Throw Away Junks, Organize, and Save Money

Right now my house is in the midst (mess?) of a renovation project. We are updating our bathroom which recently sprung a leak due to an array of broken and rusty pipes. We are also converting our dining room to a dual purpose “home office-guest bed room” combination in anticipation of the arriving baby.

We figure spending about $10,000 now will extend the useful life of this house for another 7-10 years before we have to bite the bullet and upgrade to a bigger house. We did some research late last year and the result was not good. For a modestly bigger house in a slightly better neighborhood, we essentially have to double our current mortgage. To us, one extra bed room does not worth $150,000.

Where is it?

With any renovation project, I have to look for stuff that I have not used for years. This makes me realize how important it is to throw away old junks and organize things that I am keeping. I cannot tell you how many times I have to run out to Lowe’s or Home Depot to buy tools and supplies that I have in my storage. But because it is not well organized, I could not find what I need and ended up going out to buy new. This is not only a complete waste of money, it also adds to the pile of junk I already have.

5s Process

Image courtesy of The Productivity Factory

The 5S Process

When this renovation project is over, my family and I will be doing some 5S activities. 5S is a productivity improvement process originated in Japan. The 5S are five major steps as follow:

  • Seiri (or “Sort”) — this step removes all items that are not needed in the current space. This involves moving items to the right locations (e.g., tools to the workbench, clothing to the closet or laundry room, books to the shelf, etc.) and throwing away items that are no longer needed.
  • Seiton (or “Set in Order”or “Stabilize”) — this step arranges all remaining items so that they are readily accessible and labeled so that anyone can find them easily.
  • Seiso (or “Shine”) — this step basically involves sweeping and cleaning. The purpose is to keep everything in top condition and ready to be used.
  • Seiketsu (or “Standardize”) — this step defines the normal condition and how to correct abnormal conditions. When abnormality is detected, it can be quickly corrected to restore the normal condition.
  • Shitsuke (or “Sustain”) — this ongoing step defines the process that will be followed regularly to maintain the normal condition.

Well, time to go back and put up more plastic barrier to fight off dust. Yuck!

About the Author

By , on Aug 20, 2007
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (6 Comments)

  1. pam munro says:

    English note – one says “pieces of junk” or “bits of junk” and so on – “junks” is the verb as in – That company regulary junks its old software –
    Just FYI – wasn’t an English major, but I am a writer….

  2. Jonathan says:

    I’ve never hear of the 5s model before put the Japanese can teach us an awful lot about how to organise and discipline ourselves. I live over the pond in the UK where house prices are crazyily high and like you Pinyo we try to build extensions wherevere possible because upgrading is just too expensive. I actually welcome the current credit crunch to an extent if it keeps housing costs in check, as long as our global economies don’t start to slide into full blown recession.

  3. Pinyo says:

    SavingDiva – welcome to Moolanomy. Just don’t go too crazy to the point where you have to buy new clothes to replace the old ones. Also, you can donate stuff for tax deduction. :-)

  4. SavingDiva says:

    My apartment needs the 5S! I printed off the list and am going to go through my bedroom. I need to get rid of clothes that I no longer wear and organize my dresser and closets!

  5. Pinyo says:

    Dimples – welcome to Moolanomy. I actually first learned about 5S from work. It is not that common, but popular in the productivity space. If you are interested in learning more, here is a link to Wikipedia page on 5S.

  6. Dimples says:

    5S activities. Pretty neat concept. I have done spring and summer cleaning before but not at this intensity. I have this whole week off so I may go and adopt this improvement process and see how it works out. Thanks for the info

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