Tidy Beautiful Things: A Look At "The Art of Clean Up"


There's something deeply satisfying about being organized—to arrange things on shelves, to properly file papers away, to see everything in its right place. If the popularity of sites like the single-serving Tumblr Things Organized Neatly indicate anything, it's that organization can also be pleasing to the eye.

But what if you took that one step further?

In The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy, Swiss typographer and comedian Ursus Wehrli takes the concept of organization and deconstructs it. The result is a book of charming, funny, and surprisingly beautiful before-and-after photographs: alphabet soup is sorted alphabetically; a bouquet of flowers is stripped down to its petals and stems; a map of Vienna's transit system is reduced to its lines and copy.

But perhaps what works best about The Art of Clean Up is the way it pokes fun of our obsessive-compulsive tendencies by organizing things that don't need organizing, while also justifying these cravings by making them so pleasing to look at. A messy sandbox full of toys is rearranged and ordered by shape and color, the boy previously playing in the sandbox now sidelined, arms folded. These photos show the beauty in both clutter and "clean up," and the humor that lives in between.

See more photos from The Art of Clean Up after the jump.

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Comments (1)

Such amazing pictures and the best thing is that the clean up pictures are of things which we use daily and therefore we can related to them and also it gives a completely different perspective of looking things.

Posted by: Vinish Parikh | Wednesday February 13, 2013 at 3:57 AM

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