Category Archives: Why is THIS lean?

Open Shelving – nothing leaner…..

From the open shelving on the wall to the silverware on the counter, eliminating doors on residential cabinetry may be trendy right now, but it is also very Lean too! The idea behind this concept is to use open shelving for the items you use most.  If you find yourself reaching to open a cabinet door a few times a day, chances are, you will benefit from open shelving.

Everyone runs their kitchens differently. For us, we serve the food on the plates immediately. Thus having them at an arms reach of the cooktop is imperative. Notice the silverware on the countertop.  Probably the most opened drawer in our last kitchen.  Keeping this on the countertop all the time is not only more convenient, but it is a visual reminder that the silverware (& plateware) needs to be washed or emptied from the dishwasher.


In the photo below, you see the cooking utensils in a ceramic jar, it is sitting on a lazy-susan base so we can grab that tool quickly that always seems to be in the back of the jar 🙂 The knife block holds only knives used for cooking, all steak knives are hiding away in a drawer. Tammy always keeps that little plate on the counter for the stirring/mixing tool that is currently being used.  It just helps to keep the countertop clean.













So, what are the Attributes of Lean/Waste here that were solved?
• Transportation –  This certainly decreases the transportation of moving around your kitchen ware & not to mention the food!
• Inventory – This open shelving method helps you keep a                      visual  inventory of everything.  You will know it is missing before you start cooking.  There is no excuse!
• Motionopening/closing doors & reaching in awkward places        for silver & plate ware are no longer a problem
• Extra-processing – Extra processing can include things like opening/closing doors & drawers, taking out plates & bowls form cabinets & re-locating them to counter.  Going on that hunt for the missing silverwareOverall, you always want to decrease your movements, therefore saving in processing!

LEAN coffee?

How can this coffee maker be LEAN you ask? For one simple reason… The water is “hard piped” in. We will never again need to pull off the container, bring it to the sink, and fill it up again!The amount of time this saves, is incredible! Especially for a house full of coffee drinkers!


Attributes of Lean/Waste:

  • Motion – Motions no longer used are walking the water reservoir from under the coffee maker to the sink, standing there waiting to fill it, then again walking it back to the coffee maker & putting it back in place.
  • Waiting – This saves an easy 2 minutes per day of re-filling! (although it seems like so much more…)
  • Transportation – A hard piped coffee maker eliminates the transportation between the sink and the machine
  • Extra-Processing – Just count all the steps that were eliminated in this process, so much more time to just enjoy your cup of coffee!



We used Kuerig model 150-P
Although this is a commercial grade coffee machine, don’t let anyone tell you can’t put it in your house! Also dont forget to add a good pre-filter system, the minerals in the water are no good for the machine.


Pot Filler LEAN

Attributes of Lean/Waste:

  • Motion – Motions no longer used are walking the pot from under the cooktop to the sink, standing there waiting to fill it, then again walking it back to the cooktop to be boiled.
  • Waiting –  Sink faucets have aerators which slow down the water flow. Typically, Pot Fillers do not, therefore speeding up the pot filling process
  • Transportation – A Pot filler eliminates the transportation between the sink and the cooktop
  • Extra-Processing – Just count all the steps that were eliminated in this process, look at all the extra time you have to write about it now!

Add all this with the storage of the pots within reach of the cooktop & the built in sink colander just a step away as you can see here, and we have just saved a whole lot of time!


If you have ever filled a pot at the faucet and walked it over to the cooktop, then you will agree, a pot filler will make it easier!



Spice Storage Shelving

Attributes of Lean/Waste:

• InventoryYou never need to search & dig for your spices, If you are running low, using this exposed system of spice storge, you WILL know!
• Motion We used to keep spices behind closed doors, now, we save the motion of constantly opening & closing cabinet doors, and, walking further than we need to to find oils, spices & other daily used items!

Remember, Just 5s it!


Keeping on the spices and oils
exposed at an arms reach to the cooktop was very important to us. The glass containers allow a visual identification as well as printed labels for confirmation.IMG_0830.JPG

Iron shelf spice rack
Iron shelf spice rack

This iron spice storage rack is custom made by Classic Welding in North Haven, CT. After the iron is properly washed, a 3 step finish is applied. An aged copper base coat (must let dry overnight) then a brown spray paint that is immediately wiped on the corners before it dries. After it is dried, a random lite rub-through sanding is done, to enhance the aged look. IMG_0837.JPGWhen I am happy with the look, I spray a satin clear coat over it to protect and enhance it.




The same process was done on the frame surrounding the tray ceiling.IMG_0834.JPG



So much Lean here…

We will break this down piece by piece a little later, but her is a quick LEAN list of what is in the picture.


Let’s start with the cutting board location. Notice it is between the trash hole in the counter and the built in strainer sink. So basically, do your chopping, chuck the waste, put the good stuff in the sink to be rinsed; never moving in location, opening or lifting anything. It literally cuts your prep time in half.

Not only does the sink have a built in colander system, but the faucet has motion control activation for no touch. So you don’t need to dirty up your faucet before you wash your hands, that saves a step of cleaning the faucet and turning it on and off.

Need to quickly dry your hands? Check out the location of the paper towels and rag.