Monday, August 15, 2011

Taking Steps Towards a Lean House

As a lean guy, I'm always looking at ways to optimize and standardize outside of work. What can I say? It's in the blood. But implementing lean at home is a whole different ball game. We don't have standard processes here (besides a glass of wine before bed!). Every day is different.

But think about it. There are certain things everyone does everyday. Without knowing it, most people have developed a standard procedure. You sleep in the same bed every day. You store your clothes in a special piece of furniture specifically designed for clothes. And these dresser drawers are probably organized by clothing type. Your toothbrush sits in a cup in your bathroom. And your shoes are in that spot by the door. The same spot every day.

Yes, it's possible. Standardizing the mundane has already happened. It's in my life and it's in yours, so you can focus on the value added activities of your life without fretting over where your toothbrush is.

But can we expand it? How can we use lean visual controls to achieve more?

Obviously there are thousands of ways to standardize, reduce waste and create simpler systems in the home. People make a living uncluttering other people's lives, whether physical room organizers or psychological life advisors.

Tasks you perform regularly are perfect candidates for some form of automation or visual control. I came across this blog post from several years ago showing a simple method of showing tasks for the week.

The author uses plastic sleeves to hold papers showing the tasks for each person. When the task has been completed, the paper is simply turned around and the back shows a smiley face. At a glance, anyone can see what's been done and what still needs to get done. Perfect for a weekly schedule. One task per day.

Here's the link:

What lean methods have you implemented at your house?

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