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Square it up to calm down

Square it up to calm down

Knolling—arranging a collection of things thoughtfully in relationship to each other, often at 90-degree angles—is said to have started with the habits of a particular janitor in Frank Gehry’s furniture workshop.

People would arrive in the morning to find their desktops perfectly straightened up. The pleasure it gave (plus some modern day help from Instagram) has made the habit widely known in the design community and beyond. Bringing order to physical objects sometimes helps sort out mental chaos we’re experiencing.

Why does it work so well? It’s similar to why we make lists, put non-mathematical information into spreadsheets and sort books onto shelves by color.


According to Tom Sachs who was working in Gehry’s studio at the time

  • Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
  • Put away everything not in use. If you aren't sure, leave it out.
  • Group all 'like' objects.
  • Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.

Enjoy your physical expression of order and calm.