by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern
Cleaning as an activity is, for most people, a necessary evil. It can be especially challenging, and even frustrating, for those with visual impairments, yet is all the more essential. For people who are blind or have low vision, clutter acts not just as an organizational inconvenience, but can also be a navigational hazard. In addition, unseen dust and mold can cause adverse health effects over time. Therefore, as we’re in the midst of the season, here are some tips to make your spring cleaning less frustrating and more effective. Starting with simpler tasks, cleaning windows and mirrors, follow a defined grid pattern. An example of this would be starting at the top-left corner, moving your hand to the right side, down a bit, and back to the left side, going back and forth like this until reaching a bottom corner. This ensures that you cover the entire surface and don’t have to wonder about where you’ve been. Cleaning floors can be handled similarly. First remove all small objects and light furniture, and then use the perimeter of the room as a reference, moving back and forth from wall-to-wall while cleaning. This also provides an opportunity to declutter the space and dispose of any small objects you come across that aren’t needed. While generally you’ll want to use gloves when handling soaps and cleaning solutions, it’s advisable to remove the gloves when cleaning areas that might be difficult to see, yet easy to feel, such as baseboards and light fixtures. A final tip is to have a friend help you go through your winter clothes before packing them away to determine if they’ve accumulated any rips or stains. You can also use services like Be My Eyes or Aira for this purpose. For more tips, and ways to make your own cleaning solutions, refer to this article from VisionAware on Spring Cleaning with Low Vision, as well as this one from Outlook Enrichment offering Spring Cleaning Tips for the Visually Impaired.