Three fundamental ideas about the disorder and chaos that we must make our own1. Chaos does not necessarily mean absence of orderWe tend to think that chaos means absence of order. However, José Saramago broke with this stereotype by saying: “chaos is an order yet to be deciphered”. Indeed, order and clutter can be very relative concepts; a seemingly cluttered desk, for example, can hide a very efficient priority and access system. On these desks, usually, the most pressing things are close to the person and high up, so that they cannot be ignored. In other words, just because we don't understand how to organize a person's workflow doesn't mean there's clutter.
2. A little clutter fosters creativityA study by University of Minnesota researchers found that environments saturated with things stimulate creativity. In one experiment, these psychologists asked participants to find new ways to use a ping pong ball. Half of them were asked to spend time in a tidy room, while the rest spent time in a messy room. Both groups presented the same number of ideas, but the most original came from the people who had been in the messy room. Everything seems to indicate that having a bit of confusion around us reminds us that the world is not so well structured and precise and that breaking the rules and thinking differently isn't that bad. In this way the brain is free to make new associations and develop unconventional ideas, it is as if the disorder encourages us to stop controlling our thoughts so strongly, letting new ideas flow.
3. Clutter only indicates that there are different prioritiesA few years ago, photos taken by photographer Ralph Morse at Albert Einstein's home were published shortly after his death. One of them left the world speechless by showing the clutter in his office. Of course, Einstein wasn't the only creative genius working surrounded by clutter - Mark Twain surpassed him, for example. Often the clutter simply shows people who don't bother following the status quo, people who appreciate spontaneity and are able to grasp the whole picture, without worrying about the details. These people prefer to invest their time elsewhere instead of worrying about tidying up around them.