A tidy desk has its perks. In addition to looking nice (and impressing your boss), it’s been scientifically proven to foster positive behavior. People sitting at a clean desk are more likely to donate generously, and abstain from littering and crime, than people working in cluttered spaces. But a new study from the University of Minnesota shows that a disorganized, unkempt office can be helpful too. How? It makes you more inventive. Scientists asked people at tidy and untidy desks to develop new uses for ping pong balls (we swear, Real Simple didn’t put them up to this!), and discovered that those sitting at messy desks presented ideas that were more “interesting and creative.”
Do you find that you’re more creative when your desk, office, bedroom—or wherever you do your best thinking—is a little bit messy? I’ve been coming up with new uses for old things for Real Simple for about three years, and I must admit, my desk at work is not pretty… at all. Perhaps that’s the secret!
Need some stuff to clutter up your desk, so you can get your creative juices flowing? Check out our roundup of the best desk supplies.