Efficient Organization

How to Keep Clutter Away for Good using the Standardize Method: “4th S” of the 5S System!

Congratulations! It is a time to give yourself a pat on a back for completing the first 3S’s of the 5S System. The Standardize (Standard Organization) process as well as the last or the “5th S” of the 5S system are the two steps different from other organizing methodologies.

In this step (Standardize), your living space will now transition from being organized to efficiently organized. What do I mean by efficiently organized? It means that not only will you find a place for everything but it will also help your everyday tasks get easier and faster.

A place for everything does not only mean finding a spot or storage space for everything, actually, the spot or  area you use should help you to accomplish your daily task without doing unnecessary motion. Looking or searching for things, moving from one place to another, bending, stretching and squatting just to do one job are some of the examples of unnecessary motions that usually occur if you place things at the wrong location. These will not only cause you to spend more time and energy doing extra tasks but also will give you a lot of frustration and stress.

If you are feeling a lot of stress or seem to feel frustrated while you are completing your job, you will most likely be less motivated to put back things where they used to be (the location you designate) or if not, you will procrastinate putting things away immediately. Procrastination occurs because it requires you more time and effort to put items back and suddenly you begin to toss  things on the floor, counter, table, etc.  In an instant, you’re back to your old way of doing things. All the hard work you put in from doing the first 3’S (SORTING, SYSTEMATIZE & SWEEP) will be put to waste.

To prevent this from happening, you need to keep in mind that whatever changes you’re going to make should always be for improvement, making your everyday living easier and as stress free as possible. Therefore, the organization solution should be a tool for you to do every tasks in a more efficient way. This is where Standardization comes in.  You will need to identify the right spot for everything. This will lead you to become more productive, not only finding a spot or storage for everything.

By achieving this goal, you are preventing your home from being cluttered. This is accomplished because you created sustainable organization solutions that are easy to follow and maintain.

How To Set Standard Organization?

After you make changes in your home and finally identify a place where you will store or put your essential items, allow yourself to live just like that for a few days. Call it a “test run period” before you finalize the changes. The reason behind the test run period is it that it can be used to help you discover locations for items that are causing unnecessary motions. If this occurs, some necessary changes or adjustment should be done in order to minimize if not eliminate unnecessary motions. This will lead you to determine the correct place for everything in order for you to have an efficient organization.

After the test run period and when all necessary changes have been done, you can now finalize the positioning of each item in your household. You need to keep in mind though, that even after you finalize things, you will realize what is working and what is not, during the implementation period. Of course, all the changes that are “not working” should be discarded or revision should be made in order for you to have efficient organization. This also means, over time you will be able to find a better way of doing things which will help to make you even more productive. This is also the reason why standardization is also known as “continuous process improvement”.

All of the changes or standardization that you made must be shown and explained with your family members (husbands and kids if you have them). You must inform each family member where each item is located and where they need to return it after use. You can test whether you obtain the goal of standardization with your family by asking them to find something for you. If they can remember the item’s location and retrieve it easily, then the organizational solution you have created is a success.

You can also use a lot of different products to help you and your loved ones to locate itms easily by putting a label, wall signage, or color coding to identify certain categories. Here are some useful products that will help with this step of standardization:

96 Premium Chalkboard Labels Bulk, All-Purpose Labels, 1 x 2.75 Inches, White, File Folder Labels for LabelWriter Label Printers, Smead Slash Pocket Poly File Folders, Mail Organizer – Decorative Wooden Mail Holder,  6 Trays Desktop Document Letter Tray Organizer


Home Office Table – You now have a clean and organized desk and you can keep it that way. To do this, you need to set up standard organization guidelines on how your office table should look. Below is an example of standard organization of your office table. It’s best to follow this on a regular basis to keep your area organized.

How to Organize Office Table




– Your document letter tray must be sorted and properly labeled according to use (e.g. for filing, approval, incoming, outgoing, etc.)


– Label each drawer according to its content. You must remember the goal is easy retrieval of things that you need.

–  All files and binders inside the drawers must be labeled.


–  Avoid excessive stuff on the table. Remember it is your working table. The more space you have to work with the better.

Trash Bin 

 –  You can place a trash bin under your desk or where’s it’s most accessible to you.


 –  No unnecessary items, no boxes or tools or binders on the floor or under your desk except your trash bin. You should be able to move your chair or your feet freely while working.

But keep in mind, during the early stage of implementing the changes you have made, do not expect you or your family members to follow it perfectly. Don’t be frustrated if you or your loved ones  forget to put things back into their designated location. Just keep doing it. It takes a lot of practice and time to get used to new ways of doing things before it becomes a habit.