Keeping print documents organized can be a challenge for the blind and visually impaired. Having a system in place and sticking to it is the key to developing daily living skills for visually impaired. There is no single, one size fits all, solution that will work for everyone. Here is a system and a few methods that you may find helpful.
Regardless of the method you choose, maintaining digital copies of print documents is a critical first step. This can be accomplished with a traditional scanner or you’re utilizing an apps for blind people on your phone or tablet. Scanned documents should be organized in folders with each document given its proper name. This process serves two purposes: it creates a backup copy in case of loss or damage to the originals and it makes documents easier to find, search and organize.
These digital copies can be stored in online file storage services. Some of the more popular options include Dropbox, iCloud Drive, One Drive, and Google Drive. Explore these options and decide which option best serves your needs. An important benefit of all of these services is that your digital backups will be accessible on your phone, tablet and computer. Outlook Enrichment’s adaptive technology trainers can show you how to effectively use these programs and develop daily living skills for visually impaired individuals.
The next step requires creating a system to organize and store the actual print documents. This may include tax documents, insurance policies, birth certificates and the like. Depending on your level of vision, large print or braille might work best for you.
For large print and braille, using manila envelopes for each individual document can be very useful. Each manila envelope can then be labeled. A sharpie can then be used to write in large letters the name of the document and any other relevant info. Similarly, whether you use a braille labeler or stickers, they can be attached to the outside of the envelope.
The next step is to group documents and store them in an easily accessible way. Documents can be grouped into financial, medical, taxes and other categories. Each category can then be placed in its own file storage bin or file folder. Then, each bin or folder can be labeled with large print or braille. This allows you to quickly find the category you are looking for and subsequently find the document.
Depending on your organizational preference, the documents should be organized in a defined manner. This can be done by date, alphabet or whichever method works best for you. For example, for tax documents, you could separate them by year. Create a section for 2019, 2020, 2021, and so on. File separators and tabs can be used for this purpose. The more granular you are in the organization process, the better the system will work.
Once you have a system in place, the important thing is to maintain it. We all have to become file clerks in some ways. It is tempting to just let the documents pile up. However, letting it go for too long will become overwhelming and lead to disorganization. Consider it a part of the housekeeping. Set aside sometime on weekends or in the evenings. Once you have a system in place that works for you, it’s just a matter of maintaining it. This will make your life less stressful, especially when you need information or a document in a hurry. It is okay to put it off sometimes, but try to not let the pile get too high. Lastly, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to fine tune the process so that it works best for you.
Organizing your print documents is just one part of staying on top of things. From house cleaning to labeling household items, Outlook Enrichment’s virtual and in-person events can help you to become more organized while helping you to develop living skills for visually impaired to ensure you are successful in your day to day life.