Does Creative Equal Messy?

Albert Einstein Messy Desk Quote

Your studio is a mess. Then again, it’s your mess, and while the placement of your things may look completely random to others, to you, it feels very much in control.

Creative people tend to think outside the desk.  We all have friends who insist being disorganized is critical to innovation. Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and Steve Jobs, all incredibly creative, led very messy lives.

A few artists, such as Joan Rivers, felt nothing could be further from the truth. Love her or hate her comedic style, she entertained audiences for decades with jokes she spent a lifetime writing down and obsessively cataloging. For her, organization provided a framework for her creative energy.

To me, organization is about being prepared for the moment when insight strikes. It’s about setting up my physical world to support me and creating conditions for creativity to flourish. The organization and management system in my studio may not look tidy to others, but it works for me. My studio is cluttered, but it is not dirty (Cluttered and dirty are very different!). I do not waste time clearing away my projects and tools each time I take a break from my work, but when I return I absolutely know where everything is located.

I love that I can close the door to my garage studio when I come into the house because my home is a different story. While I do not mind the studio looking messy to others, I keep my home well-kept and orderly, partially out of consideration to those who share my home and partially because any small mess seems to take over the entire open concept first floor. When my house is cluttered, my mind is cluttered, leaving me feeling disorganized and out of sorts, and I find I have many more hours in my day when I am not distracted by a messy house. Who doesn’t need more hours in their day?

How do you do your best work ? In what type of environment are you most creative? Would love to hear from you!


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4 Responses to Does Creative Equal Messy?

  1. Hey Leslie, nice to meet you. Interesting observations on creativity and clutter. I have recently decided to declutter my home and office space – keeping things that only “spark joy” in my life. So far it feels clean but not super inspiring (I have been a very “messy” creative most of my life. I am still in the process of streamlining everything, so I guess I will have to check back with you and let you know. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Expressive Clay Art says:

    Hi Madeline – nice to meet you too! Good luck with the decluttering…I like the idea of keeping only those items that “spark joy” 🙂 Keep me posted on your progress!


  3. Bonnie Farin says:

    Thanks for sharing this. You know it put a big smile on my face. After Ilaine spent 4 days decluttering my studio, I still can’t find anything, but it looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

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