Lean Six Sigma isn’t just beneficial at work or for businesses, it makes life easier and more enjoyable at home, too! Here are a few great ways to use Lean Six Sigma concepts and tools at home every day.
1. Our knife drawer has its own Shadow Board.
This helps because all knives have their specific place (see photo above). This helps us put knives away more quickly and find them more easily when we need to use them.
2. We use a Kanban system for our groceries.
We keep a pad on the refrigerator door with a grocery list. Anyone who uses the last item or notices we are running low on an ingredient puts that item on the list. The next person to do the grocery shopping will take the Kanban list to replenish supplies. We never run out! – Colleen Kindler
3. We set up the cabinet above the dishwasher to Minimize Motion Waste.
To minimize wasted motion and reaching while doing the frequent task of emptying the dishwasher, we set up the cabinet above the dishwasher with all the plates, bowls and glassware so the motion is minimized for the heavy and fragile items which are frequently used. – Colleen Kindler
4. We store our Christmas decorations in red and green boxes for Visual Management.
We always know where they are and don’t need to read or find a label. – Carol Knight-Wallace
5. We use Poka Yoke to prevent anyone from mistakenly turning off light switches.
In the example below, we placed a plastic cover piece (50 cents from the hardware store) over this light switch that controls a motion detector spotlight in the driveway.
6. We apply 5S to the laundry room.
- We Sort the garage in half so that the laundry can be done cleanly on one side and the dirty car stuff on the other. The laundry care goes on the right side of the garage and automotive care/work goes on the left side.
- We use Set In Order in the laundry room so dryer sheets don’t go in the washer and detergent doesn’t go in the dryer. Everything is in order by the washer and dryer. There is a colored clothes bin and a white clothes only bin. On top of the dryer:
- Spot treatment spray
- Dryer sheets and balls
- We Shine the laundry room by wiping down any spills and keeping dirty clothes in the proper bins. The laundry area in the garage is always clean and wiped up of any detergent spills. The dryer sheets and lint build up are trashed after each clothes drying session.
- We Standardize the laundry room by using a white bin for white clothes and a colored bin for colored clothes. The pink socks don’t belong with the white shirts!
- We Sustain the laundry room by doing a weekly check that the cleaning items are “Set In Order.” We also check to see if the bins are full and ready to wash and that we have enough cleaning supplies for the next loads. Whoever does laundry last, always checks to see how much cleaning supplies we have left for the next loads. – Jurija Metovic
7. We use a milk Kanban for essential groceries.
When anyone uses the last of the milk, we put the carton on the counter so the next person who goes to the store knows to grab another carton. For the rest of the groceries, we just add it to the list, but due to the number of tea, coffee and cereal fans in the house, the milk gets it’s own system!
8. We use Visual Management for our winter clothing.
We only need them for a few months out of the year, but after reaching for the wrong basket a few times, we decided a few pictures would do the trick. We thought about using actual mittens and hats and sewing them right on the front of the baskets, but the size of a sweater ended that idea.
9. We use a tennis ball as a Poka Yoke in the garage.
When driving our car into the garage, we know exactly how far to drive before stopping. When the tennis ball hits the windshield, we’re done! This way there’s no unexplained dents or mangled bicycles.
10. We use Lean Tool Placement of “cheaters” in the bathroom.
One of the more basic principles in a Lean work space is to place tools and materials in the most appropriate place. This led us to use a little fishing line and some “cheater” spectacles to hang a handy pair of reading glasses in the bathroom. This is a big favorite of our guests, proving that ergonomics matter no matter where you apply them! – Elisabeth Swan
11. We use Visual Management in the kitchen to reduce Waste.
I write the date down on the packages when I opened them. When I do this to keep track of things like stock, milk, and yogurt, this reduces food waste and prevents the risk of eating or cooking with spoiled products. – Ryoko
12. We use Visual Management to create a balanced meal plan.
We use a handy, little whiteboard in the kitchen to list our one-week dinner plan. This helps us:
- Visualize what we need to eat to balance out the food variety
- Prevent Overproduction by keeping us from eating too much food (no carne asada twice a day!)
- Create an informal family RACI to allocate the cooking duties between me and my husband
- Keep inventory low by using all ingredients up within the week, and sometimes have leftovers!
How do you use Lean Six Sigma at home?
After completing your Free Yellow Belt Training (or if you’re already familiar with Lean Six Sigma), share your ideas with us by commenting below! Each month, we’ll give away a FREE Green Belt Training & Certification to the most popular idea. You can vote for ideas by clicking the “^” button on the bottom left of each comment.
We’d love to hear how you use Lean Six Sigma to make your house run more efficiently!