Closet Organization Strategies for The Visually Impaired

Closets seem to be the hardest part of the home to keep organized. Maybe it’s the lack of social pressure. We know most people won’t be looking inside our closets to evaluate our housekeeping skills. Maybe it’s the nature of the closet itself. Unless you have a large, well-lit walk-in, the closet tends to be a small, crowded, dark little area.  

But having an organized closet brings more than just aesthetic pleasure. A well-organized closet saves you time and stress by making it easy to find the outfits and items you need. When you are visually impaired, an organized closet can make the difference between needing someone to aid you and being independent in your clothing selection.

Lighting

If you have low vision, the first area to examine is lighting. Organization doesn’t help much if you can’t identify the sorting systems you’ve chosen. Bright, even lighting can help you tell if items match each other, or can help you find and read any labels you’ve applied.

Adding or modifying overhead lighting is ideal, if possible. Use bulbs that give off a natural light. These give a truer representation of colors. The positioning of the light also matters. You don’t want it to cast shadows on your clothing.

One easy solution for illuminating darker corners is to use stick-on lights. Stick-on lights can be placed anywhere you need them to be. They turn on and off with a tap. And if you need a bit more directed lighting for looking at labels, you can keep a small flashlight on one of your closet shelves.

Color Identifiers and Labels

For matching and labeling clothing, color identifiers are helpful. The Colorino Talking Color Identifier can recognize 100 different colors and differentiate between types of lighting. The Colorino can help you get an initial accurate inventory of your clothing.

For detailed recording, the Pen Friend makes laundry safe labels that withstand up to 50 or more washes. Pen Friend labels allow you to use your voice to record personalized information about the clothing item, including washing instructions or anything else you may find important. Those instructions are recorded onto self-adhesive labels, ready for playback.

Once you have an accurate idea of what you own, there are several ways to label or sort your clothing. You can put Braille clothing labels on each item to identify colors and patterns. Or sort your clothes into types or colors with closet dividers.  And if you’re not into mixing and matching, just go ahead and hang entire outfits together on hangers.

Keep Things Sorted and Within Reach

Shoeboxes, craft boxes, baby food jars, and egg cartons are all economical containers you can use for keeping closet items sorted. No need to spend a fortune on built-in drawers or cabinets and boxes.

Watches, jewelry, and even undergarments can be compartmentalized. Keep socks separated by color or type. Items you use frequently should be the easiest to reach. Not only is it faster to always have these items at hand, but it’s also safer than having to reach or stand on step stools.

But what if you drop something? The PikStik Reacher is a must-have tool for your closet. The PikStik can rotate 360 degrees to pick up items from any angle. It opens up to 5 ½” to pick up even large items.

Once your closet is organized, think about streamlining other aspects of your dressing routine. ILA has a variety of dressing aids that can make getting ready in the morning a faster, more independent experience.

 

Kitchen Organization Tips For the Visually Impaired

Visual impairment may make it more difficult to navigate your kitchen, but by putting a few strategies in place, you can get comfortable in that space once again. There are three main areas to consider when planning: safety, organization, and simplification.

Safety First!

Safety should always be your first priority. For example, keeping cabinet and cupboard doors closed when not in use makes everyone’s kitchen look neat and tidy, but staying vigilant about this habit has more importance than that. Open doors become a tripping hazard when you can’t see them in your way.

To avoid bumping against sharp counters or fishing for light sockets, you can outline the edged with wide electrical tape in a contrasting color. And to find common settings on your oven or other appliance dials, use bright nail polish or sticky dots to identify where to stop.

Keeping your fingers away from knives and your hands away from flames should also be a priority. Cut resistant gloves and kitchen knives with slicing guides help avoid slip-ups. Installing appliances like the flameless induction cooktop eliminates the possibility of being seriously burned by stove surfaces. And using measuring guides can keep you safe from overfilling containers with hot liquids.

