The Lean Household


My Kanban board on the outside (!) of the bedroom door

One of the joys (?) of adulthood is seeing the world through the lens of your job. Like my friend who used to be a dentist’s assistant and still scans the teeth of everyone she meets. Or me who turned her bedroom door into a huge personal kanban board and does quasi retros with her husband. And started to value streamline daily routines…

Bread spreads in the vegetable drawer

You see, in Germany the usual breakfast is sliced bread topped with something – cold meat, cheese, jam, Nutella :), … You name it. Dinner is often the same.

breakfast-spread-drawerEvery single day you spend a few minutes going back and forth between your table and your fridge getting (or storing away) various bread spreads. That’s what I’ve done and seen others do all my life. Until one fateful (Exaggerating? Me? Never!) day a few years back: My in-laws where storing all the spreads in the fridge drawer. That drawer is intended for vegetables, but hey, if you store your bread spreads in there, you can get them in or out in one go instead of many! Mind blown! We’ve never looked back. What a time and stoop saver. I really should have called this post “Save 2h per month with this one weird trick” 😀 (Assuming 2 minutes saved per meal. 2 meals per day, 30 days per month = 30×4 = 120 minutes)

Everything on the table

Lately our lean mindset zoned in on other things as well. Once you start thinking about it, our kitchen layout really doesn’t make sense:

  • Why is the bread on the counter, when we always use it on the table?
  • Why are the cereals on the counter, when we always use them on the table?
  • Why are the breakfast dishes in a cupboard, when we always … You catch my drift.

There are very specific items we need at the table every day, yet we store them elsewhere. Solution? We put a shelf on our table and put the stuff in there.

dishes-muesliIt’s also an experiment in minimalism: We put exactly 2 sets of dishes and cutlery in the shelf. As long as it’s just the 3 of us (of which 1 is breastfed) we will use only these sets. The rest of the china only sees the light of day when we have guests.

We vow to wash dishes as soon as we’ve used them. Let’s see how long we can make it without using the dishwasher. We’re at a week now and are quite confident about the “no dishwasher” experiment. We’re less confident about where the dishes should be stored: We tend to leave the clean dishes on the sink to dry. Why should we actively towel dry them, if air is perfectly capable of drying them for us? This means that most of the dishes stay on the sink and only make it to the table, when we need them.

Solution: We ordered a fancy pants dish drain and will store the dishes on the sink indefinitely. Their place on the shelf will be usurped by the bread box. The drain should arrive any day now.

Now I only wonder if we’re smart or just obsessive… Maybe a little of both 😉 Then again I’m talking about activities we perform every day. Little things do add up…

BTW, this article also an exercise in lean. It was part of a looong mental draft on our quest towards minimalism. But I figure a small piece of post that’s actually written and published is better than an imaginary, much longer one, so here we are. Thanks for reading!