­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Housework the Kaizen Way

Is housework becoming a real chore? Constantly dusting and putting things here and there trying to make them look neat. Then before you know it, the house is a mess again.

What if you could significantly reduce the time and energy you spend doing housework? What if each time you clean up there is less to do the next time?

Kaizen is a Japanese system designed to help workplaces operate smoothly and sanely. I've found it applies brilliantly to housework!

Cleaning up is not seen as a necessary evil but an important part of daily life.

Enough preamble. What's the Kaizen way of doing housework?

1. Seiri (tidiness, organisation)

Don't start rearranging objects. Look at them anew. Does everything serve a purpose, other than gathering dust? Could most of the "ornaments" in the room be better described as "eyesores"? Ornaments are fine, but remember: less is more. If you have 12 ornate jugs in your hallway, how about removing 11 and leaving your favourite on display? Pack the others away, out of sight, out of mind.

As for the other stuff, do you ever actually use that juicer? If it's a rare event, get it off the worktop and into a cupboard.

2. Seiton (orderliness)

"A place for everything and everything in its place." Sounds horribly dull and perfectionist, doesn't it? Don't think of it that way. Just group similar items together, and make unsightly objects less visible. A bookcase is best filled with books, not books alongside deodorants, phone chargers and medicine!

Things with cables can look particularly messy. Store them away in drawers or make them otherwise invisible.

3. Seiso (systemised cleanliness)

Things are looking fantastic now. Let's keep it that way! Why not spend a few minutes practising Kaizen every day? If that sounds a bit unlikely, then at least twice a week.

4. Seiketsu (standards)

Over time, more unused objects start cluttering the place up. You have received some more jugs for your birthday and your magazine collection is liberally strewn around your house. Time to make some rules. One jug per room. Magazines go in orderly boxes.

5. Shitsuke (sustain)

More than just a funny name! Tell others what you've done. Maintain your good work and continue improving it.