We’ve all seen pictures of a workbench pegboard with outline drawings for each tool. Perhaps we’ve chuckled at the anal-ness of it or maybe we’ve secretly hoped we could be that organized. Pegboard outlines are a prime example of Straightening and Setting in Order, the 2nd step of the 5S process of keeping an area neat and organized. In review, the five steps are Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize, and Sustain.
Straightening calls for creating a home for an item so you can find it easily and put it away when you’re done using it. There’s another element to the Straightening step and it’s called POUS – Point of Use Storage. In its simplest definition it means storing what you need where you need it. POUS makes all the sense in the world and yet is often overlooked in bringing order to an area.
In your office you no doubt keep pens, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, and breath mints at your finger tips in a pencil drawer. It makes sense to have these items so close by. Other areas in your office where Point of Use Storage can and should be implemented are:
Filing cabinets – Do you ever find yourself procrastinating on filing a new document/file because you need to take time to create a hanging file for it? Sometimes you resort to the “filing by piling” method which only creates unsightly clutter. Try keeping a supply of 8-10 hanging files and 8-10 manilla file folders in the front of your closest filing drawer. You’ll now have everything you need within arms reach and those “piles of files” can become a thing of the past.
All supplies related to a copier/printer should be placed directly above or beside the copier. It makes sense to store copy paper, card stock, envelopes, labels, toner, and scratch paper in this area. And if you find yourself needing paper towels or moist cleaning cloths after installing the toner, then it makes sense to have a supply of these items here as well.
In my travel briefcase, I keep a plastic storage bag containing 3-4 flipchart markers, cough drops, tissue and masking tape (to mark off back rows of training rooms). I also keep an extra battery for my presentation remote. These items are always where I need them when I need them.
At home there are many places to implement Point of Use Storage. In my kitchen I’ve created the “beverage cupboard”. It’s located directly above where the coffee pot sits on the kitchen counter. In this cupboard are mugs, coffee beans, coffee grinder and filters, sweeteners, and powdered creamer. I also have teas, hot chocolate and drink mixes stored here. My family knows to check this cupboard if they need anything beverage related.
In my bathrooms I keep a supply of toilet paper, tissues, cleaning products and cleaning cloths. On my nightstand I have a basket containing hand lotion, lip balm, pen, highlighter, mini notebook, book marker, mini flashlight and tissues.
When you implement Point of Use Storage you cut down on wasted steps and time spent looking for items. Begin looking around your home and office. You’ll no doubt spot areas where items can be stored differently which will enhance their use.