Bridges Resource Library

Organizing Your Kitchen

Updated as of January 28, 2024.

Why It Matters

Even those of us who aren’t fans of cooking or have little exposure to how to cook nonvisually find keeping an organized kitchen useful. It helps us feel more confident in terms of preparing basic meals independently. We can organize our kitchens with various labels and/or strategic shelving which enables us to quickly locate any item without any hesitation.

Whether you have goals of preparing quick meals or becoming a full-fledged chef, keeping an organized, easy-to-navigate kitchen is key to whatever cooking activity you want to accomplish.

Methods for Labeling

Labeling items in Braille or with technology that provides audio feedback can help you quickly identify items in your kitchen. There are many ways to do this – please feel free to experiment and decide which method works best for you or use a combination of these methods:

Braille labels

Create braille labels at home using basic adhesive labels or Dymo Tape, and a slate and stylus or braillewriter. Braille labeling is particularly useful for items that will last a long time, such as spice containers.

Electronic labeling systems

Please check out the Bridges Resource Library’s Electronic Labeling Systems entry for more information about these devices, including the Reizen Talking Label Wand, the PENfriend 3 Voice Labeling System, the VOXCOM III 100 Voice Labeling System, and the WayAround Labeling Systems.

Other Ways to Identify Items

Labeling is a fantastic way to keep your kitchen organized, but it can take time, and, depending on the labels used, there can be cost involved. Here are some other ways to maintain organization even when time and money are limited.

Strategic item placement

Establishing a system where you plan to store certain items in specific places can be a helpful way to identify items without necessarily having to label them. Perhaps you keep your favorite cereal all the way on the left-hand side of the cupboard, or maybe you keep canned soups on the bottom shelf and all other cans on the upper shelf. Or perhaps you keep the pepperoni frozen pizza above the veggie frozen pizza so that you always know which one you want to grab depending on your preference.

Tactile indicators

Placing a tactile indicator quickly on an item can be a fast and easy way to ensure you will be able to identify it.

Do you want to make sure you eat the frozen green beans instead of the frozen veggies? You could place a snack bag clip on one of the bags to instantly tell them apart.

Do you want to have the broccoli cheddar soup instead of the loaded potato? You can place a rubber band around one can to tell them apart.

You could even put a small notch in the lid of a spice container using a knife to serve as a tactile indicator. For example, you could put a notch in the salt lid so you can tell it apart from the pepper by feel.

Remember to make a very small notch or blemish which would be tactile, but not such a strong tactile mark that the lid would then be open.

Get creative

Think of ways to organize your kitchen that will be both memorable and workable for you. Remember that you are the one who needs to access the food items, so making a system that works for you is key. The Bridges Helpdesk is here to help you brainstorm ideas to ensure that your kitchen is exactly how you want it to be regardless of the task at hand.

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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