Home Organization

How To Stay Organized At Home The Japanese Way

How To Stay Organized At Home is about the process of keeping your space organized using the “4th and 5th S” of the Japanese Workplace Organization Method which is STANDARDIZE AND SUSTAIN.

The Standardize Method (4th S) is where you make rules on how and when to do de-cluttering (1st S), putting things in order (2nd S) and cleaning the (3rd S),  while the Sustain Method (5th S) is a method to develop a sense of household discipline to make organizing part of your every day life.

Standardize Method: Home Application To Stay Organized

The Standardize Method which is the 4th S of the system, is the next step to follow after you have accomplished the first 3 steps of the Japanese Workplace Organization Method also known as the 5S System. This is where you are creating household rules that will help you and your loved ones to keep doing what you have done to get your home organized.

After getting your home organized, the next BIG Question will be How To Stay Organized? Staying organized is a different process than getting organized.  Getting organized usually involves the physical aspects of doing the things to get the job done. Things like throwing away all unnecessary items, designating a place for every essential item and cleaning all areas that need to be cleaned, while staying organized involves mental aspects of forming new habits of doing the things to make organizing a part of your daily routine.

You will need to create an effective system that will help you to develop a habit of keeping only the things that matter to you, putting things in order at all times and setting aside a time for cleaning. This can be done by creating a grocery list that matches your family’s needs, giving a permanent home to every essentials item and making a regular cleaning schedule.

Stay Organized Home Application 1 : Grocery List That Matches Your Family’s Needs

Part of being organized at home is making sure that we have the right amount of household supplies in our house whether it’s food, pantry supplies, cleaning supplies or personal hygiene items. Having the correct amount of household supplies does not mean that you need to have an overflowing supply which then creates the need to have a bigger space to put everything in order. It simply means that you have enough supplies to cater to your family’s needs. This can be done by creating a grocery list that matches the needs of your family.

How To Create A Grocery List That Matches Your Family Needs

In my article Pantry Organization Ideas and Guidelines, the first guideline to have an organized pantry is to remove everything from the pantry (de-cluttering process). Why is this necessary? It’s necessary because it will give you an instant inventory of the supplies that are about to expire, already expired, or have not been used for a while. This process will also let you know which supplies that you have overstocked. From here you will now create a NEW PANTRY LIST by listing all of the items that you have in your pantry while taking note of all items that are about to expire, already expired and overstocked supplies.

There could be 3 possible reasons why your have pantry items are about to expire, already expired, or are overstocked. They are as follows:

  1. You may not use the items as often as you thought – you need to know when to restock or replenish the items.
  2. You really do not need the items – you need to cross the items off of your list.
  3. You simply overlooked it –  this can be resolved by storing the items in an efficient and organized manner.

After that, you will need to write down all of the supplies that make up your menu items for the meals that you cook for your family most often. For example, you might have 20 different recipes that you like to cook and you may spread out those meals over a month just to have food variety. Then, based on your favorite recipes, make a PANTRY RECIPE LIST where you list all of the pantry items that you consistently use in your cooking.

Compare the PANTRY LIST that you came up with during the de-cluttering process to the PANTRY RECIPE LIST that you came up with when you listed your favorite recipes that you cook for your family. Consolidate the two lists by adding items from the PANTRY RECIPE LIST that are not found on the PANTRY LIST or cross out the items on the pantry list that are not found on the pantry recipe list to make a NEW PANTRY LIST or also known as GROCERY LIST THAT MATCHES YOUR FAMILY’S NEEDS. By doing this, you will avoid having expired items in your pantry or supplies that have not been used. This will leave you with the items that you need for your daily meal preparation.

Stay Organized Home Application 2 : Giving A Permanent Home To Every Essential Items

In my article Organizing 101: How To Put Things In Order The Japanese Way, you learn about finding a place for everything (essential items) and putting everything in its place. There are 4 organizing steps to follow which will help you to know what to place where. This is done for you to identify the right location for items and arrange them in a systematic way. Once you have identified the right location for your essentials items, the next step will be making that location the permanent home for these essential items. This is done by putting these same items in the same spot or by using a label .

Consistently Putting the Same Items in the Same Spot is the one way of giving a permanent home to your essentials. The key word is “consistently”. Once you have already established a location for your essentials putting labels on them would not be necessary. Just be sure to stay consistent at placing the same items back in the same location where you originally designated them. By doing this, you are training yourself and your loved ones as to where they can find each item and where they should be placed after use. Below is the picture of my TV console cabinet where I store our grandson’s personal stuff.stay organized

Every time we have our 3 year grandson, he is used to seeing his stuff such as diaper change kit, his books, his chair and mat and some of his toys in the right side of the TV console cabinet. After a few times, he learned that his things are stored in that particular spot and whenever he is ready to eat, he opens the cabinet and pulls out his chair and his mat. This shows that being organized is something that everyone can learn even a 3 year old child!

Putting labels  on a container, cabinet, shelf or storage bin is more than just content identification and it’s definitely not for esthetic enhancement purposes. It is actually essential for your pantry because labels convey the following information to you and your loved ones when you use them efficiently:

    • Help you and your loved ones to locate items faster.
    • Help you and your loved ones to know where they need to put the items back after use.
    • Help you and your loved ones to know the exact location to put groceries.
    • It will help you to identify and monitor the pantry items that need to be replenished. An almost empty basket designated for a particular pantry item indicates that you are low on stock and will trigger you to put that item on your “Grocery List”. This prevents you from running out of stock,

Giving a permanent home to every essential item directs you and your loved ones where to go when they need something and what they need to do afterwards. Looking for or searching for things that cause you great frustration and much stress will become a thing of the past.

