10 Easy Ways to Organize Your Home Using Lean Six Sigma - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Lean Six Sigma isn’t just beneficial at work or for businesses, it makes life easier and more enjoyable at home, too! Here are a few great ways to use Lean Six Sigma concepts and tools at home every day. Have your own ideas? Submit them in the comments below for a chance to win your FREE Green Belt Training & Certification, A winner will be selected every month. Win yours this February!

1. Our knife drawer has its own Shadow Board.

This helps because all knives have their specific place (see photo above). This helps us put knives away more quickly and find them more easily when we need to use them. – Elisabeth Swan

2. We use a Kanban system for our groceries.

We keep a pad on the refrigerator door with a grocery list. Anyone who uses the last item or notices we are running low on an ingredient puts that item on the list. The next person to do the grocery shopping will take the Kanban list to replenish supplies. We never run out! – Colleen Kindler

3. We set up the cabinet above the dishwasher to Minimize Motion Waste.

To minimize wasted motion and reaching while doing the frequent task of emptying the dishwasher, we set up the cabinet above the dishwasher with all the plates, bowls and glassware so the motion is minimized for the heavy and fragile items which are frequently used. – Colleen Kindler

4. We store our Christmas decorations in red and green boxes for Visual Management.

We always know where they are and don’t need to read or find a label. – Carol Knight-Wallace

5S - Christmas Holiday Decorations

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

5. We use Poka Yoke to prevent anyone from mistakenly turning off light switches.

In the example below, we placed a plastic cover piece (50 cents from the hardware store) over this light switch that controls a motion detector spotlight in the driveway. – Elisabeth Swan

Poka Yoke Example - Lean Six Sigma At Home - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Poka Yoke Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

6. We apply 5S to the laundry room.

    1. We Sort the garage in half so that the laundry can be done cleanly on one side and the dirty car stuff on the other. The laundry care goes on the right side of the garage and automotive care/work goes on the left side.
    2. We use Set In Order in the laundry room so dryer sheets don’t go in the washer and detergent doesn’t go in the dryer. Everything is in order by the washer and dryer. There is a colored clothes bin and a white clothes only bin. On top of the dryer:
      1. Spot treatment spray
      2. Detergent
      3. Softener
      4. Dryer sheets and balls
    3. We Shine the laundry room by wiping down any spills and keeping dirty clothes in the proper bins. The laundry area in the garage is always clean and wiped up of any detergent spills. The dryer sheets and lint build up are trashed after each clothes drying session.
    4. We Standardize the laundry room by using a white bin for white clothes and a colored bin for colored clothes. The pink socks don’t belong with the white shirts!
    5. We Sustain the laundry room by doing a weekly check that the cleaning items are “Set In Order.” We also check to see if the bins are full and ready to wash and that we have enough cleaning supplies for the next loads. Whoever does laundry last, always checks to see how much cleaning supplies we have left for the next loads.  – Jurija Metovic

7. We use a milk Kanban for essential groceries.

When anyone uses the last of the milk, we put the carton on the counter so the next person who goes to the store knows to grab another carton. For the rest of the groceries, we just add it to the list, but due to the number of tea, coffee and cereal fans in the house, the milk gets it’s own system! – Elisabeth Swan

Milk Kanban Example - Lean Six Sigma at Home - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Kanban Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

8. We use Visual Management for our winter clothing. 

We only need them for a few months out of the year, but after reaching for the wrong basket a few times, we decided a few pictures would do the trick. We thought about using actual mittens and hats and sewing them right on the front of the baskets, but the size of a sweater ended that idea.  – Elisabeth Swan

Visual Management Example - Lean Six Sigma at Home - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

9. We use a tennis ball as a Poka Yoke in the garage.

When driving our car into the garage, we know exactly how far to drive before stopping. When the tennis ball hits the windshield, we’re done! This way there’s no unexplained dents or mangled bicycles. – Elisabeth Swan

Poka Yoke Example - Lean Six Sigma At Home - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Poka Yoke Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

10. We use Lean Tool Placement of “cheaters” in the bathroom.

One of the more basic principles in a Lean work space is to place tools and materials in the most appropriate place. This led us to use a little fishing line and some “cheater” spectacles to hang a handy pair of reading glasses in the bathroom. This is a big favorite of our guests, proving that ergonomics matter no matter where you apply them! – Elisabeth Swan

Lean Tool Placement Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

Lean Tool Placement Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

11. We use Visual Management in the kitchen to reduce Waste.

I write the date down on the packages when I opened them. When I do this to keep track of things like stock, milk, and yogurt, this reduces food waste and prevents the risk of eating or cooking with spoiled products. – Ryoko

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

12. We use Visual Management to create a balanced meal plan.

We use a handy, little whiteboard in the kitchen to list our one-week dinner plan. This helps us:

  • Visualize what we need to eat to balance out the food variety
  • Prevent Overproduction by keeping us from eating too much food (no carne asada twice a day!)
  • Create an informal family RACI to allocate the cooking duties between me and my husband
  • Keep inventory low by using all ingredients up within the week, and sometimes have leftovers!

– Ryoko

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

Visual Management Example of Lean Six Sigma At Home

How do you use Lean Six Sigma at home?

