Declutter Your Workplace with the 5S Japanese Principles

Have you ever noticed how you feel around clutter or in a messy place? Whether it be at home or at work, clutter can cause anxiety and hinder our productivity. The more things you have on your desk, floor, or countertop, the more your attention is taken away from what is important.

With the recent release of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, the world is catching on to the benefits of decluttering especially based on Japanese principles. Not only is Marie changing the way people think and tidy up, the Japanese have their own management system to organise a workplace. These five words that begin with S in both English and Japanese will help bring order and productivity to any office. This also makes for a great team building activity to bring everyone together.


Sort (Seiri) 

Determine what is necessary and eliminate all unnecessary items from a space.


Set In Order (Seiton) 

Once you have ruled out what is most necessary, you can begin to organise in an orderly fashion. When items (including paperwork) are organised, it makes it so much easier to find things.


Shine (Seiso)

It goes without saying that your space should be clean! Dirt and dust can cause unpleasant symptoms like allergies, therefore, it is considered a health hazard.


Standardise (Seiketsu)

There’s no point in cleaning and clearing if you aren’t going to keep up with it. Make sure you and your team are maintaining high standards at all times – this may require a certain technique such as using a checklist or assigning routine tasks to individuals.


Sustain (Shitsuke)

This is probably the hardest of the S’s as it requires behavioural changes. Try to make tidying up a habit and lead an example for your staff to follow suit.


Your workplace should be treated as your home. Apart from increasing productivity, a clean and tidy office will also increase employee satisfaction, safety, and efficiency. As Marie Kondo says, “tidying your physical space, allows you to tend to your psychological space.”