Our new building was built with buzz words. I'm not complaining, because the new space is great, but the "research model" that was
forced upon us set up for us involves a lot of shared space. The general idea is for individual groups to have benches in large multi-group labs. This model has worked well for some, whereas other groups have divvied up the space by area of the lab, with a virtual line on the floor mentality. Some of my space is shared with two other labs that do very similar basic tasks as we do and it has actually worked out very well to divide the space by function, rather than group, but with each group having their own benches. This arrangement has minimized the redundancy in low use equipment and helped with student interaction. It also helps that all of the PIs get along and respect each other, facilitating group interaction.
I do have one issue though. One of the PIs in the lab group is getting close to retirement (CtR). Obviously that is not an issue, but the problem is that when we moved in, CtR brought 30 years of stuff into the new space. In general, this would not be a problem because there is a good amount of storage, but the stuff is still in boxes all over the place. We have boxes on benches, stacked up against walls and windows and any place where there is not constant foot traffic. CtR's people have been in the new building for over 4 months now, and are doing work in the lab, but the stuff remains, strewn about under empty cabinets.
I don't really know how to approach the situation, because CtR is very busy with other things and the boxes don't directly impact my people, per se. Not bringing it up, however, virtually ensures that the boxes will sit for many more months, which is a prospect that makes me cringe. I don't want to go directly to CtR's students, because they didn't create the mess. I may just have to talk to CtR directly and try and suggest that it would be helpful if they took some time to deal with the stuff. Whether or not that will translate into action is the big question.