Now that I am no longer living in a dorm, I have access to a large, walk-in closet where I can store all of my clothes, accessories, shoes, and other items. When I recently moved my items into a different closet, I found myself thinking a lot about organizing a walk-in closet with vision loss, and how I could effectively organize items so that they would be easier for me to find as a person with low vision- as helpful as it is to be able to use a visual assistance app to locate items, I feel a bit silly doing that when it’s easier for me to take the time to make sure my closet is well-organized from the start. Here are my tips for organizing a walk-in closet with vision loss in mind.
Keep categories of clothing together
Whenever possible, I try to combine entire categories of clothing in one centralized spot so that things are not scattered across the space. While some people prefer to organize by occasion, I find it easier to have all items of one category in one place- dresses on one rack, shirts on another, etc. This also helps if someone else has to grab something from my closet, as it makes items easier to locate.
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Make sure shelving and storage areas have defined segments
Instead of keeping items in a pile on shelves or in a place where they can tip over, it’s helpful to have defined segments/sections so that items do not spill into each other. One option is to use shelf dividers to help with organizing items, or to put items in clear bins.
Arrange items by color
Once items have been divided into categories, I like to arrange items by color because I like the way it looks and also because it helps me locate items more easily. I have a lot of different colors in my closet, so I arrange items by rainbow order, though others may prefer to group all of their gray shirts, blue pants, or black jackets in one place so that they can easily identify which color is which.
Organize tops by sleeve length/pants by length
When I organize tops and pants, I sort them by sleeve length or pants length. Within each color section in my closet, sleeveless items are organized in a group together, followed by short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and long sleeve items, and pants/skirts are organized by length as well.
Ensure there is adequate lighting
While organizing a walk-in closet with vision loss is important, one of the equally critical items to consider is adequate lighting inside of the closet. Some options for improving closet lighting include:
- Motion sensor lights
- Small LED lights that can be attached to the wall/ceiling
- Lighting strips
- Using higher-watt lightbulbs
- Pointing a phone flashlight at items
Use hanging storage whenever possible
It can be difficult for people with low vision to see items that are in storage bins, so it’s better to use hanging storage or shelf storage whenever possible so that all items are within view. Clear bins can be used to store seasonal items so that it’s easy to tell what is inside, but for people that rely heavily on touch to identify items, hanging storage is best.
Keep items off the floor
It’s no fun to trip over items that are on the closet floor, especially if those items are dirty laundry. Keep items off the floor as much as possible, and make sure the laundry bin is not easy to run into or trip over. I keep my shoes on a shelving unit outside of my closet since there is better lighting in my room and I’m less likely to trip over them.
Have a designated place for empty hangers
If I take an item off of the hanger, I hang it on top of a hook in the closet so that I can more easily hang up items when they are clean, and so hangers don’t clutter the hanging rods. This also makes it easier to take items off the hanging rod in general.
Other tips for organizing a walk-in closet with vision loss
- Consider a hanging organizer for organizing small items such as earrings, necklaces, ties, and belts
- Hanging shelving units are another option for storing sweaters, jeans, and other items that are usually folded
- When possible, use velvet/slim hangers that are easier to hang items on and that provide good contrast against clothes
- One option for storing scarves and lightweight blankets is to use an over the door towel rack and drape the items over the rods