Use this Japanese organization method to keep your apartment clutter free


Photo Courtesy of Gonzalo Higuero

Wassaja resident Gonzalo Higuero’s room is photographed on Friday afternoon. The 5S organization method can help keep your living space clean.

By Shalini Atluri, Staff Writer

As the semester progresses, it seems like the mess of dorms or apartments builds. The 5S method uses five basic principles to help eliminate mess and promote a more efficient method to take care of a dorm or an apartment. The 5S method is a Japanese organization method used in manufacturing and the workplace. It is used to create a clutter-free, clean and safe workplace. While it is more commonplace in industrial settings, it can be implemented in housekeeping for a dorm or apartment. The 5S method consists of utilizing the five Japanese words: Seriri, Seiton, Sesio, Seiketsu and Shitsuke, which translate to sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. Each word can be implemented into items that yield an organized place of residence. 

Seriri (Sort)

The sort step involves decreasing the clutter. This step is useful when managing that ever overflowing closet of yours. The reverse hanger method can be used to manage clothes that still deserve a place in the closet.

To use this method, start off by placing hangers so that they face in the opposite direction (the reverse direction). When taking a clothing piece off of the hanger, return the hanger to the front-facing direction. This will help separate the clothes that are frequently worn from the ones that you don’t wear as frequently. When it comes time to decide which clothes need to be given away or donated, the clothes with the reverse hanger will be there to easily see. This reverse hanger method is the epitome of sorting because it allows people to see what needs to be kept and what needs to be given away. Eliminating the disorderliness of a closet can make choosing an outfit easier too. 

Seiton (Set in order)

Set in order refers to keeping items that are commonly used within easy reach, while less commonly used items are in harder places to reach. This can be applied to organizing your fridge and healthy eating. For example, keeping healthier foods at eye level in a fridge can make it easier to grab. Unhealthy food items can remain in harder to reach places such as the back of the fridge, or in the lower levels. This will allow easier retrieval of items that are more likely to be used. Seiton is all about accessibility. Allowing certain items to be more accessible encourages them to be used more frequently, while hidden items do not have to clutter the mind.

Sesio (Shine)

This part of the 5S method may be the most dreaded part. Shine relates to cleaning. Making sure the dorm/apartment is clean is essential to successfully implementing the 5S method. Although cleaning sounds like an annoying part of the method, cleaning does not have to be dull or lackluster. Roommates can divide up the tasks so that one person does not get the brunt of the work. Playlists such as “The Cleaning Kit” on Spotify can make shining the tables and chairs and mopping the floors into a dance session. In relation to cleaning, it is important to research what surfaces are in the dorm/apartment so the correct cleaning products can be used. For example, using Windex or vinegar on a Granite countertop would not be a good idea as it makes the stone vulnerable to damage.

Seiketsu (Standardize)

Standardization is significant, especially when living with roommates. To prevent the breakdown of the process, rotating certain tasks can be of use. Alternating which roommate takes out the trash is important to ensure that each roommate feels like they are equally contributing to the organizational process. Whiteboards delineating tasks to individuals will allow everyone to know which tasks they are responsible for that week. This can create a productive cycle that can be maintained.

Shitsuke (Sustainability)

For any method to work, consistency needs to be at the cornerstone of the endeavor. Sustainability can consist of making a plan that assists in planning how the 4S tasks above can be maintained for an extended period of time. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. 21 days of employing the 5S method can create an organized dorm or apartment to walk into, creating a more welcoming environment to study and play.

Shalini is a senior in AHS.

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