I have recently made some adjustments to my home to accommodate my wheelchair use better. I have already described how a son helped me access my back patio by making me an unattached platform to work with a suitcase ramp.
While sipping an iced beverage on the patio, I began planning my next steps in the kitchen and bathroom. My sister added a few ideas. My daughter shared dollar store storage idea videos, helped brainstorm options at a dollar store and at a Container Store, and helped with the kitchen ideas. Some ideas work easier with help. Here are the free changes I, with help, made to make my home more wheelchair usable.
- Rearrange furniture for accessible paths and to access outlets, wall switches, and furniture.
- Make a wheelchair space at the dining table.
- If a wall switch is connected to a specific outlet, use that outlet for a lamp or other electronic device of choice. In one room the lamp is in a hard to reach corner. The lamp is now controlled by a wall switch. Bonus tip: the lamp is plugged into a power strip where I also plug in my Christmas tree lights. The power strip is also a good laptop/phone charging spot.
- Lower the bathroom vanity mirror(s). My mirrors are large and framed and were hung perfectly for standing use but too high for wheelchair use. I had a son lower the wall hooks to where the frame was about a pencil width above the sink backsplash.
- A son removed the cabinet doors from my kitchen island. We stored the doors and hinges in case we need to replace them later. These doors made accessing the island storage awkward for me.
- Next, I weeded out no longer used, hard to use, rarely used, and duplicate kitchen items. My daughter’s apartment benefited from this activity. The goal was to make space in my reach for daily use items.
- The cookie sheets were already kept in the oven. I moved the baking pans to the drawer below the oven.
- My daughter then moved the daily use plates, bowls, and my water bottles and coffee mugs to one of the island’s pull out shelves.
- I moved the pot lids which I had kept in a skinny lower cabinet by the stove to be on the matching pots in a corner lazy susan cabinet. This made room for all of the measuring cups and bowls on another pull out shelf.
- My daughter helped rearrange the pantry for easier access to my snacks and favorite use items. I plan to later add pull out sliding bins to the lowest shelf.
- Put counter items in reach. I don’t have long arms. Items at the back of a counter or worse, in deep counter corners are beyond my reach. My daughter calls our deep corner “where onions and potatoes go to die”. Bread, potatoes, onions, and fruit are now on the center of the island. The coffee/tea center is arranged where I can pull forward the coffee maker and have my tea bags and coffee pods in old sugar bowls within reach.
- Rearrange refrigerator door shelves. I have a french door style fridge. One refrigerator section’s door bottom shelf now holds my creamer and the butter. The butter shelf used to be on top. There is still space for two tall beverage shelves. One of these is still in my reach.
These can all be done for free if you are able to use items you already own. The island top bread, onion, potato, fruit storage started out in owned storage. I then became attached to an idea from the storage idea videos. Unable to purchase the parts, I then found a tiered wire basket option at TJMaxx in my budget.
Next up, I will go into some gadget, tool, and general items I found make daily tasks easier.