5S and Functionality

I’ve been trying to get more organized this year. I have had some success. Throwing away things is always a good start.

My problem so far has simply been the weather and my health. I am almost recovered from the bad cold I got after the ice storm in December. The snow storm a couple weeks ago prevented recovery. I have been doing a lot of sleeping and riding the couch. It has only been in the past week that I have really felt a lot better.

Whenever I think of organizing, I think of the Japanese 5S system: sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain. It works for Toyota because it is simple and just plain good management. It also dovetails with Zen. Any lack of perfection can be attributed to wabi-sabi.

Absolute adherence is not essential, but its results are addictive. When you make something simple and efficient, it is amazing how quickly you lose patience with inefficiency and hunting for things.

Perfection has never been my goal; having a functional life has been. Now that I am basically Barry’s caretaker and not so much a wife, my organizational skills have implications for both of us. When you live on a fixed income, you cannot afford to look for things you know you have somewhere or buy new versions of things you might already have. The money just isn’t there.

Last year I got rid of a lot of books, printers, school supplies, and that kind of thing. That gave me something: space. Also, when you dig through one layer, you start to see what’s underneath. This new space I am in has forced me to think about who and what I wish to be. Then, leaving church freed my brain to think independently. I now have the physical and emotional space to think clearly. There is no substitute for that.

Tags: ,

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: