Mind & Body

Your Mom Was Right—A Tidy Room Can Improve Your Life

"Clean up your room!" How often did you hear this growing up? While tidiness can often feel like a mother's fixation, we're regret to inform you that science backs her up. A tidy room has been associated with decreased stress and depressive feelings, and one study linked it to healthier life choices. Mother knows best!

Chaos Loves Candy Bars

For a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science, participants were either placed in an orderly or a cluttered room, then asked to choose between a healthy or an unhealthy snack (an apple or a chocolate bar). The people in the orderly room were more likely to choose the apple, and the cluttered people typically chose the candy.

The experiment then went a step further. The same two groups of volunteers were asked to donate money to a charitable cause. Guess which group was feeling more generous? Yep—the orderly group wins again.

A Messy Desk Equals A Creative Mind

But hold on a minute—the study did find some important benefits to a disorderly environment. When they asked the two groups to come up with as many new uses for ping-pong balls as they could, the participants in the messy room came up with more creative ideas. Another experiment found that those in the messy room were more likely to choose a menu item labeled "new," while those in the orderly room were more likely to choose an item labeled "classic."

So which is it? Should you strive to be healthy and generous by keeping your space tidy, or should you embrace disorder and keep the creative juices flowing? Business Insider suggests you do a bit of both. "Tidy up when you have the time or when your environment starts to stress you out, and stop when you feel like the need to be neat is cramping your style."

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Tidying Up

Does Being Messy Make You More Creative?

Marie Kondo: "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up"

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Written by Curiosity Staff May 3, 2017

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