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Blog // Simplicity
1 month ago

Knolling Is The Perfect Activity For This Moment

In these difficult times, the simple practice of knolling could be the most delightfully satisfying way to stave off the feeling of “What to do now?”

In these difficult times, the simple practice of knolling could be the most delightfully satisfying way to stave off the feeling of “What to do now?”

Knolling is the practice of arranging everyday objects neatly and symmetrically. The word is derived from the name of the Knoll furniture company. Acclaimed architect Frank Gehry designed chairs for Knoll and his janitor, Andrew Kromelow, coined to describe organising tools on a work surface in a neat way that allowed them all to be seen at once.

Search Instagram or Pinterest for knolling and you’ll find a stream of photos with all sorts of everyday objects arranging in neat, inviting order. It’s become such a popular aesthetic that there’s even knolling-photography tutorials, complete with advice on the best camera lenses and how to light your knolling scene.

Of course, my own passion for knolling was evident back in 2014 when I chose it as the pattern design for my book, No Missing Tools.

No Missing Tools Knolling

The 4 Principles Of Knolling

Many people became aware of knolling after Tom Sachs posted his 10 Bullets video on YouTube back in 2010. The video outlines the best working practices for his studio and one of his principles is “always be knolling”, which is code for always tidying up your workspace as you go.

Sachs outlined the 4 principles of knolling as:

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

Knolling Is More Than Just Tidying

You can knoll anything, from the tools in your workshop to the utensils in your kitchen or the pens and supplies on your desk. It’s the kind of thing that might seem a bit indulgent, a bit over the top and obsessive, but right now, when many of us need something simple to focus on, some way to control a little bit of our world or some way to dissipate the nervous energy we have, knolling seems kind of perfect.

In fact, knolling might be the ultimate quarantine activity.

Best of all, knolling is a surprisingly relaxing and satisfying way to engage with the space you live and work in. Make Magazine described it as a “therapeutic, meditative activity”, which is surely the kind of thing many of us need to be doing right now.

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