A Home that Works for Everyone: Tip 3 of 4: Containerizing Your Life

4 Containers - jar of markers and scissors, pair of shoes in a shoe-box, a toilet tote with a handle, and a bin of tolled-up T-shirts
4 Containers – jar of markers and scissors, pair of shoes in a shoe-box, a toilet tote with a handle, and a bin of tolled-up T-shirts


My New Year’s resolution!

I am the organization geek, the put-it-away monster and memory bank of where everything is stored – except for the glasses that I wear all the time. At least once a week I rush about searching for them early in the morning, calling out for help from my long-suffering husband. The evening before, I probably took them off quite unconsciously and put them any-old-where – on the arm of my chair, on the ottoman, on the kitchen table. My New Year’s Resolution? Get out of my comfy chair and place them in their bedtime “container” – the top shelf of my nightstand.

Disorganization – a lost and gone option

Leaving things on the couch, the floor or just around somewhere can feel homey and personal, but it’s not efficient, and it just doesn’t work with vision loss. It’s stressful to be searching the apartment, or the whole house for glasses, the keys or your cell phone as the clock ticks down. People who see well and live by themselves can be disorganized, but in a household of folks with mixed abilities – kids and adults, seeing and visually impaired, or three generations together – organizing the home is a necessity. Without a place for everything, time-wasting, dependence and mutual irritation are inevitable.

Visual organization in rows: tactile organization in containers

Anyone with reduced sight will find using containers (anything with rigid sides) is the method of storage that works best. People who see well mostly organize things in piles – clothes and the mail, for example – or line them up in rows. When you don’t see so much, neither of these methods works well by itself. It’s hard to pick out a favorite shirt from a pile where only the edge is showing, and the rows of DVDs or cans of soup with unreadable labels may only put you back on the roller-coaster of grief and resentment.


Containers become your new best friends

You can containerize almost every category of kitchen and personal item:

  • cans of soup in one shallow bin or box in your cabinet, and canned tomatoes or tuna in other bins
  • jars of jelly in a bin in the refrigerator
  • favorite herbs in a little bin on your kitchen counter
  • meats, fish, vegetables in different containers in the freezer
  • night-time meds in a basket or drawer in the nightstand
  • T-shirts in one bin in your dresser, long-sleeved shirts in another
  • markers (if you can use them) and scissors in a jar on your desk
  • keys in a bowl on the hall stand

Start small – just a few bins can make a big difference

If you have a dollar store or household supplies store nearby, you may find a selection without going further or spending much. Or start with cardboard boxes you have on hand. Here are 3 examples of bins and baskets available on line:

Shoeunder – a shoe tidy keeping pairs together under the bed.

6 colored small bins – in a choice of 4 colors. It may be useful to choose a color that contrasts with your kitchen counter or desk.

Storage tote – It’s transparent but you could mark it with bright tape. It has a handle, so you can move your shower stuff in and out of the tub without mislaying the toothpaste

So where are your glasses, keys and cell now?

When you have a bowl on your bureau, a few boxes or bins on your kitchen counter and in your drawers, you will be ready to move on to the next stage – actually putting everything back where it belongs, first for yourself and then in the kitchen! You have to train yourself first, and then start work on your family or roommates. Meantime I’ll let you know how my New Year’s resolution is going!

What are your tips for organizing your stuff and the family’s? Share your hard-won know-how with the rest of us! Post a comment in the Comment Box below. 

4 thoughts on “A Home that Works for Everyone: Tip 3 of 4: Containerizing Your Life

    1. Don’t you just love those desktop drawer-sets. Thanks for mentioning this – they are the best!

  1. Its not just unsighted people who loose their glasses – I regularly go round the house trying to find mine – usually as you say put down unconsciously the night before

    1. Yes, but with sight you can scan the room for your glasses . Unsighted people, or people like me with a little sight Have to be organized: people with good sight can choose!

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