Ah, January! The time of resolutions, organizing, and cleaning. It also means that we are about halfway through cold and flu season. I don’t know about your house, but we have survived two bouts of the cold and my medicine cabinet organization has been destroyed by more 3 a.m. rummaging sessions than I care to count!
When I say medicine cabinet, I actually mean the top shelf of my linen closet, where I keep two, 6-quart storage containers (similar to these). This is where I keep everything from cough drops and pain relievers to boogie wipes. Despite my best intentions of having the medicine cabinet organized at all times, things can get messy and need to be sorted on occasion.
Yikes! This is what mine looked like before I did my latest clean out:
First Up: Cleaning Out
The first thing I did was pull out all of the bins. I threw away every broken crumb that had accumulated in the bottom of each bin. I went through and carefully looked at each bottle of medicine to check the expiration date. (I don’t know about you, but when I’m reaching for something in the medicine cabinet to help make my little ones feel better, I want to know it’s going to be effective!)
Out of all the bottles in the two bins, I found four expired medicines and two empty bottles, oh, and the three new bags of cough drops I was looking for during last week’s round of sickness… Perfect.
Next Up: Organizing
In the first bin of my medicine cabinet I keep all medications that are in regular use. In the back of the bin is all adult and older than 12-year-old child medicines. All pain relievers and cough syrups are kept in a spot well out of reach of little hands, but easy to find when dealing with my own colds! In the middle of the bin, I keep a gallon ziplock storage bag with infant only tools. When my infant is sick I don’t want to dig through all of the pain relievers looking for a nasal aspirator or the thermometer that I use only for him (NO one wants to accidentally use the rectal thermometer-gag). In the front of the bin are all of the children’s medicines, along with cups and droppers for accurate dosing.
In the second bin, I keep the usual suspects of cough drops, boogie wipes, and all eye and mouth medications.
Finally, I added the expired and empty medicines to my grocery list to pick up on my next trip. If you’re wondering what meds you should have on hand for your littlest family members, check out this great list of medicine cabinet essentials for baby.
Do you know what to do with expired over the counter medications? Don’t just throw those bottles in the trash bin! It’s important to dispose of medicine properly to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse!
After checking out www.knowyourotcs.org, I followed these 3 easy steps for safe over the counter medication disposal.
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance (I used coffee grounds)
- Seal in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
- Throw away in household trash
Here is their great and easy to follow infographic for future reference.
Organizing your medicine cabinet doesn’t take much time and will be time well spent! Especially in the middle of the night, when your kiddo is sick and you are too.
How do you keep your medicine cabinets organized? How often do you clean your medicine cabinet out?