Being Organized is a Matter of Survival for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Organization is a Matter of Survival

During September, as Healthy Vision and Aging month and Falls Prevention Day, may we continue to value the importance of considering the organizational needs of others in our lives. I’m sure that the older we get, the more we will value our filing systems!

maribel sorting handbags

Familiarity Breeds Contentment

“It’s incredible what you can do if you just learn to do it in a different way. It’s all about always knowing where things are.” Jessica Watts. The saying may warn that familiarity breeds contempt but let me assure you, any blind or visually impaired person will say, familiarity breeds contentment! The need to have our homes and work place with some sort of order is not the sign of a control freak or bossy-boots (although my family may place me in one of these categories), it is a matter of survival.

Everything in Its Place

When a person lacks the sense of sight, it is a natural characteristic for the blind person to keep their belongings in order because it minimises deep stress on a daily basis. As a visually impaired person, it not only helps to function calmly, knowing that nothing has moved from where I last put it, but it also gives me the confidence to maintain a strong sense of independence. Keeping my things organized is relatively simple for me to achieve, having my own “filing” system for dozens of items placed in their exact spot in every single room of our house. I really do mean exactly, to the very inch, my partner constructed a matrix in our kitchen which works a treat! What must it be like for my sighted family who have to learn my filing system? Not easy. Maybe annoying, but I say ‘character building’!

maribel in front of organizer

Being Methodical, Tidy and Organized Brings Reliability

I prefer to allow time when preparing to go out into the big wide world of unexpected obstacles. Calm order allows me to fully concentrate as I march with white cane in hand. I am forever touching things to remember them, sometimes annoyingly so: while in a queue, at an office supply, at a market stall, among fragile home-ware products and while standing idly at shop counters. Now it is my children that say, “Mum! Stop touching everything!” I feel like a child trying to understand a myriad of things all around me, and I find it amazing how gracefully my fingers can locate items without knocking them onto hard tiled floors.

People Are Not Perfect

Yet life is not always so predictable – and people are not perfect. Someone has forgotten to close a cupboard drawer, left a chair out from the table, parked their bike in the way on the veranda, left a glass of water on the piano, hidden the TV remote, shifted the back door key, moved the gas lighter or given the vegetable peeler a new place to reside — until I find it again.

“Have you seen my…?” This common phrase in our home amuses me. The visually-impaired “hand-police” is often patrolling the domestic precinct and comes across misplaced objects — mostly my partner’s. Yes, the “blind super-sleuth” will find your misplaced item, dearest. The shoes – glasses – keys – camera lens – laptop (a game usually played in haste on the way out of the door to a gig or before a weekend getaway).

maribel holding keys

House Guest, Welcome to My World

We live in a home that is also a recording studio. When musicians book in for a session, most of the living areas become taken up with drums, large bass guitars, violins, microphones galore and masses of leads strewn over the floor, connected to the recording booth. It can be a nightmare to navigate my own home when everything moves around so unpredictably. It is interesting to observe how we can change our patterns of behaviour when we really need to. Harry, my partner, takes a moment to tell his clients, “Please pick up your things and put them in the corner. My partner is blind and she could trip over your instruments.” Ah, I love it and smile. “Welcome to my world.”

Let’s Talk About Organization

As a visually impaired or blind person, please share your story of what being organized means to you. How do you keep your home organized? Do your friends and family members understand how important organization is to your life as a visually impaired person? What tips or suggestions do you have to keep things organized?

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