We sense that a clean space is somehow better that a disorganized one. It feels right to us. This is not a myth, we actually are better off in a clean space. Admittedly, there is such a thing as creative chaos, and that does complicate the argument; but we do benefit from a clean workspace.
- Clutter tends to increase stress. If there are piles of paper we feel there is a hopeless amount of work to be done. We either give up, or undertake the work half-heartedly.
- If a room smells bad there is probably a hygiene risk. And even if there isn’t a poor smell will tend to have a negative impact on your mood.
- Clutter means confined space, which we associate with less physical activity. We tend to physically move less in a confined space, of something that feels confined.
- Spatial ability is connected to memory. If we are confined, or feel confined by clutter, we cannot really flex our mental abilities very much.
- When people start to take control of their surrounding and keep them tidy they also tend to take more positive control of their lives. We can see this when different people react to the same crisis. The individual who compulsively cleans their house will tend to sort their problems out, with a little time. The individual who lies down in the middle of the mess will take much longer to get their act together.
An office cleaner cannot decide what you keep on your desk- that’s your responsibility. But if you keep your desk organized the hired help can look after the other 90% of the cleaning. It only takes a moderate improvement in productivity, or a better mood, to justify the effort made. If we have to work for a living, we are better off being content in the task.
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Unclean surroundings are a problem. Sometime a problem inspires us to be creative; and if we are creative in a useful way this can be worthwhile. But most of the time clutter is a problem that distracts us from doing something useful. We are distracted by the clutter and don’t really concentrate on any real problems or creative endeavours. A clean office means a clean space for getting useful and creative work done.