Kitchen Organization

Organization is the key to being able to quickly locate the things you need to whip together that perfect meal. Make use of anything you can find that helps you label, sort, or categorize the items in your kitchen.

A Talking Label Wand allows you to record your own talking labels for all of your pantry or kitchen cabinet items. It creates customized labels that play back to you at the touch of the wand. Barcode readers pull from a database of product information to give you an auditory overview of your grocery items.

Invent a way to sort and categorize items that is easy for you to be consistent about. Keep like items grouped together on shelves. Try using a tactile system, like bump dots, rubber bands, or braille tape for categorizing canned foods. Types of utensils can all go together in the same drawer based on their function.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

When you are visually impaired, the last thing you need to do is create extra steps for yourself in the kitchen. Purchasing appliances that make cooking and clean up quicker or easier is worth the investment.

Cut back on cleanup time by making more one-dish-wonders in the crockpot. Crockpot meals typically don’t dirty up too many other dishes. Just put everything in together, turn the knob, and walk away. Crockpots also eliminate the safety concerns you may have when operating an oven or stove.

Anything automatic is a plus. Automatic can openers keep you safe from sharp edges and help you line up the can and the blade without fishing around for the best angle. Electric kettles or appliances like the Hot Shot heat up water for hot drinks and soups. Using something like this is faster and safer than monitoring boiling water on the stove or in the microwave.

ILA likes to help keep you in your kitchen and with your shopping. Browse our selection of kitchen aids help you stay active and independent.

 

Save Some Green!: Ways To Save Money In the Spring

The warmer weather and greener hues of spring inspire us to work towards renewal in different areas of our life. Besides doing your physical spring cleaning, you may want to do some “cleaning” in other aspects of your life. Spring is a great time to overhaul your budget and spending. Saving money and creating new routines will leave you feeling financially refreshed.

Take Advantage of Sales

Most people know that spring is a good time to stock up on winter clothing essentials. Stores are tossing out the old season to make room for warmer-weather items. But it may not cross your mind that the same thing happens with winter sports gear. So if you love icy seasonal activities, now is the time to buy ahead for next year.

Frozen foods are also a good deal in March.  “March is National Frozen Foods month,” says n DealNews.com spokesman Mark LoCastro. “It probably is a marketing ploy to draw attention to that industry, but grocery stores offer discounts on certain frozen foods, so you can stock up and keep it as long as you possibly can.”

Another item you want to grab in March is luggage. Newer styles are often released in May, in anticipation of summer vacation. That’s why companies start marking down their older inventory in the spring.

Put Your Gym Membership on Hold

If you have a gym membership, spring is the perfect time to put it on hold. Winter’s cold weather makes exercising outdoors much more difficult. The heat of summer does the same. Spring and fall give you the chance switch up your exercise routine to include more outdoor activities.

Walking around the neighborhood or local parks can replace your laps around the indoor gym. And if you find yourself missing the weight room, you can still get similar activity at home. We’ve recently written about ways to exercise without special equipment.

Seasonal activities, such as gardening, may also take up more of your extra time. Freezing your gym membership may be a good financial decision if you think you won’t be spending enough time there to make it worth the investment.

Purge and Sell

If you are expanding the energy to do some spring cleaning, take that an extra step and make money off of some of the items you would typically throw away. You might be surprised how much mad money you can make while simultaneously improving the look and feel of your home.

First, you’ll have to do some sorting through your old stuff. If organizing seems overwhelming, Becoming Minimalist offers 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home. These ideas were created for people who feel like they are “ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?”

Once you’ve determined what you want to get rid of, there are many options to choose from for selling. The warmer weather makes the traditional yard sale possible. But there are other, less labor-intensive ways to make a transaction. Furniture, clothes, electronics, and accessories can all be sold online. This article on 49 Ways to Turn Your Clutter Into the Most Cash gives an exhaustive list of the best online marketplaces and apps.

