MS MRI Logo Horizontal ver.svg

If Your Desk At Work Is Super-Messy, We Have Great News For You

So much for all the desk-reorganizing hacks we’ve ever published. Apparently, if your desk is super-neat and Pinterest-perfect, you’re not as likely to be a creative genius.


According to a study by the University of Minnesota, those with messy desks tend to have unique, out-of-the-box ideas. The study put participants into two rooms: one neat and orderly, and the other one more like many of our desks (a.k.a., chaotic). Then, researchers asked them to come up with new uses for ping-pong balls.

Both groups came up with the same number of ideas. But impartial judges found that the messy-room people came up with more interesting, creative ideas.

“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” said psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, who conducted the study. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

Now you can use that excuse next time someone gives you grief over your desk clutter.