6S – Home Use – Pantry

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Ok so I work for a manufacturing company, I do however work in the corporate office, so I’m not out in the plant grinding away.  I actually work in the area of the office that tries to make sure that all employees make it home safely with the same 10 fingers and 10 toes they came to work with, the same arms and legs, the same eyes and nose, you know, keep them safe basically.

Our Continuous Improvement department teaches a lot of different methods to make the company run more efficiently. A concept that is used a lot is the 5S method, although our company has added an additional S which is Safety (other companies may do the same thing…).

Now normally they teach this to the manufacturing side of the business, however they’ve decided to focus on the corporate office.  Not only preach it, but do it.  Sweet!

And I was volunteered from our department to go attend these classes.  I could handle it, I’m was up for the challenge!  So the last few weeks I’ve been in and out of classes learning these different processes to make the company run better as a whole.

But, the cool thing about the 6S concept, you can use it at home.  And seeing as though Spring is right around the corner (although Punxsutawney Phil said it was closer than it was….) and everyone gets in the mood for Spring Cleaning, myself included, I thought I’d show you what’s been going on around my house.

First and foremost… Don’t start on to large of a project.  Instead do smaller projects so that you get quicker results and you’re more apt to stay with it!

So now it’s my duty to tell you this… find your area.  Our first area is my kitchen!  I’m tired of the clutter and not finding things easily.  So identify your safety hazards.

ie if you have a plug in next to the sink/faucet, don’t plug your toaster in right there.  Probably not the best route.  
Or if your paper towels hang from  your top cabinet, don’t plug your toaster in right below that.
This is all pretty common sense 🙂

So I started with a cabinet that you have to put everything in there just right or it all falls out and goes boom and I have no idea what all is in that cabinet to begin with, that’s what started this whole cleaning spree at my house (no pictures, before or after really….).

Turns out all that stuff didn’t need to be there so it was all moved and sorted out into keep piles, get rid of piles, move piles, etc.

But keep in mind, if you don’t know what to do with something… put it in a “holding area” also known kind of as a red tag area so you can sit on it and think about it for a given time (in manufacturing it is 48 hrs) and you can decide if you want to keep it, or if someone else needs to come go through it, etc.

So Sunday I felt so good about cleaning out one cabinet (although I wound up with some things needing homes) that we started working on the pantry & spice cabinet.  I have 2 spice cabinets, one in the kitchen, one in the laundry room.  Then all the dry goods are kept in the laundry room.  Boy was it all a mess:
before photos:

So first identify the safety hazards.
Then Sort.  Does it belong here, do I want it, is it out dated.
Straighten – everything has a place and there is a place for everything.  Label. Make foot prints (you know the lines around it so you can tell at a glance it’s missing)
Shine.  No one wants to put newly sorted things back into a dirty area or on a dirty surface.
Standardize.  Take a picture, use the labels, something to help ensure everything goes back where it belongs.  You spent this time, why not help other people figure out where it goes.
Finally Sustain.  That’s the hardest one.  you spent that time, that effort, maybe even money to make it look pretty.  Now, let’s keep it looking pretty!  A little bit here and there, a walk through once a day, once a week, maybe once a month, fix anything out of place and you’re good to go.  No more spending useless hours working on this…. and there’s always a reward.  Dinner perhaps?

Oh and just so you know, I didn’t mention anything about you having to do this by yourself.  Get yourself a team… have the family help out!

after photo of the pantry:

Now you can find things easily at a glance.  There’s more shelf space & room.  Plus you arrange in the order of use.  Put the more used things at an easier level and the least used things down below.  This didn’t cost me anything except a little time because the cabinets came off the walls in my office where we didn’t want them anymore.

0 thoughts on “6S – Home Use – Pantry

  1. Nice job! Organizing my kitchen was one of the greatest things about our remodel. I wish our pantry could have been redone because the shelves are deep, but the door is narrow so it's hard to set things up so you can easily get to the back. So I put the “less used” at the back.

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