Getting organized the Japanese way-5s

5s is the Japanese systematized way of maintaining a neat and clean workplace. It serves as a housekeeping technique in eliminating clutter. It does not only apply in your workplace but it can be used in your own house. Before we discuss thoroughly, let us discuss first the idea behind it. 5s was designed  for a more productive working environment and to attain a high quality of work. It aims the consistency of the process among the workers.

As the name implies, it has 5 techniques using Japanese words that begin with letter S. The principles are Seiri (Organisation/Sort out), Seiton (Orderliness/Systemize), Seiso (Cleaning and Shining), Seiketsu (Standardize) and Shitsuke (Sustain/Discipline).

Seiri – This is the phase where you will decide the  things you need and how often you use it. Let’s take the first item, deciding whether you store or throw away your stuff. If you are still undecided whether to throw your things or not you can use the “Red Tag” technique. All the things that you think should be thrown away must be tagged using a red sticker or anything red that sticks. Next, you put all the reg tag items in a box and check it the next day or the day after the next. Then, you  reevaluate it. Keep the things that you still need then throw everything that’s left in the box. You may also reevaluate a month after, three months and so on if you can’t still decide whether to throw it or not.

For the second item, all you need to do is to identify the priority of use. Is it low priority (frequency of use is once per year), average priority ( frequency of use is once per month or week)  or high priority (frequency of use is once per day)? Low priority follows the red tag technique while the average priority needs to be stored. Everything that falls under high priority must be seen in the workplace.

Seiton – This is where the workplace are systemize. There is a designated place for everything and it has its own label. You may also apply this in your house or bedroom. Once you group your things according to its frequency of use you may keep it altogether in a drawer. There may be a drawer for toiletries, school supplies or even electronic gadgets.

Seiso – Workplace or even houses must be clean always. Sweeping, dusting and polishing are the easiest and best way to do it. So it is necessary that you always have cleaning materials to ensure that everything is clean and no clutter at all.

Standardise – Since its not only you that stays in your house you must strictly observe the first three S. In order to do this you must be able to create a process that everyone will follow.  You may use checklists if everything is done  properly and if it is maintained clean. You may use the general rule of putting back the things in its proper place after being used.

Shitsuke-Removing clutter and maintaining a clean workplace requires a commitment. It means that the principles stated must now be a part of your life. It must be done not only for years but ideally for a lifetime.

To test yourself if you were able to do the principles correctly you can follow the 30 second rule. You will be able to locate an item within 30 seconds if it is followed properly.