How to Organize the Chaos of Moving House when You are Visually Impaired

Man packing Boxes
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Did you know that according to research, people find moving to a new home as stressful as breaking up a relationship? A high percentage of people surveyed said it was their most stressful life event. Well, try doing it with a visual impairment!

The real problem, especially for those of us with low vision, is that during the packing up phase of moving to a new home, everything shifts from its normal position.

We have to deal with navigating around many more obstacles than usual with random boxes taking up floor space.

Our safe haven becomes a potential hazard for disaster. It is easy to get disorientated as furniture moves around and, before long, our predictable home is totally out of order.

But here is the good news.

Being visually-impaired also means you most probably have developed many skills that aid you in keeping chaos to a minimum.

Here are a few techniques I am currently using as we move house after 21 years.

Moving TIP 1: De-clutter Like a Ninja!

When you get your moving date, the best strategy is to lighten up – let go of things you don’t need to take with you. Eliminating items you don’t need any more from drawers, cupboards and off shelves gives a precious cleared space to put those other belongings you do want to pack in an area that is still out of your way.

Think carefully where to begin to achieve maximum shelf space.

For instance, I cleared out the top 2 shelves of our linen cupboard, producing  a wonderful large new cavity to take small boxes of packed personal things, keeping them together and off the floor.

It takes a lot more time to sort when you are not fully sighted, so be realistic about time and get into the mood to de-clutter as soon as you can.

Believe me, leaving anything to the last minute invites stress.

Scheduling in time every day allows for cruising around your home with your hands rather than your eyes to gather up items that have strayed out of place. By doing a preliminary sorting and grouping things together in a mindful way, makes more sense when packing things together.

Moving TIP 2: Care for Your Feet

More than ever, for a visually-impaired person, it is important to wear closed footwear  when shifting things around. It’s easy to begin packing with a burst of energy and forget about your feet.

By keeping a pair of ’packing shoes’ handy, you will avoid hurting your toes as the risk of jamming them into a door-frame or colliding with hard-edged furniture is more likely at this time.

Wearing socks is not enough to protect your feet properly in times of an accidental breakage. Be foot-smart and you will sail safely across any floor surface.

I also tidy up the mess on tables so I have a clear surface to work with, especially outdoors on a table using maximum sunlight.

It takes more trips in and out of the house but allowing more time means less stress.

Moving TIP 3: Pack Boxes Like a Babushka Doll

Packing a box when you can’t see means you rely on your sense of touch much more than a sighted person does. This is when collecting a variety of different-sized and textured boxes helps to sort items into categories.

For example, I use shoe boxes and other colorful cardboard boxes with lids (available from a $2 shop) to sort CDs, DVDs, batteries and chargers, or jewelry, etc., to keep everything in one place. Then I place the smaller box inside a larger packing box like a Babushka doll. 

Moving TIP 4: Coordinate the Chaos

In order to stay safe while also creating a mess as you shift and sort, it really helps to designate a section of a room, like a corner behind a lounge and by a wall, which is nicely tucked away from the usual path you take to navigate around your home.

Once a box is sorted, stack and pack in this spot but don’t pile the boxes too high. Each room can have a corner like this. As you sort through and label, it will be easier to know which room they belong in for the next house.

It is also a good idea to distinguish what you are keeping with what you are giving away so that a sighted person keen to help is clear about your method too.

Use trash bags for clothes you want to donate to charity and store your own clothes in a suitcase or on hangers in a cupboard until moving day.

By organizing personal things in clearly different textured bags and boxes, in specific areas of your home, you retain a sense of control and help sighted family know exactly where each container is meant to go next.

During our move, I am placing sorted items that are going to charity on our front porch. Not only are the bags well away from the boxes we wish to keep but my sighted partner is reminded each time he goes out the front door that there is another easy load to pop into the car!

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