
Through her proven process of evaluating how you function in your home and clearing clutter, she’s here to organize your home and teach you the steps to manage it on your own.

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One response on “Is clutter constricting your creativity?

  1. Cheri Leavy

    I am guilty of stacks of papers or tote bags filled with papers. My offices look organized but actually they need to be sorted and put in folders – you are right I need better systems. I split time between two towns too so I really need to know where things “live.” I am the queen of lists too and I have let those slide since the Summit and need to get my prioritizing straight again. Thanks for the therapy session! 😉

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