How to Stay Organized at Home if You Have Vision Loss

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on May 23, 2022
5 min read

While vision loss and blindness can make life more challenging, following a few simple guidelines can allow you to live your life to the fullest. Contrary to what many people believe, there are few things a blind person cannot do if they make sure to keep everything organized. Here’s everything you need to know.

Vision loss is an impairment that, unlike complete blindness, involves only a partial loss of sight. It’s usually caused by other disorders, such as diabetes, brain injury, or albinism. Age-related conditions like macular degeneration are also among the leading causes of vision loss.

There are different types of vision loss, and not all of them consist of the typical blurred sight. For example, a person may lose their side vision, but their central vision may remain intact. Other types of sight loss include night blindness (inability to see in dimly lit areas) and hazy vision (everything appears to be covered by a film).

Common signs of sight loss include:

  • Inability or difficulty focusing on objects
  • Dark or blind spots
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Cloudy vision
  • Excessive sensitivity to light

While low vision can’t be cured except in specific cases, there are some things you can do to overcome the condition. Besides getting visual aids like magnifying glasses, staying organized within your household will greatly help you live with vision loss.

Whether you have only partial vision loss or complete blindness, there are a few strategies you can follow to overcome your condition. Life with blindness may sound difficult, but with adaptive techniques, you can live without depending on relatives or friends.

Avoid clutter. The most important step you can take to adapt to visual impairments is to declutter your home. Everything from unopened mail to stuff in the garage you don’t use anymore needs to go. Not only will this help prevent tripping and falling, but it’ll also help you keep track of everything you need.

Get everything in designated places. Finding a place for everyday things will help you save a lot of time. For example, try putting all your remotes in a small tray, making sure never to leave one outside. Otherwise, you could end up spending a whole afternoon looking under the sofa pillows. 

Sort your things according to frequency of use. Try to identify which objects you use the most and distribute them accordingly. Some, like a saltshaker, will probably belong on a countertop near the stove — while a large pot that you use once a month will go in a cabinet.

Create a system for documents and letters. Paperwork can get messy quickly for the blind and visually impaired. But organizing everything based on categories can be a lifesaver. For example, try separating junk mail, bills, work-related letters, and important documents in different drawers.

It’s no surprise that the kitchen and bathroom areas are often problematic for people living with blindness or vision loss. Yet, keeping everything tidy and organized can go a long way toward making your day-to-day easier on you.

Sort your kitchen items. Kitchen items are usually distinguishable by their weight, size, and shape. Combining that with storing mistakable items in different places will help you get what you need quickly and without effort.

Get a shower caddy. Shower caddies allow you to keep bathroom items on different levels, making it easier to distinguish between them. For example, shampoo and conditioner can be similar, so try storing them away from each other.

Keep your medications recognizable. Medications can be tough to keep organized for people with vision impairments. But labeling them in large print and sorting them by how often you need them will avoid most of the common problems.

Besides organization, it’s also crucial to ensure your safety if you find you’re losing your vision. Tripping and falling are common among people with visual impairments — but cooking and showering can also be difficult. Still, with a few small adjustments, you can make sure your house is safe even if you choose to live alone.

Install handrails on all of the staircases. An obvious first step you should take toward ensuring your safety is installing handrails on every staircase in your house. In the same vein, putting bright, light-reflecting tape on the first and last steps is also crucial.

Get your hands on some elbow-length oven mitts. To avoid burns when using ovens and stoves, buy a couple of long oven mitts. You’ll find elbow-length gloves that can help make cooking a safer and easier task in most stores.

Install grab bars by the toilet and inside the shower. Tripping inside your bathroom can be dangerous, so installing grab bars where possible is always a good idea. To take it a step further, wrap them in colored textured tape to make them easier to see.

Remove area rugs. While rugs can be aesthetically pleasing, they present an unnecessary tripping hazard. In cases where they are necessary, like in the bathroom, make sure they're colored to create contrast with the floor.

Buy contrasting cutting boards. Slicing foods while making a meal can also be dangerous, so make sure to get some contrasting cutting boards. For example, black cutting boards can be great for dicing onions, while white ones may be better for vegetables like lettuce.

Usually, a change in lighting is necessary when a person is losing their vision. While there is no one-fits-all solution, there are a few general guidelines you can follow to get started.

For example, keeping all rooms brightly lit is a must to avoid having to adjust your eyes when going between rooms. These should be brighter than usual — LED bulbs are generally better for this, as they are more energy-efficient.

Similarly, try to keep lamps that you can move near your desk or other places where you need to work. Attaching task lamps to a moving table can be a great solution if you can’t afford a flexible desk lamp.

However, each person will figure out over time what works best for them. Some may prefer ample lightning, while others may only need to reduce the glare produced by the sun. If you’re feeling lost, know that you’re not alone — try searching for blind resources online, as there are valuable tips all over the internet.