Home Organization Tips
By: Jackie Waters
An unorganized home makes it virtually impossible for a person with a visual impairment to function independently. When everything is in its place, people have a much easier time navigating the home, finding items, and completing daily tasks. Home organization also helps people with visual impairment go about their days with less stress and more confidence because they know they will be able to find things without hassles or obstacles. The following home organization tips will help you prepare your home and make it more accessible for someone with a visual impairment.
1. Label While You Organize
Labels are just as important as organization when it comes to preparing the home for a person with a visual impairment, but if you wait to label, you may forget or label items incorrectly. That’s why labeling while organizing is key. As soon as you bring home groceries, label canned goods and boxed foods that may be confused because of their similar sizes and shapes.
There are many labeling methods that work for people with low vision, and it may be helpful to experiment to see what works best for your loved one. Some people use self-adhesive letters to label shoe boxes when organizing shoes in closets. Others use a series of tactile dots or Velcro strips to label canned goods. When it comes to labeling clothing, people often use index cards with large print or safety pins to keep track of items.
2. Use Clear Food Containers
Storing food can pose challenges for people with low vision. If you opt for clear storage for various pastas, cereals, and dry goods, it may help the person identify what is inside. It’s also helpful to place labels with large print on each storage container and make sure they are printed in colors that contrast with the food being stored inside. One other tip for storing food is to place items in alphabetical order or to place items that are used frequently near the front of the pantry or in cabinets close to food preparation areas.
3. Add Dividers to Kitchen Cabinets
If it is difficult to locate spices, bakeware, or kitchen tools in your cabinets and drawers, add dividers to provide a space for each item or groups of items. Making custom spaces for items ensures that your loved one with a visual impairment will be able to locate each item quickly and easily and will know where to put them after using them.
It’s also important to make sure that you don’t combine food with cleaning supplies even if you add dividers to kitchen cabinets. Being proactive about food safety is a good practice to follow, and preventing accidents with cleaning supplies protects the entire family.
4. Use Bins to Organize Linens
The linen closet is one space that needs a makeover in nearly every home. Bulky sheets and blankets, fluffy towels, and extra pillows take up a great deal of space and can cause an organization headache for anyone, regardless of vision impairment. One fix is to purchase bins from a home goods or dollar store and label them with index cards or Braille labels. Colorful bins are an ideal choice if your linens are white or beige; alternatively, light-colored bins are ideal if your linens are dark. Labels should contrast with the bins to make it simple to locate them, and the large print on them should contrast with the labels themselves.
When organizing linens, you have a few options. Some people separate them according to the rooms in which they are used. Others separate them by size; for example, twin sheets in one and queen sheets in another. Some people prefer to organize linens by time of year, with flannel sheets on higher shelves and light cotton sheets on lower shelves in summer. Again, the method of organization should suit your family’s needs.
In summary, home organization is key to preparing a home for a person with a visual impairment. Consider labeling while you organize, using clear food containers, adding dividers to kitchen storage areas, and using bins for linens to make your home more accessible to a visually-impaired loved one. If your organization efforts just don’t seem like they’re going to work out as you hoped, it might not be a bad idea to start looking into large-scale home modifications or for a more accessible home in the area.