On Clutter

When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process information | Unclutterer

(via unconsumption / PSFK)

9 Comments leave a comment below

  1. “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

    -Albert Einstein.

  2. I’m also more of the “an empty desk is an empty mind” side of the argument. But what I find curious is that a vast majority of people who dislike clutter seem to have very marked reactions to it, ranging from a simple inability to focus all the way to physical anxiety.

    On the clutter side, you don’t really hear people saying they feel anxiety at seeing a mess. In fact the idea of a physical reaction to seeing clutter is such a foreign concept to me I can’t even begin to understand what’s going on in such a person’s mind.

    I think the vast difference in reaction shows that it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition, there’s probably some fundamental difference in the way our minds are wired that could explain why some people are affected by it.

    Anyway, I’m given to clutter and as such sometimes feel persecuted for it! I’m also a lefty and very much right brained so I’ve always had this chip on my shoulder that the right-handed world is trying to get me to conform. Starting with childhood experience from being slapped on my left hand when trying to write lefty. /rambling.

  3. Reminds me of another clutter quote I read today:

    “When an item is in dispute (meaning I want to sell, toss, or recycle it and the kids need to keep it), we take a photo and stick the photo in a book, where they get to write a small eulogy about it. Then it goes out. You’d be amazed how this small project has taught them to view what is special and what is not.”


  4. Everyone reacts differently to clutter, but for me personally, I work most effectively with a clean, tidy and minimal desk.

  5. Surely the state of your desktop is more important than your desk?

  6. Thank you Carl for your statement about clutter.

    I agree wholeheartedly – I am often told that “You’d feel so much better if you got rid of a lot of stuff.” And I reply, “No, YOU’D feel better if I got rid of stuff.”

    I was working in my studio the other day (which I haven’t done in a long time) and when I told my sister than I’d been working in the studio, she thought I’d been cleaning and was rather disappointed when I’d been creating.

    If I waited until the house was clean before I made art and was creative, I’d never create anything and that would be very sad.

    To each his own, I say!

  7. Just like the electronic clutter, eh? Too much meaningless chatter!!

  8. Not everyone can create in a clean and tidy environment. I teach 4-5 year olds and what may be good for one child may not work for another. Some children and adults need a “nest” of materials to create something out of it. Some need a clean and ordered work space. Just look at Caldrer’s Studio as a perfect example of the creative mind needing mess to create. Michalangelo had to move to a new house because the first was so cluttered–so did Hokusai. For a pic of Calder’s studio look here: http://the-mobile-factory.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-i-found-alexander-calders-roxbury.html

  9. The definition of clutter depends on who you talk to.