Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Value of Organized Mess

It's ironic I know that while I've been trying to de-clutter parts of my house (and yes, I know I've created apparent clutter in other spots), I've been reading The Perfect Mess, by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman. Subtitle: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, how crammed closets, cluttered offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place.

Just finished the book, and I don't believe they would have disapproved of the work I've been doing. Probably won't disapprove next week of my pulling everything out of my studio and only putting those items back in that I believe I will use.

The book admits that there are dangers of too much clutter or mess in the our lives; when we lose important items because of disorder it's a problem. They argue, however, that some messiness, some randomness, some "clutter" tends to make people more creative, businesses more adaptable, and life easier to live.

I think that's what I'm aiming for. I don't want to exist in a sterile environment (anyone's whose seen my bathroom on a normal day could attest to the fact that I don't). I just want some of the horizontal surfaces in my house to remain visible, without various random items being placed on them. Items that should be temporary and moved within 12 hours. Items that when left longer become invisible and stay for month.

I have a pile of these items on the kitchen counter. They will be dealt with today.

So I enjoyed the book and recommend it to others. The authors ridicule the "professional organizer's society" fiercely, which I love. They talk about the happy accidents that have made great things possible. And how adding a random item into brainstorming or websearches for example can yield unusual but successful results. But just as I was thinking that all this organizing was being done to keep me from being distracted by clutter from my creative purposes, the authors write about things that were invented by accident and end that sections with this:

Clearly our minds are prepared to do some of their best work when they're diverted, one way or another, from what we intend to focus them on. Think about that - but only for a minute. pg. 250.
Now this either validates my argument that I solve my problems best when I'm doing something else (thus diverted). I'm OK with that. OR they are suggesting that I "build in" some diversion in my organization. Hmm...

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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