Make the Heart of Your Home Easier to Use
The kitchen is the heart of your home. It is increasingly being used for multiple purposes. It’s where family and visitors gather to prepare meals, have conversations, and build memories. As our lives become more casual, the kitchen becomes more important. It is the central meeting area for the family. By following some simple rules of accessibility you can make your kitchen one that is more comfortable and easy to use for everyone. Universal Design principles will reduce fatigue and allow for safer and more efficient use of your kitchen.
To start, the layout should be one that allows for flow through the three major areas of use: the refrigerator, the sink and the cooking area (stove, oven or microwave)... Read the rest
I have many pleasant memories of camping with my family – the beach, hiking, fishing and eating around the campfire. Everyone would dutifully unload the car upon our return, but then everyone would disappear. Somehow, it always fell upon mom to clean the camping supplies and put them away. I remember trying to put everything back where it came from, but somehow, it wouldn’t fit on the same garage shelves. How was this possible? Wasn’t it there before? Well, yes and no. We always seemed to buy new camp gear during each trip although we kept all the old gear for back-up... Read the rest
We all want our homes to be warm and welcoming. We want our friends and relatives to be able to visit and have access to everything they need but what if your friend is in a wheelchair or uses a walker? Would the person be able to visit your home? Would he or she be able to enter the home, have access to the main floor and visit the bathroom? These are all important questions and sometimes we honestly have to respond, “No.” In the field of home accessibility, this is called visitability. Although it usually refers to indoor features, it can also refer to outside qualities of your home, too... Read the rest
It dawned on me when I started moving the last time. I was in my kitchen and packed three full boxes of coffee cups. What? How was this possible? Where did they all come from? I started examining them. It all started with a cute matching pair of cups that I bought for me and my husband as newlyweds forty years ago. They had roadrunners on them (we lived in Tucson, Arizona at the time). They were beautiful – with muted desert colors and cactus. Since that first pair of cups, I had moved to six states, had three children and many different jobs... Read the rest
The American garage is a catch-all repository of junk. It is the storage spillover area of the home. When the house can no longer contain them, it’s all there – rejected furniture, used appliances, defunct electronics, toys, and boxes of old clothes. This is in addition to the usual items stored there: tools, lawn equipment, automotive items, camping gear, sports equipment and sometimes recycling. Trying to get everything to fit and stay neat is a challenge.
Accessibility for your garage begins with being able to get into it easily. Most modern garage doors have automatic openers, these are equipped with electronic sensors to prevent the door from closing on people or objects... Read the rest
I admit it. I was a reusable bag junkie. It started when I was a sustainability officer for a large company. Reusable bags were better for the environment. Using them made me feel better about myself. So, I started collecting them. There were only a few at first. They came from grocery stores, department stores, fairs, festivals, business meetings, and volunteer groups. Everyone wanted to have their company name and logo on a bag and I gladly supported them by taking their bags. Too many bags. Pretty soon, my back seat floorboard was full and overflowing onto the seat. It was a problem for people riding in my car... Read the rest
A good Move Manager has to be able to adapt to challenging circumstances quickly. One recent move really put this to the test. The client was moving from a large house into an assisted living community. Six people were on the packing team. It was going to be a long, involved move. A family member was supposed to be helping, but he had opted out when he saw the complexity of the project. Unfortunately, the client had a mild heart attack the day before the move. He was going to be the point person to interface with the move team, but now he was in the hospital... Read the rest
One of the most important aspects to home safety is the ability of first responders to find your home during an emergency. The house or apartment number must be visible both day and night. If a person is in a medical crisis or there is a fire or a break-in, you don’t want emergency personnel confused by a lack of house numbers. Go to the street in front of your home. Are your house numbers located in plain sight? Are they covered by plants? Have they faded over the years? Are numbers missing?
For ease of visibility, make sure that the numbers are large enough and contrast with the background... Read the rest
Color coding is one of our favorite strategies for simplifying moves. We love using color so much that we use this strategy on every move we organize (that’s a lot of stickies!). Let’s face it, moving everything you own is no small feat, especially if you are moving into a smaller space. Most often there are items that need to go to multiple destinations (such as your new home, a storeroom, the homes of family members, consignment shops and donation collection spots), as well as items that still need to be sorted and things that someone else needs to look at... Read the rest