Guest post: Jackie Waters – bedroom organization for people who are blind or visually impaired
Do you have questions about organizing and decorating a bedroom in your home for a visually impaired occupant? Are you new to the process?
It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. Many men and women have faced the challenge of preparing their home for an individual with little or no vision. As long as you conduct a fair amount of research, take your time, and add creativity to the mix, you’ll have a safe and organized bedroom ready to go.
Here are five tips and tricks that will help you along the way.
- Think About Color, Texture, and Contrast
Unfortunately, there is no secret that unlocks the door to a perfect bedroom for an occupant who is visually impaired. It takes time, thought, and effort to develop a system that works. Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your new roommate. What would you need in order to get through the day? What bedroom habits would you want to have?
It often helps to think in terms of color, texture, and contrast. Someone with low visibility may still be able to use contrasting colors to dress themselves, navigate their bedroom, or find a useful object (such as a remote control to lights, speakers, or an air conditioning unit). On the other hand, someone who is completely blind may prefer to navigate using texture alone. VisionAware offers some great ways to handle lighting and bedroom modifications on its website.
- Organization is Key
It is absolutely vital for people with a visual impairment to live in an organized space. This is how they learn to function without aid. You will need to develop a system of organization in the occupant’s new bedroom. If he or she is old enough, you may want to take the time to ask what he or she prefers. There is a possibility that a familiar sorting system already exists that you can employ. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has some useful tips to consider if you need additional assistance.
- Make Braille Labels Easily Accessible
No matter how consistently you take advantage of color, texture, and lighting, some objects in the bedroom will need to be explicitly labeled. For this reason, you might want to invest in a labelmaker that you can use as items are added to the room. After all, the occupant of the bedroom will inevitably want to add his or her own touch.
Some labels will likely need to be placed in the closet. This is, perhaps, the most important organizational space in the bedroom. The Center for the Visually Impaired published an article in 2014 that offers unique advice for customizing the closet of a visually impaired family member.
- Avoid Sharp Objects
This may seem like common sense, but many individuals who live with a roommate who is visually impaired forget that sharp objects should not be left in the open – especially in his or her bedroom space. Do not place scissors on a desk unless a case is being used. Do not leave knives or nails on the floor during or after renovation. If sharp objects are required, there are often safe alternatives that will cut material without cutting skin.
- Keep It Simple and Reliable
As you go through the process of preparing a bedroom, you might be tempted to over-decorate or create a complex system of organization. You should avoid unnecessary clutter whenever possible. You should also avoid an organizational system that your roommate may not be able to remember or clearly follow. Again, close your eyes and put yourself in his or her shoes. What would you need?
Without guidance, developing and organizing a private space for an individual with a visual impairment can be difficult – but it isn’t impossible. Take your time and ask the right questions. You’ll be pleased with the result, as will your new roommate.
Author: Jackie Waters – Jackie Waters is a mom of four from Oregon. If you’ve enjoyed this post, you can read more about bedroom organization and other steps to remove clutter from your life on http://hyper-tidy.com/.