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The Scientific Link Between Tidiness and Tranquility

green spray bottle

Photo Credit: Winnond,

This past week I have been on a staycation, tidying up around the house in preparation for hosting my sister’s upcoming nuptials.  At this point in the week, I am just concentrating on picking things up off the floor, sorting through piles of mail, catching up all of the laundry, taking out the recycling, that sort of thing.

In the process of all of this tidying up, I’ve discovered something precious: tranquility.

Tranquility: “the quality or state of being tranquil; calm:” (

Tranquility is usually the last thing one experiences as a wedding approaches.  For me personally, I have discovered a correlation between the cleanliness (read: tidy) of my home and my peace of mind, ability to take on (and focus) on new projects and general contentment.

How can that possibly all come from bins full of trash and full hangers of clean laundry?

Over at The Unclutterer, Erin Doland talks about the correlation of physical clutter and our ability to focus, drawing on a survey done by Princeton University Neuroscience Institute. In her article, Erin discusses the scientific link between tidiness and the ability to focus on tasks at hand.  In my mind, that means that tidiness = focus = tranquility.

Why is this important, as a writer, an artist, or any other creative mind?  Think about your workspace.  Is it cluttered? Until this past week’s staycation, I had unpaid bills, unsorted mail, unopened mail (from 2010, 2011, EEP!), and lots of dust bunnies everywhere.

Writers and computer peeps, check out your Mac/PC desktop.  Is that cluttered with files?  What gives you greater peace of mind, an empty (read: clean) virtual desktop or one with dozens, if not hundreds, of links, files, etc?  I know what the answer is for me:  empty, empty, empty = happy, happy, happy.

I usually keep a few aliases up on my desktop, just for quick access to the files I use the most (see below).  Like my current desktop picture? I found that in a re-post over at


To sum up, if you find your virtual (or physical) desktop needs some TLC, take a time out and tidy up.  You may find that your ability to focus increases, your attention span lasts longer, and you’ll have a greater peace of mind knowing that you’ve improved your life a bit, if only until the next time the mailman arrives.

This entry was posted in: Lifestyle


Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has two decades of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at

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