Lean thinking in everyday life!

Andrea Díaz Navarro
2 min readFeb 22, 2021


The 5S’s methodology is linked to industrial processes, but do you know how to experience the same results at home?

The 5S’s methodology consists of paying close attention to details in order to have an ideal workplace where there is a place for everything and everything is in place. It’s an inexpensive way to improve a place compared to the potential gains. Actually, the name comes from five Japanese words starting with the letter ‘s’ that correspond to each stage of the method.

  1. Seiri (Sort): Sorting through all items in a location and removing all unnecessary items.
  2. Seiton (Set in order): Putting all necessary items in the optimal place for fulfilling their function in the workplace.
  3. Seisō (Shine): Sweeping or cleaning and inspecting the workplace, tools and machinery on a regular basis.
  4. Seiketsu (Standardize): Standardize the processes used to sort, order and clean the workplace.
  5. Shitsuke (Sustain): Is the developed processes by self-discipline of the workers. Also translates as “do without being told”.

As you can see, this are simple concepts that are sometimes easy to forget and hard to maintain through a certain amount of time. However, Marie Kondo has a similar philosophy by completing some steps to create simplified and organized serene environments, specially homes. She states that clarity in the physical environment brings peace, mindfulness, and encourages people to live in the present rather than the past. Sincerely, I’m not sure is she was somehow inspired by 5S since she is Japanese as well, but still, her philosophy is really similar.

Figure 1. Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

Actually, there is a series on Netflix called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, with a bunch of life-changing experiences for families were she has successfully applied the methodology at their homes:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.

Can you see the relation with the 5S’s methodology? Its purpose is to select the objects that spark joy, classify them in a certain category and tide them up in the right order. Practically, the same concept used with the other method. Additionally, the experience and storytelling she shares on the episodes are so visually satisfying that evoke a rapid call to try it by yourself.

“Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder” — Marie Kondo

In both scenarios, industries and homes, the benefits tend to pop-up immediately. Small changes can cause a positive effect on the personal performance regardless of the location, specially nowadays were psychological wellness is much needed. So be creative! Lean thinking can become part of your lifestyle with lots of benefits at a minimum cost.

[1] https://shop.konmari.com/pages/about
[2] https://toughnickel.com/business/5S_Lean