How to Put Your Hand on What You Need – A Short Video

Anchoring important items including charging cords, phone, eye glasses, clothes and more means you put your hand right on what you need. It pairs with another Video How to Manage your Own Stuff posted in December about storing in baskets and drawers.

Put the two together and you have  your hand on what you need when you need it!

Here’s  an excerpt 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.

2 thoughts on “How to Put Your Hand on What You Need – A Short Video

  1. I have lost the central vision of my first infected eye but have had 20/20 vision in the other infected eye for several of those years. Just in the last half year I’ve lost a few letters on the chart and feel that I may be seeing the beginning of the serious degeneration of my “good” eye. There has been talk that I might be helped by having my cataracts removed, but we’ll see.

    In the meantime I will read your book and follow your blog. I have no real preparation of things to help me and I want to work on that part of the adjustment well before I have less vision. I’m hoping my son and his 14 yr old daughter will help me on the whole computer side. I use a simple magnifier occasionally as I read, that’s all I need. But I want to understand what I will need so I know your book will be helpful.

    1. I am so sorry that you are having to deal with vision loss. It’s great that you are forward-thinking. I hope my book will be helpful even though you still have pretty good reading vision. You may want to stick with the sections that seem relevant now.
      I hope that you are getting the very best ophthalmologists for treatment and advice, including a second opinion and even a third to make sure you know all the treatments and possibilities. I do think this is important so you can be certain you followed up on every lead. I expect you are reading up on Macular Degeneration yourself.
      If your health is good and you can muster the chutzpah at this time, you might want to ask about volunteering at one of the agencies around the Boston area. (Massachusetts is possibly the best state for services after vision loss.) This will mean you can meet people in the field of vision loss and ask questions. (With luck the agencies will be fully open in the fall.) At some point you might want a low vision evaluation for more magnification, a “safe home” visit, and maybe learning to use text-to-speech. If you can take baby steps into the world of vision loss and gradually get more comfortable then if you do have adjustments to make you will have contacts and a knowledge of next steps.
      Reaching out and learning about all the ways to manage your life after vision loss will be another forward-thinking move. All good wishes, Hannah

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