How to 5S at home

The 5S methodology comes from Japan, and each "s" stands for the Japanese words "seiri," "seiton," "seiso," "seiketsu" and "shitsuke." Roughly translated into English "s" words, they represent "sort," "set in order," "shine," "standardize" and "sustain."

The premise of 5S is to help organize and improve the work conditions of a workplace. However, this process can also be used for home as well for getting--and staying--organized.

  1. Sort to get everything in your home up and out of the place of clutter. Use a four-bin or bag system. The four bag labels for sorting your clutter are "Throw away," "Donate," "Store" and "Keep handy." Work on one room at a time. Quickly put clutter things into each of these containers.

  2. Set in order by taking those containers and putting back non-donate or trash contents in an orderly manner. This means that everything useful has a place, including, for storage items to put in a proper box or container.

  3. Shine your rooms by cleaning thoroughly.

  4. Standardize by defining the places for your "Keep handy" and "Storage" things in your home. Use labels here to keep things organized. Color code common used items. Peg boards are handy for hanging garage and washroom items. The idea here is that all of your items have a home within the home so they can be easily put up when no longer being used.

  5. Sustain by making sure things are kept up on a regular basis. Here you may want to jot down some daily, weekly, and monthly things that are required to keep the home in order. For instance, you may want to jot down to "shine" a different room on each day, weekly chores or monthly maintenance of household heating and cooling. Write down your tasks and keep the list in an easy-to-access place.

  6. Repeat the process.