What is the optimal arrangment of cutlery in a drawer?

:: memes

This post is a transcription of a thread that happened live on Twitter on June 30, 2019, in response to someone claiming there was a correct way to arrange cutlery in a drawer. The statement caused me to momentarily lose my mind. The thread has since become difficult to find, so I’m reproducing it here.

it’s fairly obvious. due to shape, spoons go in the wide compartment. then the other two are the usual table arrangement: forks left, knives right. Spoons go left of the two because they’re used less, and you often want to quickly grab a knife to do something, and right is easy.

Yes, this was my thought process when moving in to my apartment. I thought “What is the optimal arrangement of cutlery in this drawer? Ah, first, we need a measure against which to optimize. I choose time spent fetching items from the drawer. Next, how do I set a table…”

I then went to the whiteboard with my compass and protractor, and calculated which items best fit in which part of the drawer. I debated how the odd items, such as chopsticks and pearing knives fit in my scheme. I judged the relative merits of Western vs Eastern table settings.

After several hours of this, my movers insisted I finish inspecting the things they’ve unpacked and sign some paper work, but I ignored them. After all, I must optimize time spent fetching items from the drawer; I have no time for unpacking my apartment, paper work, etc.

Upon realizing I have a collection of non-uniform cutlery, which threw my calculations into disarray, I threw them all out and proceeded to locate new, regular items. I calculated optimal size of spoon, fork, and knife relative to placement in the drawer and time spent fetching.

Minimizing weight was an obvious concern, since additional weight increased energy expenditure in fetching items, which in turn increases caloric requirements, which would increase time spent fetching item of cutlery from the drawer. I decided to decrease all physical activity.

Years go by, and my muscles are atrophied, my heart unable to beat blood through my veins. This is no problem; I had contractors install the cutlery drawer into my bed frame. I can fetch items of cutlery at a rate of 5 items per second, and a cost of 200 calories per day.

I have done it. I have won. I have maximized my cutlery fetching efficiency.