Sunday, January 28, 2007

Have You Bought Into Our Neat Freak/Organize Everything Culture?

Seems everywhere you turn these days the talk is about "organizing" and "removing clutter" from our lives. This focus and ensuing tasks in effort to achieve the latter can be all-consuming --if you let it-- and it can even cause guilt for those of us who are unable to achieve 'perfect order' in the eyes of the world.

But there is some good news for those of us who can't quite seem to "get it right" ... those of us who have reached a compromise between chaos and order?  It turns out there are, in fact, many hidden benefits to disorder. That in truth: a little disorder gives us new ways of looking at things, often spurning new ideas and outright creativity in science, art, music and every other aspect of our lives.

The authors of a new book on this very subject matter are Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freeman.
Their book is titled: "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder."

This book is currently available only in hardcover.  I am going to pick up a copy tomorrow.  I can't wait! I may just buy a few extra copies and give them to some of the "neat freaks" in my life.

[Update: 2/2] So far the book is good. It has a lot of scientific references that I understand and find very interesting -- being an engineer and loving science in general -- but if that's not your thing you can skim over these sections and get the general gist of what the authors are trying to say.

Thus far, the book makes me feel less guilt about the tendency of my house -- with 3 small, bright, and creative children under the age of 10 -- to be messy.  I'd already come to the conclusion that in order to stay sane and enjoy the young stages of growth and development in my children: I needed to let go of the illusion that I could have a perfectly clean house.

Life is too short! And I don't want to the Mom who is so obsessed with order that I spend more time cleaning my house and picking up than actually interacting with my kids. But on some level, I still have guilt when talking with or visiting my sisters, mother and other moms who always seem to have a pristinely clean house. I am so embarrassed when anyone comes over and sees our 'less than perfect' house.

But on the bright side: my kids are extremely happy, very creative and well adjusted. So from the latter standpoint living in a 'less than perfect' --often downright messy house!-- is a small price to pay for having happy, healthy, bright and creative kids. Maybe this book will help to liberate me [and others!] from the guilt about the clutter and lack of organization in my [their] own home?

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