Stay Organized Home Application 3 : Making A Regular Cleaning Schedule

In my article Why Cleaning Keeps Your Home Organized, you learn the vital reasons why you need to regularly clean your home. What you find is that by doing regular cleaning,  you naturally put things back in order and throw away useless items spotted during cleaning process. This is on top of the benefit of your home being neat and clean. From this, you will able to discard useless items and put things back in order on a regular basis. This then prevents you from accumulating useless items and leaves you with items that are arranged in an organized manner.

Making A Regular Cleaning means that you are also regularly doing de-cluttering and putting every item in its designated place which are essential steps to staying organized. Below is an example of a good regular schedule:

Group your cleaning activities that you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal basis.

Identify each cleaning activity and when to do it, within the week, within the month and within a year.


Download Cleaning Schedule Template

Bear in mind that cleaning should be done on a regular basis. It is not a task that you can do only when you feel like it or when you have time. It is a task that you need to make time for in order for you to stay organized at home.

Sustain Method: The “5th and the last S” of the 5S System.

The Sustain Method is the process that ensures that the new way of doing things will be put into practice at all times until it becomes a new habit. This can be accomplished by crossing out your do list everyday and on time, NO PROCRASTINATION! The checklist, cleaning schedule and putting a label on or giving a permanent home to your essentials will not do any good if you do not put these steps into action. A consistent implementation of the organizational rules that you have created will lead you to create a new habit that eventually will turn into your new household discipline.

Household Discipline means that you and your loved ones must understand, obey and implement consistently the guidelines on where to locate and put and return things inside your house until they get use to it and organizing becomes part of their daily routine. Below are ways to create the discipline of organizing:

Educate Your Loved Ones!

  • Staying Organized at home is not a one man or one woman job, it is definitely a collective effort of the whole family. Let them know the new house rules that all of you need to follow such as:
    • All essential items have their own designated place so it will be easy for all of you to find them.
    • Everyone needs to return things to their designated spot after each use.
    • Stop tossing things everywhere because clutter is no longer allowed in the house.
    • Always pick things up that do not belong in the room to keep the house clean and tidy.
    • Make your bed as you get up.
    • Do the chores assigned without being told by following the Cleaning Schedule consistently.
    • Put groceries into their designated spot in the pantry.
    • Keep the kitchen counter space and kitchen sink clear and clean! NO DISHES IN THE SINK!!!

Make a Regular Inspection

  • Inspection is a great way for you to know if your family and loved ones are following the new house rules. This is also a great way to train your kids to be responsible and to be organized. We have this human tendency to perform good when we know that someone will check on the quality of our work. In regard to your kids, whether they like it or not there is a greater chance that they will comply with the rules if they know that you are going to check on them. Remember though, do not expect them to be perfect! Just be patient and be consistent in implementing house rules.
  • Set-Up A Regular Family Meeting . A family meeting is proven to be one of the most effective ways to build a harmonious relationship with your loved ones. Aside from that, this is also a great venue to praise your loved ones when they do something good like when they followed the house rules. It’s also a good time to ask the reason why they failed to follow certain rules. Listen to their reasons and figure out how to improve the situation. Remember, the family meeting is about hearing everyone’s thoughts and concerns and to figure out ways to solve their concerns. This is not the time to blame anyone but this a time to create solutions because there is always room for improvement.

Be A Good Example

  • Practice What You Preach – You need to set standards on how to do things around the house. You will be the person to consistently follow the rules that you asked your loved ones to follow. Being a good role model will definitely help your loved ones to be motivated to always put things back in order without being told.
  • You Pick-Up What Your Loved Ones Forgot – If at any given time, you notice that one of your loved ones forgot to bring back an item to its designated location, pick it up and put it back to where it belongs and then bring this to their attention until they become used to it.

Real Life Examples:

  • The picture below is where I store the cushions of our outdoor chairs when not in use. Our 3 year old grandson is used in seeing those sets of cushions in the same spot every time he is with us. There was a time when he came to our house, one of the cushions was in the living room, after a few minutes he picked up the cushion and put it where he is used to seeing it stored.
  • KEEP THE KITCHEN SINK EMPTY AND CLEAN AT ALL TIMES! – That was and still is my mother’s number 1 house rule. She never deviated from keeping the sink empty and clean. If we failed to do it, she would clean it herself but she made sure to bring it to our attention. And guess what? It worked! Till this day my siblings and I cannot stand a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes and it also became our number house hold rule with our own family.


If our FAITH comes with hearing the WORDS, our ORGANIZING DISCIPLINE comes with constantly seeing organized things inside our house. So do not get tired of putting things in order because if you keep doing it, organizing will eventually become part of your daily life.

Benefits of Having An Organized Home:

SAFETY! Just like in the workplace our home can be a place where accidents occur especially if there is clutter everywhere. Clutter can even cause a fall accident which is a very common home accident.

SAVE MONEY! A well maintained house and a house that has items that are cared for means less money to be spent doing regular maintenance and this will allow you to use household items for a much longer period of time.

EFFICIENCY! Efficient organization will help you to get the job done faster and easier. Why? Because there will be no more searching for things that you need to use, no more unnecessary bending or stretching and no more back and forth movements just to get one task done!

QUALITY OF LIFE! An organized home will definitely eliminate stress from clutter and definitely will give you peace of mind. This will give you the sense that your home is a sanctuary and you will always enjoy being at home.

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