After completing your Free Yellow Belt Training (or if you’re already familiar with Lean Six Sigma), share your ideas with us by commenting below! Each month, we’ll give away a FREE Green Belt Training & Certification to the most popular idea. You can vote for ideas by clicking the “^” button on the bottom left of each comment.

We’d love to hear how you use Lean Six Sigma to make your house run more efficiently!

  • Zhila

    There are many of the concepts I apply in my kitchen specifically.
    For example, since I’m in the stage of writing my thesis and not much free time to cook, I avoid any recipes which need extra-processing or have too many ingredients (too much set-up is not needed accordingly).
    Another one is the motion reduction, by putting the most frequently used utensils at the closes parts of the rack (close to my height and outreach in the front) in all the cabinets, while baking and other less frequent dishware are located back on the racks, or on upper racks.

  • Marvin

    for sorting are laundry we have pictures on the baskets for Whites, Darks, Lights, Jeans and Delicates

  • Toni Bonas

    Great ideas to use ay home!!!

    I think lean at home is more useful reducing energy consume (waste).

    One idea is use magnet images on the fridge indicating where is everything. Using magnets you can change the position, so it adapts to each situation.
    If you know where things are inside the fridge, you can get it more quickly, reducing time door is open and reducing waste of energy to cool again.

  • Josh

    These are great! Definitely going to try some of these at home!

  • Zhila

    There are many of the concepts I apply in my kitchen specifically.
    For example, since I’m in the stage of writing my thesis and not much free time to cook, I avoid any recipes which need extra-processing or have too many ingredients (too much set-up is not needed accordingly).
    Another one is the motion reduction, by putting the most frequently used utensils at the closes parts of the rack (close to my height and outreach in the front) in all the cabinets, while baking and other less frequent dishware are located back on the racks, or on upper racks.

    • Nice solutions Zhila – thanks so much for adding to this great list, and good luck with your thesis!

  • Marvin

    For sorting are laundry we have pictures on the baskets for Whites, Darks, Lights, Jeans and Delicates

    • Jurija

      Hey Marvin- Using photos is a great idea, too! I’ll have to try that one out because I notice I always have to find a bag or something to put my delicates in rather than just throwing them in the “Lights” or “Darks”

  • Toni Bonas

    Great ideas to use ay home!!!

    I think lean at home is more useful reducing energy consume (waste).

    One idea is use magnet images on the fridge indicating where is everything. Using magnets you can change the position, so it adapts to each situation.
    If you know where things are inside the fridge, you can get it more quickly, reducing time door is open and reducing waste of energy to cool again.

    • GoLeanSixSigma

      Thanks, Toni! Your idea using magnets is also very creative. I’m sure many of our readers will find it useful.

  • mona

    Using The Weighted Criteria Matrix helps me to
    take decision between competing solution ideas that are mutually exclusive. It
    helps me understand the solutions’ expense and impact on others by driving
    discussion. It’s a great communication tool.

  • Ryoko Ralston

    This thread is so fun and informative!!

    Let me share my mistake that pouring old chicken stock kept in my refrigerator onto all the other soup ingredients mixed in a crock pot.

    I or my husband opened the stock but not sure when we used it last time. I screamed because the moldy liquid ruined everything!!

    But, it was a kind of lucky because I was able to see the mold. If it weren’t, my husband and I both might get sick badly.

    Since then, I started writing the date down on the packages when I opened stock, milk, and yogurt and so on to reduce waste and prevent subsequent risks.

    Another idea is writing down one-week dinner plan on a small whiteboard. It helps:
    – visualize what we to eat and balance out the food variety
    – prevent too much food (no carne asada twice a day!!)
    – allocate the cooking duties between me and my husband
    – use all ingredients up within the week, and you might be able to take the left over next day!

    • Great Ryoko- love the one-week meal plan – nice visual management. Thanks so much for adding your ideas to the list!

  • Arthur

    Ever wanted to grab a fork and got a spoon instead? Just place then into the drawer the other way round (top towards you) and you will never mix them up again.

    • Jurija

      I’m using this! I always seem to grab the fork instead of the spoon when it’s time for ice cream.

  • Mohamed Tanany

    Very nice examples, well done

  • Thomas Price

    Poke Yoke – Install motion light sensors for smaller rooms so no one ever forgets to turn off the lights. They’re simple to install, fairly cheap, but especially considering the benefits of lower electric bill.

    Also you just utilize the timer on the tv. TV doesn’t need to be on if no one is using it after 10 minutes.

    Red Tagging Inventory Control – at a easy day to remember (1st of a month, December 31st, January 1st, Christmas) take all your hangers on your clothes, and turn them around so they hook is facing the oppisate way (something awkward) so when you use them, you replace them with hook facing the away from you (way you normally would). At the one year mark, see what clothes still have the hook facing you. That indicates you haven’t used them in a year, and therefore you probably don’t need it and you can donate to charity.

    Shadow Board – use some thin painters tape (doesn’t leave sticky residue) on a table or nightstand for the remote so theres a consistent way to know where the remote is or where it should be. If its missing, that’s a bridge to cross when you get to it.

    SMED – Mark on the shower dial to mark, and sink, with a sharpie, marker, or painters tape to mark where each person in the house likes the dial for water temperature, and shows guest an idea of where the ideal water tempature is.