Does clutter cultivate creativity or crush it? You decide.

Clutter is getting a bad rap lately. In general, folks with out-of-control clutter are stigmatized, not unlike people who smoke or are overweight. But I?can understand the comforts of a cluttered corner — I?once lived on the other side of neat before changing my ways.

When life gets messy, it’s usually reflected in our personal living spaces. A messy space always has a story to tell. I’ve found most cluttered people have traits in common:

>>?They’re very sentimental about memories and want to keep all memorabilia.

>>?They don’t like to be wasteful. If there’s a chance they could use something someday, they want to keep it, just in case the opportunity arises.

>>?They have great intentions, always buying cleaning products and bins to help them get organized — one day, they’ll get around to it.

>>?Many cluttered people also love to read and store information at home. They clip out tons of interesting articles from newspapers and magazines, and store them somewhere in a pile. They believe that sometime, they may want to refer to the article again.

>>?Then there are savvy sale-hunters, who find and snap up the best discounts, whether they need an item or not.

My own experience after meeting and working with all these folks, is that clutter can both cultivate and crush creativity.

But I?also know that creating immediate visual clarity — whether straightening piles on a desk or putting away clothes thrown over a chair — can give anyone a boost.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more, visit or call 416-665-2165. “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”

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