Everyday Lean: Tips and Tricks to Use at Home

Minitab Blog Editor 21 February, 2012

While I spend a good deal of time learning and writing about how companies use Lean Six Sigma practices and Minitab Statistical Software to improve their processes, I also enjoy bringing Lean fundamentals into my everyday life at home.

In fact, maybe I’ve taken the whole “Lean in my everyday life” thing too far:

  • I slyly use 5-Why Analysis to solve minor disagreements with my spouse. (Don’t tell!)

Maybe I’m overdoing it with the Lean stuff, but you know what? I think I have Lean concepts built into my core inner-workings. I like working efficiently and I hate wasting time, especially at home with daily chores. I cringe a little inside each night as I watch my husband slowly wash the dishes after dinner! His whole process is done at a snail’s pace and I know that I could wash five dishes in the time he takes to wash one. (However, please don’t interpret this as me complaining, because I do appreciate the fact that he does the dishes so I don’t have to!)

As Lean’s goal is to eliminate waste, here are a couple of time-saving, waste-of-motion reducing tactics that I definitely need to implement around my home.

1. Instead of placing wrapping paper rolls in plastic tubs that always seem to be buried in storage when you need them the most, string a piece of wire at the top of a closet to store wrapping paper for easy access:

String a piece of wire at the top of a closet to store wrapping paper for easy access.
 
2. If you’re like me and have only a small cabinet beneath your sink to store cleaning products, maximize the space you do have and keep everything in one place (to eliminate the waste of excess motion while cleaning) by installing a tension rod to hang cleaning products with spray-bottle heads:

Install a tension rod to hang cleaning products with spray-bottle heads.

3. Use bread or bagel bag ties to label tangled cords in your office. Not only will the cords have a clutter-free look, but when you need to trouble-shoot, these visible, labeled cords will really be a time-saver (eliminate the waste of waiting to find the cord you need).

Use bread or bagel bag ties to label tangled cords in your office.

4. I’ve recently started using Trello to manage both my work and personal to-do lists. Trello is neat because it is essentially a tool that keeps all of your to-do lists in one place (it’s like a list of lists!). It’s especially helpful for managing many lists with a group of people, (planning a family vacation!), and I really like that instead of having to-do lists scattered around on sticky notes and in various notebooks, all of my lists are electronic and viewable from one location online.

What kinds of Lean tips and tricks do you use at home?