Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let's declutter.....5S way

Went out to Pasar Siti Khadijah this morning, to buy some groceries. On my way back, I was surprised to see a banner hanging in front of Kelantan Tourism Office. It was a banner promoting 5S. It was hung there by MPKB(our local city council). Apparently MPKB is adopting 5S practice.

If you do not know what 5S is, well I'll tell you.

5S is a method of organizing and managing workspace, introduced by the Japanese. The 5S's represents the five letters representing the 5 steps, and they are in Japanese -Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke.

5S is an excellent method to declutter your place and keep it clutter-free.

Now I'll explain the steps. I'll give each word accompanied by its closest English equivalent. It might no be accurate but it will help you remember.

  • Step 1: Seiri (Sort) -to sort out stuff . Identify what are needed and what are not needed for you to carry out your work, be it in the office, living room or your kitchen. Keep only the ones you need. Discard or store (at a different place) the others. Get the idea? Good, now you see that empty mineral water bottle in the corner, you no longer use that, are you? Throw it away man.

  • Step 2: Seiton (Set in order) -now that you only have essential stuff left, arrange them so that they are easy to take, easy to use and easy to return. Ensure there is a place for everything and everything in its place. Keep items that are frequently used in front for easier access, less frequent items at the back. The goal is to make work flow smooth, safe and efficient Always kept losing the TV remote control? Why don't we put it inside a pouch attached to the TV itself, and let everyone know to keep it there. Now that's seiton.

  • Seiso (Sweep) -regular cleaning. Do regular cleaning, sweeping, housekeeping. The idea here to prevent dirt build up, or deterioration. It's more like preventive maintenance. If you clean your place once it looks dirty, that's just plain cleaning. Do it everyday or every week, dirty or not, now that's what we call Seiso. One advantage of doing Seiso is you always know where everything is, and you will be able to detect the slightest change in your place.

  • Seiketsu (Standardize) -standardize the way of doing things. Standardize work practices and let everyone know about it. Let's say you decide to color code your files according to their contents. Now make sure all files in all cabinets follow the color code and make sure everyone knows about the code.

  • Shitsuke (Sustain) -maintain the discipline. Once you have decided what to do, how to do it and who is responsible to do it, make sure everyone follow. Do not let it slide back into the old way.

It's easy isn't. So the next time you want to declutter, bet it around your desk, kitchen, living room or hmm...maybe your finance?, let's give 5S a try.


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