It is often easy to let your medicine cabinet get out of control, because the items are tucked away behind the mirrors over your sink or the door of the linen closet. Sometimes we say, ‘If I can’t see the mess, it’s not there, right?’ Wrong! It’s a good idea to give a bit of thought and structure to the medicines in our lives because they contribute to a very important aspect of our lives, our health. With a few simple steps you can avoid missing doses, taking expired pills, and losing prescriptions.
First, let’s talk about purging the old prescriptions that you no longer use. Go through each of your bottles and pull out the ones with expired dates or any one-time prescriptions that you won’t need again. Place them in a bag and put them aside for a weekend day when you’ll have time to donate them. That’s right, I said donate! Just like your old clothing, you can also give your old prescriptions away. Most cities have drop off events sponsored by the DEA where trained staff members collect and dispose of your medications in a way that complies with Federal regulations. As long as you keep prescriptions in their original bottles and do not mix pills, you are able to donate. Check this site for rules and information by state.
Now, let’s organize the medicine cabinet itself. I like to recommend to my clients that they reserve a separate shelf or space each for morning meds and evening meds, and then alphabetize the prescriptions for ease of use. If you are managing the prescriptions for several family members, try keeping each person’s meds in different bathrooms or shelves to avoid confusion. And of course, keep bottles out of reach from small, curious children.
Once you clean out the unnecessary and old items, use small containers to organize the everything else housed in the space. For added storage, I love magnetic or adhesive bins that affix to the back wall or door. They utilize regularly unusable space and offer additional storage in a fun way.
For medicines or vitamins that you take when you’re on the go, consider buying a pill box that is separated by day of the week and/or time of the day. Take a few minutes on Sunday evening to dole out the pills in their proper slot and stick the pill keeper in your purse. If you have meds like birth control pills, for example, that must be taken at the same time each day, place that pack in your purse, on top of your toothpaste, or another place that you visit daily to keep it top of mind.
If forgetting your doses is something you struggle with, try placing a note on your bathroom mirror for a week to remind you to open the cabinet – this will help to make it a part of your morning or evening routine. You can even set a reminder on your smartphone if you are particularly busy or forgetful.
Taking a few moments to set yourself up for health success will make quite a difference in your home and your life. Spend a few minutes and take control of your medicine chest this week and you’ll be glad you did!