Day Eleven: 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge – Medicine Cabinets

Today I wanted to share some tips about maintaining medication in your medicine cabinets.  In my experience the level of medicines each household requires differs.  We tend to be more minimalist in our household.  Age and amount of family members will alter what is necessary to have on hand.

I feel it is important to have the basics stocked.  First Aid bandages, ointments and supplies are must in every household.  It is good to have pain reliever, fever reducer, allergy medicines (if needed) and cough suppressants for the common colds.  Current prescriptions are also important.  I also like to keep extra supplies of toothbrushes, toothpaste, Q-tips, cotton swabs etc.  Vitamins are good to have on hand if your family uses them.

What I often find when cleaning out medicine cabinets is a lot of expired medication and old prescriptions.  In addition, I find multiples of the same items.  Most of the time varying in expiration dates.

We all end up buying a duplicate traveling once and a while.  It is also easy to forget what you might have on hand if it is not organized or buried in a deep closet.  It is important to cleanout your medicines at least one to two times a year.

I also recommend grouping them by type in containers in a linen closet, bathroom shelf/drawer or kitchen cabinet.  Categories could include:  Travel Supplies, Cold & Sinus, Prescription, Vitamins etc.  You get the idea.

The most important thing is to keep only what you use or that is common enough to need again before the next expiration date.  The more you have mixed up in your cabinet the less likely you will easily find the ones you need.  You will waste money buying more unneeded duplicates of over the counter medications.

Old prescriptions also add up.   Ask yourself, are you keeping it because you need it or you just haven’t thrown it out because there were pills left that you no longer need.  If you are keeping the prescription just in case you need it again,  ask yourself a few questions.  How old is it already?  Is there enough to complete the dosage?  Will you likely go to the doctor again if the problem occurred and get a fresh prescription?  Is it a prescription that is more likely to get into the wrong hands than be useful to you?

If you have prescription medications to toss, be careful throwing them in the garbage or down a toilet.  They can hurt the ecosystem or get into the wrong little hands.  Below is a link to local drop off sites that will properly dispose of the medications for you.

Happy Organizing,


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