How to Develop a Better Cleaning & Decluttering Routine using the 5S Method

Using the 5S Method to Improve Your Cleaning Routine and Reduce Stress

Efficiency – the ability to avoid wasting resources such as time, money and energy - is a key element in having a clutter-free, less stressful home. One of the ways that we can achieve calm and peace of mind in the workplace and at home, is by adopting the 5S method into our lives. The 5S method is a set of actions that we must perform individually, with the whole picture in mind, as the set is not complete when we leave an element out. When you complete the following steps in order, you can achieve a highly efficient and organized space in your home: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke.

First you must sort and separate. Think about what items in your home you use the most every day. In the kitchen, this may be stirring spoons, the toaster, the coffee machine. It will not be random toys, a stack of books or a bottle of hand lotion. Those things may belong in your home somewhere else, and when you know where they are, they will be easy to find every time you need them. Strive to keep only what works and provides value in a given environment.

Next you will need to straighten and set in order. When every item in your home has its set place, you will know if something is missing, and most likely will be able to find it faster, knowing that it will stand out where it does not belong. For example, if you keep your microfiber mop in the garage, and return it to the same location when the cleaning is done, you will find it again right where you left it. If your eco-friendly cleaning supplies are all kept in the same cabinet, when it comes time for the weekly clean you will not have to search for separate cleaners. As a bonus, you can visually see, with little searching, when you are running low on supplies. Time saved, efficiency gained.

Shining, sweeping and sanitizing are the next steps in line. A clean environment boosts both motivation and creativity, it cannot be measured, but is proven all the same. Clean, organized spaces promote the same level of tidy expectations. On the opposite note, if there is garbage thrown haphazardly on the floor, or piles of clutter that start to form here and there, your space will likely attract more of the same. Keep your home clean from day to day and you will quickly notice how much easier it is to take care of a space that seems to take care of itself.

Standardize and let everyone in your household know that the 5S method is being implemented in the home. If everyone knows where the remote should go, then you won’t waste time searching for it in between the couch cushions. Try to find an intuitive and practical place for every belonging. If you put away your laundry, there will be no time wasted getting ready for a last-minute appointment. In a workplace, it makes sense that everyone knows how to find information and objects in a hurry; it is also good to have the same awareness at home, not only in case of an emergency, but to help out quickly and effectively when time is of the essence. And as many of us have busy lifestyles, time is often a feature that we measure critically.

When we can sustain our actions, then we will have achieved efficiency in our home. Now that may vary from month to month, but when we look at overall cleanliness and productivity increase, we know that we are onto something great. With weekly, monthly and yearly checks in place, we can maintain higher levels of contentment for longer periods of time. It is a matter of keeping good habits active and not letting the bad ones take over.

On occasion, there is a sixth element added to the 5S method and that is safety. When we clean and take note of all that we own on a regular basis, it is hard to imagine that things will break beyond repair and cause harm in doing so. Our mental and physical health is hard to ignore, so make sure that your home is as tidy as it can be, for hygienic reasons as well as for practical and common sense issues. Imagine a thriving and productive environment that is designed with simplicity in mind. You will indeed discover a more efficient home when you delve into the 5S philosophy.