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Benefits of Being Messy: 7 Reasons It’s Better to Be a Slob

Cleanliness may be next to Godliness, but sloppiness is a lot easier. And there are loads of benefits to being messy, too.

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Never make your bed: Thwart dust mites

Did you know that your bed is likely home to 1.5 million hungry dust mites feeding off your dead skin scales and swimming in the moisture left over on your sweat-soaked sheets? Or that, if inhaled, the allergens they produce (which is actually their poop—Mm-mmm!) can cause asthma and allergies? Sleep tight! Thankfully, it’s easy to stop the little buggers: Don’t make your bed. Sheets and blankets tucked in with their hospital corners locks in moisture mites need to survive. As with Dracula, exposure to sunlight kills them. Stephen Pretlove, PhD, of Kingston University’s School of Architecture told the BBC, “Leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.” Here are other tricks to dust-proof your house.

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Don’t wash your hair: Rock a better ‘do

Twilight actor Robert Pattinson has a lot of hair, which, in my book, makes him an expert. So I took notes when he said, “I don’t really see the point in washing your hair… It’s like, I don’t clean my apartment ’cause I don’t care. I have my apartment for sleeping, and I have my hair for just, you know, hanging out on my head.” Turns out he has a point. Washing your hair every day “strips it of its essential oils,” according to “Day-old hair styles better and generally looks better than freshly washed hair.” Hairstylist and founder of Drybar Alli Webb told, “I have always said, ‘It’s fine to go a few days without shampooing.'” (It’s true, she’s always saying it. She’s the dullest conversationalist). “For hair that’s normal in terms of oiliness and medium weight, I sometimes tell my clients to go as long as they can without shampooing.” When it comes to washing my hair, I’m Team Edward all the way! Here are other reasons you should shower less often.

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Be lazy: Lower blood pressure

We all know the value of exercise: You get big muscles so that you can pop the lid off pickle jars without running them under hot water. But when it comes to mental health, doing nothing has a lot going for it. “It’s long been recognized, by everyone from the Buddha to John Keats, that ‘doing’ can be a kind of compulsion, an addiction we only fail to acknowledge as such because society praises us for it,” wrote Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian. “Indeed, learning how to do nothing might be the most vital skill for thriving in our frenetic, overwhelmed, always-connected culture.” I’m a willing student! Especially because relaxation confers so many health benefits. The Mayo Clinic says relaxation techniques can lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, improve concentration and mood, and increase blood flow to major muscles, like the ones I use to lower myself onto the couch. Also try these foods to lower your blood pressure.

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You’re no fashion plate: Avoid ‘decision fatigue’

To avoid what psychologists refer to as “decision fatigue,” President Barack Obama limits the scope of his wardrobe. “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” Obama once told Vanity Fair. “I’m trying to pare down decisions because I have too many other decisions to make.” Decision fatigue, says Fast Company, “is why shopping for groceries can be so exhausting and judges give harsher rulings later in the day.” Whoa, wait, I just got a parking ticket, what’s that last thing? An Israeli university study that examined 1,100 court decisions showed that 70 percent of prisoners who appeared in court in the morning received parole, while those that came in the evening had less than a 10 percent shot at landing parole. The fatigue can be attributed to the fact that “making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs, or illicit sex,” Roy F. Baumeister, co-author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, told Fast Company.

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Never clean your desk: Boost creativity

There’s an excellent Albert Einstein quote about desks: “desks=mc2?” No, that’s not right. The quote’s somewhere on my desk, but I can’t find it amid all this clutter. I probably should dump it all into the trash, but a sloppy desk has its virtues. A University of Minnesota study split participants into two rooms (one tidy, the other messy) and asked each group to come up with different uses for Ping Pong balls. The groups brainstormed a similar number of ideas, but the messy-room ideas “were rated as more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges,” according to the Psychological Science study. While orderly environments “encouraged playing it safe,” concludes Kathleen Vohs, one of the study authors, “disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: creativity.” Oh, here’s that Einstein quote. I was sitting on it: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” I think I’ll keep this quote under my butt where I can find it. Here are other things highly creative people tend to do.

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Don’t wash your jeans: Make them last longer

Addressing a Fortune magazine conference on the environment, Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh pointed to his pants and said, “These jeans are maybe a year old and these have yet to see a washing machine. I know that sounds totally disgusting.” Not to me! Like Bergh, I never wash my jeans. Hot water and detergent make denim fade and quickens their demise. “Raw denim is best given a good six months before washing,” advises British jeans manufacturer Hiut Denim on its website. “The longer you can leave it, the better your jeans will look.” was slightly grossed out by this practice, so they asked Rachel McQueen, a professor of human ecology at the University of Alberta in Canada, how sanitary this was. While bacteria, sweat, and skin cells get transferred to ones clothes via the body, “skin microorganisms are generally not hazardous to ourselves,” she told the site. Of course, Eau de Unwashed Jeans is not a fragrance Chanel will be marketing anytime soon. Bergh recommends spot cleaning jeans with a sponge or toothbrush and a bit of detergent, then air drying. On the other hand, you probably should wash these everyday items more often than you do.

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Your kid loves dirt: He’ll be healthier

Yes, the slob life’s for me, and I’m dragging my kid into it, too. We’re going to roll around in mud puddles and go dumpster diving. And no fair pouring on the Purell. After all, a bit of dirt never hurt a kid, and most likely helps them. Northwestern University research posits that exposure to common bacteria and microbes may help develop “the body’s inflammatory systems, which plays a crucial role in the immune system’s fight against infection,” reports “Inflammatory networks may need the same type of microbial exposures early in life that have been part of the human environment for all of our evolutionary history to function optimally in adulthood,” Thomas McDade, the lead author of the study, told the site.

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.