Organized vs Messy: What’s your desk style?

Organized vs Messy Whats your desk style; messy desk; organized desk

A while ago, I saw this beautiful before and after post of an office-cum-creative space from the owner of A Beautiful Mess. She had done up the entire room in white, with a beautifully co-ordinated color palette and designated storage and wicker baskets for everything on a huge wall-to-wall shelf. The space looked organized and inviting. There’s also a certain feeling of calm that a predominantly white room exudes. It’s a pity that it is so impractical given how much dust and pollution we have here in Delhi.

But, I digress. After looking at those phots, I remember peeking over at my art table. At the mess of paint tubes strewn around on one end, and the other half of the desk overflowing with books and paper scraps. The husband’s study table was another tangled mess of wires with stationary thrown around haphazardly. Complete and utter chaos – that’s the only way I can describe it!

I often take comfort in the research I read a few years ago, which stated that messy desks foster creative, out-of-the-box thinking {you can read this fascinating report here}. But still, I do need to find a balance between pristine organization and a room that looks like a tornado has been through it.

my creatively messy art table

Because if I am being honest with myself, I know that I cannot work in a completely put-together room; I’ll always be afraid of messing it up and that would be the fastest way to kill my creativity and dampen my enthusiasm to throw paint around the canvas/journal. But sometimes, just looking at the chaos around me makes me want to fall in a heap in the middle of the room and cry {cue dramatic music}!

And so, balance. With that in mind, I spent the weekend attacking the chaos…err…mess on my old art table. I threw away two bags full of paper scraps and various bits and bobs I had hoarded thinking I could use them in my art journal. But seeing as those things have been lying in plain sight and not used even once, I figured they would not be used even if they were left there for all eternity! There was a whole pile of paper ephemera for collage that I sorted through and organized into clear plastic folders. A bunch of old notebooks with no useful information and a load of old pens with dried out ink that got tossed out.

art table ready to create

As I reorganized and threw away and rejigged that old art table, I suddenly realized I had more surfaces on which to work. I now have two art tables, which means that I can think of holding Studio Dates, an idea that I have been toying with since a while. Now if I can get my introverted self and my inner artist to come to some sort of arrangement, I may be able to have small creative gatherings in my studio – play dates, teaching dates, art dates, all of these become a possibility.

And all from the simple act of cleaning up an old art table.

Just so you know, my working art table is still a mess of paint tubes and papers and pencils – it is a working table, after all!

What about you? Do you have a pristine and organized workspace, a creative mess, or a balance between the two? What is your desk style? Oh, and does the idea of a Studio Date interest you?

P.S.: You can enjoy a virtual Studio Date with me right here! 😉

Posted in Art Journaling and tagged .


  1. I tend not to be too messy because I crave order and structure. There are days when I am exhausted that I don’t worry too much about cleaning up. But, by and large, organized and neat is my go-to space, both for creative work and otherwise. Clutter-free desk allows me to think freely too, as I have noticed.

    • And I’ve always been the opposite! I have, as I call it, an organised mess. I know exactly where things are in that mess. When I clean up, I’m constantly hunting for things. lol! And when I have a super clean and organised desk, I have a hard time creating because I only want to admire how pretty that desk is. I love how we are all so different in our approaches!!

  2. I Shinjini i’m sure your messiness fosters creativity. I like a clean work space but since I work in such a haphazard way in fits and starts, in between so many other “real” jobs my whole life is a MESS forget about my work space!. In my ideal world, I would know exactly where everything is kept in a neat orderly way ( I do try and purge and clean once a week ) but my husband who is innately tidy and always has everything in place finds me a pig 🙁

    • Yes, messiness does foster creativity for me. If only my mom would understand that. She’s super organised with a place for everything and everything in its place. My sister is like her. And till now, she’s constantly complaining about how messy my house is. I’ve given up trying to please her! And if you purge and clean once a week – hats off to you! I purge (my cupboards) once a year, if that! 🙈 This is life goals for me – to purge regularly!!

  3. I create a big mess when I start doing my artwork. As of now I don’t have a designated spot, but hoping to get some extra space soon. You desk looks really organized and tidy. Even on a good day my spot won’t look like that.

    • I love big art messes! Please show me your art spot – I would love to see!! And I hope you get some extra space soon. Having a designated spot is so helpful if you have multiple projects on the go.

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