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Use the Ski Slope Method to Finally Teach Yourself to Be a Tidy Person

Jessica Stillman
4 min readJun 4, 2024

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From the time I was a child until well into my 30s, I was always famously, unapologetically messy. When I looked around at the papers, books, and mismatched shoes scattered around my apartment, I would take comfort in knowing I was in good company. It’s well documented that many geniuses, from Einstein to Steve Jobs, were perpetually messy, and research suggests an ability to tolerate or even enjoy disorder is linked with increased creativity.

But then I bought a place and had a kid. Baby detritus and various plastic doodads overtook my home, mixing with my traditional clutter. I hosted more and stayed put in one place longer. Stuff piled up, priorities shifted, and my youthful urge to buck every convention softened. I began to feel the flip side of messiness much more.

The psychological toll of being messy

While science is pretty clear that creativity and messiness often go together, it’s equally definitive that cluttered spaces stress us out. As psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne explains in this Psychology Today article packed with links to academic studies, messy environments have been linked with worse mental health, less efficient thinking, and even unhealthier eating.

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