 

Another way to save money is by taking advantage of ILA’s weekly deals. Never miss a sale by signing up for our newsletter here.

 

Three Simple Ways to Eat Healthier

Most people have been told that eating healthier should be one of their goals. And skipping fast food by preparing meals at home is one of the easiest ways to do that. But unless cooking is your hobby, that just sounds like so much… work.

But since ILA wants to support you in your healthy habits, we’ve found some of the best tips on simplifying home-cooked meals. Check out these three suggestions to see what might work for you!

Pre-prepare Snacks, Meals, or Ingredients

Eat healthy snacks, they said. But when you are on the go, it’s a lot easier to grab a bag of chips than to cut and chop fruits and veggies. That’s why pre-preparing snacks is one of the best ways to stay healthy. When your groceries come in for the week, don’t just put away your whole produce. Plan to take the time to wash, cut and portion out servings you can grab on the go.

For example, make bags of carrots with a small sauce container of dressing. Or try sliced apples with nut butter. If you like granola or energy bites, make a batch at the beginning of the week, then divide it up into serving-size containers.

The same process can be applied to meal prep. If you work during the week and struggle to find time to put together a healthy dinner, then order groceries on the weekend and pre-prepare ingredients according to your meal plan. If you want to have salads for lunch, wash and chop your ingredients and put them in containers for the rest of the week. If you are going to use veggies as dinner ingredients, then clean them up and store them together by meal.

And you can’t beat the simplicity of batch-making freezer meals to pull out when you are short on time. On a day off, spend the afternoon creating multiples of the same main dish. There are many freezer meal recipes available online.

Don’t Buy Junk Food

Ouch. That sounds harsh. Or maybe overly simplistic. But the fact is, if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it. And I don’t mean “don’t buy junk food ever,” what I mean is “don’t buy junk food from the grocery store.”

Eating at home isn’t going to make you any healthier if the food you eat there is equivalent to what you would find at a fast food restaurant. Too many cookies, prepackaged snacks, frozen meals, or lunches of canned ravioli can be just as bad for you as a trip to McDonald’s.

Since most of us are going to eat out from time-to-time, and we are most likely going to be invited to parties and special events, try to save the junk food for special occasions. Instead of buying a cake from the grocery store and having a slice for dessert every night, find a healthier alternative for home and save the cake consumption for birthday parties.

If you go to an event or the movies, you’ll be a lot happier indulging in some concession counter snacks knowing that you don’t eat that way at home every day.

Keep Things Simple

A simple way to eat healthier is by keeping things…simple. I’m sure that sounds vague, so let me explain.

First, choose simple recipes. Unless you enjoy cooking like Martha Stewart, there’s no need to get elaborate. If you are short on time, you’re much more likely to be inspired to cook when the ingredient list and skill list required for a dish is short.

Homemade chili, baked chicken, and boiled eggs are all examples of simple recipes. If you can make a meal from five ingredients or less, then it’s considered pretty basic. You can actually google “five ingredient recipes.” There are a lot of other people out there sharing information on how to cook without spending all day on the preparation. Simple recipes save you time.

Simple ingredients also usually boost your nutrition value. If you’ve heard people talking about cooking with “whole foods,” they generally mean single ingredients that don’t have any additives. For example, onion powder would be a simple ingredient. A packet of flavor mix that has multiple unpronounceable ingredients and a few preservatives thrown in would not be a simple ingredient. Simple ingredients keep things healthier.

And one-pot-wonders are a way to simplify your preparation and clean up. One of the worst parts of cooking can be having to wash all of the dishes afterward. When you make slow cooker meals, besides the tools you may have used for preparing ingredients, all you have left to clean up is one dishwasher-safe crock. Once again, one-pot meals are easily searchable online if you need ideas. They range from crockpot to casserole dish.

Inspired to get busy in the kitchen? ILA has dozens of kitchen and cooking aids that you can check out here. There’s something to keep everyone active and independent.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash