5s system sorting

How To Organize Your Home Using The SORTING Method Of The “1st S” from the 5S System

What is the 5S System? It is a system used by the Japanese for organizing space to achieve efficient and effective ways of doing things. This system focuses on getting rid of items that we don’t need in order to have a place for things that are essential to us.

5 s organizing system


There are 3 different categories that can describe our living situation with our loved ones inside our house. Which class are you?

  1. 3rd Class – our loved ones throw things around the house and no one cleans-up.
  2. 2nd Class – our loved ones throw things around and you or someone else picks it up.
  3. 1st Class – no one throws things around and everyone works to keep things neat and clean.

If your answer is 3rd class or 2nd class then I think you need to learn the concepts of the 5S system and learn how to implement them in your own home in order to be in a 1st class category.

Sorting (The First S In The 5S Organization Process)

This is the first step of the 5S System and is an essential part of the process because you cannot go to the next process without it.

How do I go about implementing the first S in the 5S process?

5S system of home organizing


You implement the sorting process on a room by room basis. Remove everything out from the cabinet or shelf, this will give you an overview of how much stuff you have accumulated over time.

From here, make 3 piles with each pile in one of these categories:

  1. NECESSARY/KEEP – Items that are essentially important to fulfill our needs or items essential to perform our everyday tasks. Therefore, it is necessary to have a place for everything we need and everything we need is in its place.
  2. UNNECESSARY/DON’T KEEP – Items that already served their purpose, you no longer need or have not used for a long time. These are items that only occupy a lot of space and dust overtime without any purpose in your life. You will need to discard the items under this category so you can create a space for your valuable belongings.
  3. UNKNOWN/SENTIMENTAL VALUE – Items in this pile have monetary or sentimental value but not necessarily things you need. Often times, we have these boxes of memories from our childhood, precious collections and others keepsakes. This is completely normal to hold on to these things and keep them for a certain period of time (6 to 12 months). This is so you can monitor its usefulness in your daily life. After that monitoring period, you need to make a decision if that item(s) is worth keeping or decide if it’s time to let go. Remember only let go of the things (sell or donate) you are truly comfortable to let go.

To determine which pile an item will go in you will need to ask yourself how often you have used the item in the last 6 to 12 months. Every time you ask that question while you are sorting items  your answer will let you know where the item belongs.


For the NECESSARY/KEEP ITEMS, look at the items again that you decided to keep. Go through each one to make sure that you are really going to use it again. Then decide which items are high, medium and low use and segregate each item according to its frequency of use. If you are hesitating, put that item in the UNKNOWN/SENTIMENTAL FILE.

Identification of items based on frequency of use will help you to know where to store or position the items. Remember, when storing items it should be easier and faster to find. This way you will achieve efficient use of space as well as sustainable organization solutions.


Items that you decided to let it go (UNNECESSARY/DON’T KEEP OR UNKNOWN ITEM after the monitoring period) you can either sell them (if still in good shape or with good value) or donate them. If they are of no use then put the item in the garbage.

There is an important thing to NOTE during Sorting, do not keep items that you have not used for a long time because you might use it “SOMEDAY” or someone from your family or friend “MIGHT NEED IT SOMEDAY”. If you do that, you will end up with the same amount of stuff you had when you started the process. Letting go of things will be very challenging, but once you start doing it, your view about material things will also change. You will eventually notice that having less things makes you appreciate simple living and the peace that comes with it.

Remember you are doing the sorting process to eliminate unnecessary items in your house to create a space for everything that is valuable in your life.

Benefits of Donating UNNECESSARY/UNWANTED Items

By donating unwanted, gently-used items to local nonprofit organizations you are saving the environment. According to the EPA, if there are clothes left sitting in a landfill, this can release toxic greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide into the surrounding environment as they disintegrate. The process of creating new clothes requires hundreds of gallons of water which can release carbon emissions as new textiles are produced. Through donations of your unwanted stuff, all these things can be avoided,

It also helps people in need. You might consider your old item as unwanted or no longer needed but there is someone else who needs that item. You are giving someone the ability to possess something that they need but they cannot afford to have it. You are giving a new purpose for the items that you consider no longer needed.

Benefits of Selling your Used Stuff!

There are many good reasons why selling used stuff (you no longer need) is a good choice rather than to keep it inside your house. Selling used stuff is not only good for making money, but it is also good for the environment and for your own personal good.

  • Let’s tackle the most obvious reason: You Make Money! Selling items you no longer need is a good way to get some extra cash. There are a lot of ways now that you can use to sell your stuff, thanks to the internet! You can use eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor Neighbor app., Let go, Bonanza and many other online sites. Using one of these platforms makes selling your used items a lot easier and faster compared with having a garage sale.
  • 2nd Reason: Good for the Environment! Selling used items prevents pollution because instead of throwing it away you give the other person the ability to acquire that item at a great price. There is a great article about where to sell stuff online at NerdWallet. This will guide you to what platform is suited best for you.
  • 3rd Reason: Your Own Personal Good! Less stuff equals less cleaning which also means you have gained more time to spend on things that matter to you.

Decreasing the amount of stuff that you have accumulated over time will also mean decreasing the number of furniture and fixtures to take care of, less dusting and cleaning and decreasing the chances of having a cluttered house. Because removing things that we don’t need will create a valuable space for the things that we need.

If you can only add the number of minutes you spent in a dusting bookshelf full of books that you have not read for a long long time, the number of times spending looking for something to wear from a huge pile of clothes and then realizing you always end up wearing the same set of clothes for a whole year. The same is true for your 100 pairs of shoes, you end up wearing the same few pairs of shoes over and over again. You will be amazed how much time we waste in cleaning, searching items from a huge pile of stuff in our house and the end up wearing or using the same stuff the whole time.

Realize that all the stuff that has not been used is not just occupying precious space, it also makes your house look messy PLUS it gives you constant stress. This is really a good indication that you need to eliminate things that do not matter to you and make money from then by selling the items to someone that needs them.

Having an organized and neat living space will give you a sense of calm and peace. This is for me the greatest benefit of selling used stuff.

home organizing goal