As a professional concierge specializing in tasks like hoarding resolution and downsizing assistance, I have heard my share of comments about being a neat freak. I don’t mind the comments because, in fact, I take pride in order and organization. But recently I began wondering about my penchant for wanting things clean, neat, and in their proper place. I started wondering whether there was some sort of psychology behind the need to be organized. It turns out there may be.
A 2015 CNN report by Allyssia Alleyne looked at a new kind of popular art that takes common, everyday items that people are familiar with and arranges them in organized groups that could represent different colors, patterns, or whatever. The resulting displays are then photographed and presented as art. Believe it or not, one of the first artists to undertake this ‘organizational medium’ back in 2011 has been inundated with hundreds of thousands of social media likes and contracts to produce images for some fairly recognizable corporate clients.
Alleyne spoke to an expert from Belgium who specializes in visual perception to see if he could explain why so many people found the artwork so desirable. Psychologist Johan Wagemans explained that the everyday items depicted in the artwork are not necessarily attention-grabbing in their own natural environments because those environments are often chaotic. But organizing the items in a clearer way removes the chaos, thereby telling the brain that they deserve some attention.
Peaceful, Serene and Calm
Without going into more detail, the CNN piece explains that organization tends to create a more peaceful, serene and calm environment for many people. Those who are thought of as ‘neat freaks’ apparently find it somewhat therapeutic to organize because doing so brings a sense of peace and serenity.
How deeply the psychology of organization runs is a matter of debate. What’s most fascinating is that I know, from my own experience, that going into some of the most difficult jobs is more about relieving the client’s stress than actually getting things organized. The actual act of organizing is as much a stress-relieving tool as an end unto itself.
The reality is that clutter and disorganization stress people out. In the most serious cases, they can be dangerous. That’s why resolving hoarding situations is so important, and why so many clients who have successfully resolved such issues find themselves so much more relaxed and at peace.
Removing the Chaos
Disorganization represents chaos to some degree. And who really likes chaos? Some people tolerate it better than others, but I think it is fair to say that the average human being prefers to stay away from the chaos. That’s where organization becomes so important. Organization removes some of the chaos of life to create a scenario that can be depended on, a scenario of knowing what your surroundings are rather than having those surroundings constantly change on you.
So, there you have it. If there is any kind of psychology behind being organized, science says it has to do with avoiding the chaos in favor of peaceful serenity. I can live with that. I can also help you achieve it in your own life. If you are disorganized at home or work, give My Divine Concierge call. We can help make your chaotic life more organized and peaceful.