How To Manage Your Own Stuff – A Short Video

Whatever sight loss you are dealing with it’s a big shock. It leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Storing and retrieving your own stuff (clothes, toiletries, and medications) can make you feel better. This usually means storing different items in separate bins, baskets and totes as well as drawers. You could call this technique “storing with sides and it can make a big difference.

A closet rail is another great way to organize shirts, sweaters and more. You can look and touch a shirt and it’s still in place afterwards. A sturdy mug and some small bins each holding a type of item make finding your socks, toothpaste or tablets much easier.

Elastic bands are useful to tell the shampoo from the body wash and the Vitamin C from a medication which will need better labeling: Link to Does Your Pill Bottle Talk).

People who see well often pop things back into any little spacethey see, but that isn’t efficient for you. Another video in the New Year will describe managing for yourself in the kitchen.

Here is a section from my book: When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery, Chapter 2, Back at Home.


When you see well, you find what you need almost entirely by sight. You organize in rows and in piles that you can scan in a moment, then you check details on labels. You also leave things out in plain view—plain view if you can see! But that system doesn’t work with reduced vision. As you feel ready, you can shift towards locating things by color contrast, use of containers, and exact placement.

You will find the toothpaste more easily if it’s highlighted in a sturdy, boldly colored mug and kept in a certain spot. As far as possible, reduce what’s kept out on counters and bureaus. Even in a substantial red mug, the toothpaste can be hard to locate if it’s hidden behind jars and bottles. This will affect the people you live with, and it can be hard to ask for changes when you still want to believe your eyes. Family habits can be hard to shift.

Before you lose vision, being organized is a choice; afterwards, it’s a necessity. Depending on how much sight you still have, you may have to join the ranks of the neatniks! When you have mislaid your phone or your eye glasses and can’t spot them at a glance, you may feel panicky. Asking for help is natural at first. But it’s not wise to let this continue as the go-to method. Put your own stuff away yourself so you can find it.

Organize your day-to-day needs into containers—drawers, bins, baskets, and bowls—anything with sides. It is important for you to make the decision about where each item is stored. You may need assistance the first time with reading print on toiletries, pills, etc., but you position each item where you want to find it. If you stow it, you can retrieve it and avoid a lot of distressful searching.

It is a good idea to limit the personal items you are dealing with for now and put extra stuff in bags, boxes, or on a high shelf while you work on a new system. It may be hard to believe this is necessary—you don’t want to turn the bedroom into tool storage. But with practice you will get skillful at using the vision you have and improve on this first go-round. If your vision is reduced to shadows, you may want to extend the container idea. If you still have some good vision, you may only need to secure small items—your phone and other nighttime needs—in a spot where they can’t drop or slide.

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