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Day 16: Medicine Cabinet
The term medicine cabinet, at least in the bathroom, is a misnomer. A bathroom is actually one of the worst places to store medication, as heat and moisture can be an enemy to pills, vitamins, and over-the-counter products. Instead, choose a cabinet in another area of your home: preferably a dry, temperature-controlled, kid-proof pantry shelf or separate cupboard.
As always, paring down the items to what you truly need helps. Always check expiration dates and never buy more than you will use in that time—even with a coupon.
Remove all expired pills and potions, but be careful about simply throwing these items away or flushing them down the toilet! Expired and unused medications and vitamins can contaminate the local water supply and poison the land. Most communities offer civic days where medicines can dropped off at a centralized repository. Many hospitals and pharmacies will also accept your expired medications. You can also try senior centers or water municipalities in your area. It might take a little online research and a couple phone calls, but it’s definitely worth the extra legwork.
Place items you use daily, such as vitamins and prescriptions, toward the front of the cabinet for easy access. Rarely or occasionally used items should be placed toward the back. Be sure all labels are facing forward so you don’t have to go digging next time your poor kid gets the flu. Consider using a tiered cabinet organizer or plastic bins to help keep all those bottles easier to access.
Overflow items and long-lasting items that you have stocked up on can be sorted into labeled bags and housed in stackable bins on the lower shelves and toward the back of your medicine cabinet.
Having a well-organized medicine cabinet can not only be a timesaver, but it’s a money-saver too, as you can very quickly assess what you have on hand and the status of each item when you make your shopping lists.
Objective: An organized and easily accessible medicine cabinet.
Assess the current situation: What items are used most frequently? What items are used only once in a while? Is your medicine cabinet dry and free from moisture? Are you utilizing storage space efficiently?
1. Remove and put away any items that belong in other rooms. If necessary, use a basket to collect items, then distribute them to their proper homes.
2. Sort and declutter. Remove the items from your medicine cabinet and assess each one.
Keep only items that:
- Are used by your family, both regularly and on occasion
- Are unexpired
- Do the trick
Do not keep items that:
- Are expired, leaking or in broken containers
- You no longer use or didn’t fit your needs
- Need to be replaced
- Are over six months old
3. Clean. Wipe out the inside of your medicine cabinet and line the shelves with pretty paper.
4. Return items to cabinet. Organize like-items by shelf (daily vitamins, kids’ medications, prescriptions, flu/cold relief, etc.). Put frequently used items at eye-level for easy access. Be sure your cabinet is kid-proof, especially if you have little ones.
5. Dispose. Bag and drop off expired and unused medications at a local drop-off point.
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