5S methodology for a more orderly life

5S methodology for a more orderly life

Last update: January 28, 2021

The Japanese 5S methodology is based on five fundamental principles to improve one's life; principles which, in turn, are based on two pillars: order and cleanliness. The Japanese technique can be applied to different circumstances, be it professional or personal. Many companies are adopting it to increase their productivity and improve the way employees approach the work day.

For example, the 5S methodology was employed within the Toyota company during the 1960s to ensure a much more orderly, hygienic and efficient workplace. The company wanted to increase its productivity and resorted to the 5S methodology and the Kaizen method.

Since then, thanks to its widespread diffusion, the 5S methodology has been used in various companies belonging to different sectors. It can also be applied in the educational field, because it allows you to foment healthy hygiene habits already at an early age. Its psycho-pedagogical foundations are aimed at promoting a cultural change related to cleaning habits imposed by schools.

5S methodology: what is it and what is it for?

The Japanese 5S methodology refers to five fundamental principles that begin with the letter S. Although it can be applied to all areas of our life, as it does not require prior preparation, it is important to adhere strictly to it to optimize results.

The ideal is to practice it in a precise, orderly and systematic way so that it is effective, since perseverance is one of the keys to the technique and a way to naturalize it as a lifestyle. These principles are:


Seiri is a selection process in which all that is superfluous is eliminated. The person makes an analytical effort to identify what they really need and separate it from what just takes up space. So, after this classification, everything that is not used must be discarded e which creates disturbance and hindrance.

Another advantage is that allows you to identify the necessary elements and that the person has not yet available. A useful criterion for attributing the degree of importance to objects is to ask when was the last time we used them. If we haven't used them for more than a year, it's best to discard them.

This classification prepares the working material for the next step: choose the best place for each item.


It is the second phase and is characterized by the organization. It will be necessary to put the objects in their place and identify the most important ones to put them in the most accessible places.

By doing so, it is possible to delimit and label certain ones. Basically, it is a question of organizing the entire work environment so that the loss of energy and time is minimal when you need to look for what you need.


It is the cleaning phase in the truest sense of the word. The idea is to remove the dirt to do an integral hygiene job. The ideal is to identify the sources of dirt and prevent it from causing it again.


It consists in reporting any anomalies, detecting and resolving them, to prevent a chain effect from being generated. In this way, we will remember that cleaning must be maintained every day, to prevent chaos and disorder from returning.


Finally, a doctrine must be established to improve day by day through discipline. So, we will have to continue working bearing in mind the 52 methodology as a principle of order, hygiene and efficiency. 

Applying the 5S methodology to work helps to control spaces and optimize time. However, let us remember that it is a methodology that can be used perfectly in personal life, in which classification, organization, cleaning and reporting of anomalies or problems facilitate the path towards well-being.

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