Vindication! Science Says a Messy Workspace Means a More Creative Mind


Oh my god, I love it so much when science flatters my insecurities and validates my flaws! Yeah, medicine, space travel, blah blah blah, whatever, but TELL ME MORE ABOUT HOW MY DIRTY DISHES MEAN I’M LITERALLY VINCENT VAN GOGH. New research out of the University of Minnesota has found that a messy workspace sometimes indicates a more creative, innovative mind. [MAXIMUM FIST-PUMP.] [Knocks pile of pizzeria flyers into dried-out puddle of egg yolk.]

The researchers started out pretty biased against the putting-stuff-away-challenged:

“We were thinking about doing a paper showing how being tidy makes people kind of do the right thing,” psychologist Kathleen Vohs, lead author of a study in the journal Psychological Science, said in a telephone interview.


“And then we started challenging ourselves. Is there anything that goes along with a messy environment that could be good?”

Carry on.

A messy work environment, the research suggested, can bring out a person’s creativity and lead to the birth of bold, new ideas. In other words, a less- than-perfect work environment can make a person more likely to think out of the box, or at least above the horizon of those neat people in the office.
…No amount of clutter is going to make an empty brain creative, but this research indicates that a little clutter may bring out the freshest and most creative side of you.
“The environment doesn’t create something that isn’t already there,” Vohs said. “To the extent that you are creative, it pulls it out of you.”

This is probably the best news I’ve gotten all year. Because if it’s really actually true, then at this point in time, my boyfriend and I are experiencing a GODLIKE CREATIVE PEAK. (Just so I’ve got the timeline down, how many coffee cups with a tiny bit of mold growing in the bottom need to be shoved toward the corner of my desk before I get my E.G.O.T.?)

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