Knolling: a verb for those who like things nice and kentucky

Here is an incredibly useful verb for you: to Knoll. Knolling is "the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization." It was coined by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor who worked for Frank Gehry.

At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll's angular furniture. Kromelow would arrange any displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, in that the tools were arranged in right angles—similar to Knoll furniture.[1] The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once.

Here is Tom Sachs's Always Be Knolling manifesto:

* 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.

Knoll (verb) (via Making Light)

(Image: A scanned page from Tom Sachs' 2009 zine "Ten Bullets". Chohlasa/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA))


    1. Like “Bristol fashion”, but covered with crumbs and pressure-fried. Although I may be wrong on that last point.

      1. boingboing used to disemvowel people’s comments, but we should Knoll-ify them now, instead

  1. Janitors are some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.  When I was in elementary school we had a soul-custodian (kind of like a mix of Chef from ‘South Park’ and JJ from ‘Good Times’) who was wiser than most of the teachers there.  I loved talking with and learning from him.

  2. That is like claws on a chalkboard to me. If you’re not using a set of tools, then you’re just making a mess by leaving them scattered around. It’s like a toddler scattering toys from the toy chest all over the house, because they have to be able to see the toys at all times. You’re an adult now! Try to cultivate a little propriety!

    1. I think you’re ok because someone told me you have a minimalistic avatar,
      But what do you say, am I ok, too?
      No, seriously, am I?
      Really, I mean REALLY, AM I?

      Something along these lines happened to me once, my roommate’s friend’s roommate needed a place to crash for a night, and he went on all fucking night like this, his other topics of conversation extended no further than criticizing his roommate, boxing and how Billy Idol was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  3. And to neatly arrange your Kentucky bluegrass lawn may be called grassy knolling, but that term has acquired a negative connotation.

  4. i flash back to the scene in Pink Floyd (the Movie) whence Geldof as “Pink”  rearranges all the stuff in his suite, after his cosmic thrash trash meltdown. 

      1. I fail to see the main difference to wall-mounted tools which predate both by decades.

  5. what a great little word. I actually do this all the time in my work. I’m a photographer and when I shoot in studio, I often do this on a side table with lenses, flashes, cards, etc. Seeing everything at once helps me keep track of it all while I’m working and lets me find what I need without digging around in a bag. I learned to do this assisting more experienced photographers who would do it with rolls of film, camera backs, etc, So I know I must not be alone.

  6. According to this, it’s something we do here in Germany under the term ‘Stackenblochen’. But rest assured, we probably won’t start a war over you adopting the technique. :-) (Man, those war jokes get tiresome… but you have to make them to be respected as a proper German. Otherwise, those uniformed guys come slapping you. XD)

  7. *Group all ‘like’ objects.

    This alone would cause me hours of indecision. ‘Like’ in what manner? Material? Function? Size? Shape? Colour?

  8. I’m working on knolling my tools like this, but using tool control foam so I can move  the tools to the project, whilst keeping them knolled.    Never knew there was a word for it.

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