I walked into work this morning with a couple of prints from a meeting the afternoon before and immediately started thinking of where I could place them. And then not forget about where that was. Although I swear I cleaned my office a month ago, you would never think that looking at the sea of paper now spread across two desks.

I’m not sure what trait architects have that creates this kind of chaos. Maybe something that’s just hardwired into our DNA. Or maybe after all those late nights in studio surrounded by paper and model scraps, we aren’t comfortable unless our work desks look the same. Or perhaps it’s that first job where we experience a real office and are convinced this is just the way architects are.

My first ever work desk still had a Mayline and inclined work surface to draw on. Sure I sometimes used it for that. However, for the most part, that desktop was the repository for stacks of project documents. Change orders. Memos. Detail drawings. Piles of 8-1/2 x 11 sheets that were cataloged in a file cabinet in my brain, to the extent that when my boss came over asking for something, I could usually just flip through the stack and pull that out.

Organized chaos.

Something that could not be said for the owner’s desk and office. Whomever was sitting at the next cubicle would eventually start fighting message slips that had slowly crept onto their work surface. And there was a reason his office had a door.

I did know an architect at one of the larger Dallas firms who was required to have his desktop clean at the end of each day. And any pencils left out needed to be lined up. That would absolutely not work for me or most architects I know. Give us a space, and we will fill it with drawings quicker than you  might think possible.

Which is why when the office next to mine became available, I decided having that much room would be a bad idea. I had started laying out furniture and realized I had enough room for another desk (that would make a total of four) or a small conference table and another book case. All that room? I could really spread out! Or more accurately, spread out drawings, papers, and folders.

I did not switch offices.

In my own defense, in spite of the amount of paper, I do try and keep things arranged so not only can I find them, I also know which projects are active. Plus everything is in its own folder. Except I think I’m running out of room for said folders. There’s certainly less desktop poking through lately.

Might be time for me to reorganize and see how long I can keep the chaos at bay. Hopefully longer than the day after, but I’m not making any bets.

Now what to do with the dry erase board?