July 2, 2020 in De-clutter, Organizing

To show how wasted time costs money5S will save you money. Several hours per day is how much time the average worker, whether at home or at a business, spends looking for things or information. The average executive spends 150 hours each year looking for information. 5S is the most perfect way to organize any space, whether digital or real world. What is 5S? Well, I’m glad you asked. Quoting from 5S Today, “5S is a system for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely.” Acknowledging that, 5S was developed as part of the Toyota Production System in the mid 20th century, specifically in production environments. More recently, it’s been great at organizing professional workspaces along with digital information.

5S can help in virtually any professional workspace as well as a space in your home. In your workspace, you have office supplies. If you’re an artist, your studio has miscellaneous supplies that you need to do your work. If your a small business and fulfill orders directly, you need to organize shipping supplies. There is virtually no limit on the applications where 5S can massively improve your space. After achieving my certification in 5S I’ve enjoyed working with several clients on improving their workspace process

The question I always get when I mention 5S is, what are they?

  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

To break them down…


Sort is the exercise of literally touching all of the objects in your workspace and making the decision whether it actually is needed to do your work or needs to go. One of the techniques I use is to ask a client to put everything in their workspace into boxes without hesitation. They can leave their computer and printer. Next is for them to pull out only the things that they need to do their work. After several weeks they will have boxes of things that aren’t useful.

Set in Order 

Set in Order is the process of placing often-used items within reach of where you work and placing less used things further away. 


Shine is the method of keeping your workspace organized. When you’ve sorted your area, arranged it to make your work as efficient as possible, it’s essential to take a few minutes at the end of the day to clean and reorganize. Think of this step as the maintenance step for the first two S’s.


Standardize in the professional workspace is where you create habits and establish processes to keep the three S’s above moving in the proper direction. When you standardize, you’ll probably find better ways to set in order also.


Sustain usually is more applicable in team environments. Think of it as something that you can share with others as you perfect your process. Your team members will begin to notice the change in your workspace and will often inquire how you pulled it off. You’ll also find yourself looking for other areas in your area to organize with 5S.

A well planned 5S system is a way that will transform your workspace and will completely change the way you work. It’s super easy to set up and maintain. I’d love to talk about 5S if you have any questions. Reach out here if you’d like to connect.

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Todd Allan

About the author 

Todd Allan

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