5S Method for Clutter-Free Living: Organization for Home, Work, and as a Truck Driver

Staying Organized and Reducing Stress with the 5S Method
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” - Barbara Hemphill

This insightful quote encapsulates the essence of clutter and provides a fresh perspective on how to approach organization. The 5S Method, originally designed for Japanese factories, can be adapted to help individuals unlock a clutter-free and less stressful life. Studies show a clean work environment promotes less stress and better mental health. This method provides a structured approach to organization and decision-making, addressing the root cause of clutter.

The 5S Method can be broken down into the following:
  • SORT: Remove unnecessary items. Keep only what is needed. 
  • SET IN ORDER: Organize items for easy access. Everything has a place. 
  • SHINE: Tidy up regularly. Maintain cleanliness. 
  • STANDARDIZE: Create simple, repeatable routines to keep order 
  • SUSTAIN: Keep to the rules. Make 5S a habit.
Here’s how you can apply the 5S Method to your truck, home and, work environments:
Clean desk makes for better mental health


  • SORT: Keep your workspace tidy, including digital files. Spend a few minutes at the end of each workday clearing your desk and regularly declutter your digital space.
  • SET IN ORDER: Designate specific spots for everything, including gadgets and frequently used tools. Implement a “no-distractions” zone on your desk.
  • SHINE: Systemize and gamify your cleaning time. Wipe down your desk and devices daily, and consider holding monthly clean-up competitions in office settings.
  • STANDARDIZE: Build a repeatable routine, such as starting your day with a quick organization check and implementing weekly file backups and clean-ups.
  • SUSTAIN: Keep the habit going by rewarding yourself for maintaining a clutter-free workspace and adopting the “clean as you go” philosophy.
A dirty dish leads to more dirty dishes and a messy area.


  • SORT: Go through each room and decide what truly needs to stay. Ask yourself when you last used or needed an item and whether it adds value to your life. Be ruthless in your decision-making process.
  • SET IN ORDER: Establish a designated place for every item, especially for frequently misplaced objects like keys and wallets. Keep everyday items accessible and store seasonal items away.
  • SHINE: Clean up regularly, as visual signs of disorder tend to promote more disorder. A clean and orderly space contributes to good mental health and clarity.
  • STANDARDIZE: Put tidiness on auto-pilot by creating a visible cleaning schedule. Consider time-blocking 15 minutes daily for tidying up and an hour weekly for deep cleaning.
  • SUSTAIN: Adopt a “clean as you go” approach. For families, implement kid-friendly storage solutions, create clearly defined zones for different activities, and involve everyone in daily cleaning routines.
Clean truck provides professional look and good mental health


  • SORT: Go through your truck and decide what truly needs to stay. As yourself when was the last time you used this item on the road? Then remove items that do not contribute to your comfort or efficiency, removing old paperwork and unused equipment.
  • SET IN ORDER: Establish designated homes for every item in your truck, prioritizing essential items for easy access (e.g., tablet, phone, snacks, water). Use organizers, bins, or compartments to keep things not only tidy but secure while driving. This organization is crucial given the limited space in a truck cab.
  • SHINE: Clean your truck cab regularly. This helps to maintain a professional appearance. Dust accumulates quickly in vehicles, especially in dirty yards, so consistent attention is required. Take the time to regularly empty trash, wipe down surfaces, vacuum floors, and clean windows at major stops. Washing and maintaining the exterior of the truck regularly to project a positive image of yourself and your company.
  • STANDARDIZE: Create a routine for daily and weekly cleaning and organizing tasks. Implement a system for managing paperwork or digital records. Develop a standardized plan for packing personal items and equipment, incorporating this into your pre-trip and post-trip inspections to promote continuous organization.
  • SUSTAIN: Make organization a habit by consistently following your routines. Periodically review and improve your organizational systems. Take pride in maintaining a clean and efficient mobile workspace. Share your organizational successes with fellow drivers to promote a culture of cleanliness and efficiency on the road.

By applying the 5S Method perspective on clutter, you can create a more organized, productive, and stress-free environment whether you are at home, in the workplace, or as a truck driver on the road. Remember, the key is to make timely decisions about your possessions and tasks, preventing the accumulation of clutter in the first place.

Organization Leads to Good Mental Health