This idiom describes the state that my workspace gradually enters after a week of work, until it becomes so bad that I have no choice but to stop everything and clear up before I can continue. A very useful idiom and can be used to describe desks, rooms, offices, classrooms, the inside of a car, anywhere that can be messy, really!
I was reminded of this idiom while reading the Bill Gates book I mentioned last week, in one part the writer describes the state of Bill’s desk in the early Microsoft days:
tāmen de zhuōshàng záluànwúzhāng, quán dōu duīzhe hē guò de kāfēi zhǐbēi hé chī guò de pīsà cánzhā.
Their desk was in a chaotic state, piles of paper coffee cups and pizza remains.
This sentence is pretty straightforward, but one word that also stands out is 殘渣（残渣 cán zhā） which means “remainder” or “remnants”, or here, as this is food, “left overs” or “remains”, seems like a very useful word that should come in handy.