Rather frequently we're encouraged to clean out clutter at home and work. However, I'd like to present an alternate viewpoint as I point out the positive aspects of accumulating various items. Collectibles contain messages for both the person owning them and visitors. They say a lot about a person's interests and background.

A house or office filled with books sends a message of an erudite occupant. Photographs on the wall are an indication of monumental moments in the person's life. Awards, plaques, degrees, citations, all speak to accomplishments. Bobble-head dolls, souvenirs, and trinkets provide glimpses of past travels.

As a student in college I remember admiring the offices of various professors. Browing the shelves gave me insight into the instructor that I otherwise wouldn't have. In graduate school, I loved seeing a professor's office that was covered with books from top to bottom on shelf after shelf. I even recall seeing photos in magazines of writers whose studies were filled with academic clutter that could stimulate anyone entering that work area.

Maps, globes, sissors, letter-openers, pens, pencils, cups, hand-cleasing products, brief cases, calenders, calculators, CDs, magazines, newspaper clippings, notebooks, envelopes, audio recorders, folders, old telephone directories, and staplers are all signs of a creative mind at work. How sad it would be to see a nearly empty, vacant office instead. All these are tools for productivity.

Let's look more closely at the influence having an office full of meaningful objects has on both the occupant and the visitors. First, we'll consider the influence it has on the person owning the items. Self-talk is not always verbally spoken, Most often it is the mental conversation we carry on with ourselves during our waking hours. Objects reminding one of past successes and pleasant adventures such as vacations and business trips helps to maintain positive self-talk. You may not even be conscious of the messages you're sending your mind, but it has an effective just the same. Objects in your enviroment that stimulte positive recall work in your favor.

Visitors coming into an office that has the "lived in" look gain greater understanding of what motivates the occupant. Photos, books, plaques, all indicate what the person values. A visitor is given visual cues on how to approach the person at his or her level of interest. This is much better than trying to guess or read someone's mind.

I'm an advocate of the cluttered office. To me it's a mark of a creative genius who wracks his brain coming up with the next brillant idea. Long live clutter!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. William G. Covington, Jr. writes on the topic of creativity.