5s Your Life

Getting Orginized

I think our lives are filled with clutter, everywhere we look we have things we never use, which obviously means we don’t need them. So why not get rid of them? If we 5s our life we will realize what we really need and easily find those things when we do need them.

So let’s start off by covering what 5s is for those who have never heard of it. Simply put 5s was developed in Japan and identified as one of the techniques that enabled just in time manufacturing. So what does that have to do with your life and where you live? A lot more than you’d think. While going through 5s training for my job it occurred to me that I could use a lot of parts of this process in everyday life as well.

What does 5s stand for? (I crossed out what is work related and added some notes to make it more useful at home.) Feel free to further customize it to work for you.

“Seiri” (“Sort” means eliminating anything that is unnecessary for the equipment to work properly.) See where I’m going here? Start by eliminating anything unnecessary to your every needs in life. 

  • Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly.
  • Make work easier by eliminating obstacles.
  • Reduce chance of being disturbed with unnecessary items.
  • Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items.
  • Evaluate necessary items with regard to cost or other factors.
  • Remove all parts not in use.
  • Segregate unwanted material from the workplace.
  • Need fully skilled supervisor for checking on regular basis. At home we’re the ones in charge of making sure we maintain things in order. If you have family members than we need someone to lead this process so that it continues to be effective.
  • Don’t put unnecessary items at the workplace & define a red-tagged area to keep those unnecessary items.
  • Waste removal.

How to use it at home: The first thing we need to do is pick a room or an area in a room that we want to start with. Let’s “sort” what’s in the room or area. What do we know we use or need, what aren’t we sure about and what do we know isn’t needed. Take what’s not needed and sell it, donate it or throw it away.  Place anything we aren’t sure about out in area on the floor (make sure it’s out of the way so no one walks or trips over it) or place all of it on a table. Determine a length of time, let’s say a month. If we haven’t used it during that time, it needs to go. If we know it’s something we use on occasion, let’s store in away neatly in an place we can retrieve it when needed. If there is anything left it should be something that is used often so move it to the area where the everyday items are now located. Organize everything so that it is easily accessible and we can quickly know where it’s place is once we have used it.

Seiton (Set)

  • Can also be translated as “set in order”, “straighten”, or “streamline”
  • Arrange all necessary items so they can be easily selected for use
  • Prevent loss and waste of time
  • Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items
  • Ensure first-come-first-served basis
  • Make workflow smooth and easy
  • All above work should be done on regular basis

How to use it at home: “Set” everything as mentioned about in a way that we can easily see it, use it and know where it goes once we are done. Forget the fancy stuff, keep it simple. Whether it’s a magnetic strip on the wall for knives, a basic container on the counter or tray in a drawer. Don’t get fancy, get something that is simple and does the job. Develop a system where everything is consistent. Whatever it is we are using we store in the same manner, clean if necessary and return it to it’s rightful place immediately after use. Everything setup so that it is easily and quickly accessible.

Seiso (Shine)

  • Can also be translated as “sweep”, “sanitize”, or “scrub”
  • Clean your workplace home completely
  • Use cleaning as inspection
  • Prevent machinery and equipment deterioration
  • Keep workplace home safe and easy to work
  • Keep workplace home clean and pleasing to work be in
  • When in place anyone not familiar to the environment must be able to detect problems in 5 seconds within 50 feet.

How to use it at home: “Shine” clean everything including all surfaces, walls, floors, etc. Create a plan to do so regularly. If you clean up every day it will be very easy to maintain your place neat and organize.

Seiketsu (Standardize)

  • Standardize the best practices in the work area.
  • Maintain high standards of housekeeping and workplace organization at all times.
  • Maintain orderliness. Maintain everything in order and according to its standard.
  • Everything in its right place.
  • Every process has a standard.

How to use it at home: Standardize” Develop and follow a system for everything we do, how we use everything and how we return it to it’s proper place. Truthfully this might a bit rigged for most things so it may not be as practical as others. Some areas where it might apply would be where you need to save time by eliminating the number of times you go back and forth doing something. If  you’re going to clean something make sure you have everything so you don’t lose time going back and forth. Maybe create a list and plan of what you’re going to do when you go grocery shopping, etc. This way you don’t forget something and you can make your way around town as quickly as possible. 

Shitsuke (Sustain)

  • To keep in working order
  • Also translates as “do without being told”
  • Perform regular audits
  • Training and Discipline
  • Training is goal oriented process. Its resulting feedback is necessary monthly

How to use it at home: “Sustain” keep it going and keep improving on it. It’s not going to be perfect nor does it need to be, we just need to keep improving what we started. 

Okay so maybe some of this sounds a bit over the top and compulsive, it doesn’t mean we have to be so strict about it. What it means is that if we apply parts of this or all if you chose we will have a lot less clutter and realize along the way that we don’t need as many things as we think we do in our daily lives. You save time and money freeing you up to do other more enjoyable things.


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