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Organize the Shed

March 16, 2013

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When I worked in manufacturing, we had something called the 5S’s of Lean Six Sigma.  If you’re familiar with that then you know how simply wonderful it is.  As well, you’d agree that it’s really just a simple life lesson in cleaning up after yourself.  Signs all over manufacturing plants in America say “Your mother doesn’t work here… clean up after yourself…”  What a novel idea!

SO,  in a nutshell, the 5S Visual Workplace creates a work environment that is clean, well-organized and efficient. It provides your organization with a rapid, visible achievement while preparing your workforce for other advanced improvement efforts.  You can’t move complicated automated machinery into a messy workplace.  This is the same in your SHED!

The 5S’s are as follows: (I have tweaked them a bit in blue to correlate to my shed…)

SORT: Remove all unneeded items from the workplace. First, remove all of the clutter from the shed

SET IN ORDER: Make a place for everything and put everything in its’ place.   Set them into piles in the yard (tools, gardening supplies, pesticides, toys, etc.).  Also designate spaces in the shed for like items.  I have one worktable for “killers” or pesticides and the other for “sustainers” or fertilizers.  Gardening tools go on the fertilizer table top and my husband’s tools go on the pesticide side.  This year I also plan to have my husband put up a cork board where I can hang my yard tools.  All of the shovels and such will also have a hook or nail on the walls, and the bikes will have S hooks in the ceiling.  Everything will have a place.  Because of this, organizing the shed gets easier every year.  I hope that someday I don’t have to do it at all.  Baby steps though…

SHINE: Thoroughly clean and inspect everything in the work area (preventative cleaning also applies).  I throw away any empty bags of yard products.  This is also where you would sharpen and clean your yard tools.  You can see my other post on that.  I also make sure all the machinery stored in the shed still works.  This year we removed a broken power washer we replaced last year. 

STANDARDIZE: Maintain the improvements through discipline and structure.  This is the hard part… just remember to pick up after yourself all year… I know, it seems easy… but somehow isn’t…

SUSTAIN: Continue to support 5S efforts through auditing, job descriptions that include maintenance of the system, management support and expectations, etc.  This is where you can decide to do a walk-through on the first of every month or aim to continually add organizational tools like bin systems or hooks that will continually make work run more smoothly in your shed.

Happy Organizing!


The UNgardener


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