How does a blind home look like? I’ve been to a number of them, and there is very little common in them, at least for what I could see and can remember. Each home was and is different, reflecting the people living there. But some things are more important when you can’t see or can’t see well. And those may well be designed in a quite invisible to others way. Here some observations or thoughts – and if you have any good organization or cleaning tips for home, please share in the comments. Mane of the ideas work also for other kind of “issues” home, such as mobility or cognitive or neurological issues, small children or pets etc.
In some kind of order, not reflecting a universal priority between listed items though
Everything needs to have its place, logical to the people living there. If you take something from one place, put it back there after. Not in a different place, not just “around” the area, but back exactly where you took it from.
The reasons for keeping things in order should be pretty clear. If you can’t see something, you need to know where it is. When a “helpful” family member or visitor does some unwanted reorganizing or “declutters” something, guess what? Things will get lost. Even if you just moved something two feet away or put it somewhere where it doesn’t bother you visually, it’s lost. I can’t find my stuff. Never do that in my home. Also if I’m visiting someone’s place and you need to move my stuff, tell me. I don’t like lost things and having to ask people for help when they caused the problem by misplacing something.
Everything will be easier to find when it’s got its place. Tax things there, print books in that shelf, underwear in that drawer in that order, the clothes organized with a logic that makes sense to their owner. Maybe garments fitting together stored together for easier coordination, shoes always together in a place you can find them and so on. Kitchen cupboards, everything in the living area, bedroom, bathroom counters etc. Find a good place for everything; keep them there, clean, and in order.
Having less stuff helps by the way. Less searching for your purse when you have three purses and not eighty. Or finding what shirt is that when you can actually remember all the clothing you have and know where they are.
Clothes and other items may be easier to store in different kinds of ways than other people store theirs. If I were designing a way to keep my wardrobe in perfect order, I’d have some space for hanging dresses and other long items, but for everything else I would use something like IKEA expedit or kallax shelves. They are lovely, modular, with cubic or square shaped shelves on them. Easy to fit e.g. all your t-shirts of a specific color there, or especially if you want to sort out your or your child’s clothes to wear for the whole week, on those. Pick a 2×4 shelf, label the boxes so you know where Monday, Tuesday etc are, and sort your clean clothes there at the beginning of the week. If I remember correctly, I found that idea from an autistic friend who found that method work best for him. I would find that so time saving too. Figure out all clothes for your week at once and done. Some of the shelf ideas and storing things neatly may also work easier for some when the shelves aren’t in the usual orientation. If you can find some shelves that have 45 degree angle (so no straight horizontal lines but 45 degrees in up/down direction, in both left and right so your squares will have perfect 90 degrees, just tilted from the horizontal) that might make having neat piles easier. For some items.
In bathroom all the toiletries need a logical place too. I have too many bottles on the counter, but they are in logical order, and I’m using them so there should be over time less items around. In shower stall I use some super low tech solutions for marking items. As practical problems: my shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel are in identical bottles, and all have the same kind of peppermint scent too. What I do is put a thinner rubber band around the shampoo, and a really thick one around the conditioner. The shower gel has none. Problem solved – find if there is a rubber band and what kind it is so you can easiest figure what is in that bottle. Other methods that help: placing things in order of use or logic. So for instance always from the side of the entrance or door to shower: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel. This also works if you are in a hotel or visiting friends. Find out what is what before you head to the shower, and the other, if you always keep it constant for your use, will do the rest. For profumes I would love to have a narrow display shelf where I could put them all (nearly a hundred, mostly smaller bottles) so they would be out of the way and on a nice display case. Nail polishes would probably look similarly good if there was a display case and a logical wall for putting it on.
In this category, don’t move the furniture or redecorate anyone’s place without permission. I don’t like discovering my bookshelves have moved, and my cat doesn’t like to run into things that weren’t on his running path before. Oh, and keep the doors open (unless they were closed, in which case keep those doors closed. And never leave doors half open)
Cleaning is easiest with a schedule
When I was small, my mum liked to do all the cleaning on Fridays, except maybe laundry, which was done whenever it needed to be done. Many autistic people I know swear by visual schedules. You could do a visual or tactile schedule, but find what works for you, and adjust it until you get it right. Using a digital calendar works too, if it’s easier. I would for instance add on mine, cleaning floors on Monday or Tuesday and then Thursday, washing floors on Thursday. Also add items that need to be done daily in your house, like wipe kitchen and bathroom counter surfaces clean. If you live with others, find how to rotate shifts and who should do what, and how to tell if it’s done well or not.
I did notice that cleaning especially floors wasn’t my forte when living with other students. I didn’t see the same amount of detail no matter what kind of glasses I wore. Instead of being helpful and telling that you missed this and that or are doing this or that wrong and could be doing it better this or that way, of course the female students I lived with always chose to give the nasty attitude about it. Maybe… well, if you are a student and your housemate struggles with some specific cleaning tasks, help figure out what the problem is first? And then help find a fix. Bottom line with cleaning the floors is that if you can’t see it, it’s a bit hard to see if it’s done right or wrong or is all splotchy. I can tell it’s dirty from the foot feel of it. So. Maybe if I now were sharing house cleaning tasks, I could clean other items, someone else could do the floors for me. Swap tasks. Or just try and try, and get actual feedback, and keep on trying until you get it all working satisfactorily.
What would my ideal house look like? I’ve always wondered this. It has never been a case of having a specific number of rooms, or looking at lists to pick items that are needed. Home is something more philosophical. In most places, including all the places I’ve lived with my parents, didn’t really feel like home. Home is where you can be you, feel safe, don’t have to wear the masks you wear for the outside world. Where you feel good, like yourself, where your family and pets are also equally home.
The closest to trying to pick what the home would be has been some ideas and feeling in peace and harmony in some places. “I would love to live on this island/this village”. Usually far from where work options I was looking for or had were. Or for kitchen, instead of specific amount of space, have a view and access to a lemon tree would be lovely. I sort of can get that in my apartment: there is a balcony, so you can always have a lemon tree growing on a plant pot. I would love my kitchen counters to be close to white or black, and the walls on contrasting colors. Light, dark, and some bright colors to highlight and be a theme color. I’ve never been to a kitchen like that as far as I know.
I would love my bedroom to be “night sky colored”. So deep dark blackish blueish color, for walls and ceiling. With curtains I can use to black out all light sources at night. Then add light colored features on the details, like floor, bed clothes etc.
I have floors that aren’t a single color. Hotel floor colors, or carpets that have patterns or more than one color are painful. Can’t find anything on the ground with those. I would also love if there was always a big contrast between the wall and floor colors. Light brown and light brown isn’t good enough, and certainly aren’t happy colors. I love using some bolder and happier colors – something that isn’t viable for a rental place where the wall colors are always supposed to be “rental place beigeish gray”. If I had my own own place, the walls would be of the colors of midnight, lemon, tree leaves in spring time, pacific oceans and so on, with some that are just black or cream white.