[PRESENTED BY THE PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZERS IN CANADA]
The cold and flu season is hitting its peak and is one of the worst doctors have seen in recent years. Keeping your medicine cabinet up to date can help ensure you are ready to battle those nasty bugs should they visit your household.
As a professional organizer, I commonly find expired medications in medicine cabinets, despite clients swearing that all their meds are up to date. People are reluctant to throw out medications they think are perfectly good. Imagine though, if you or your child has a temperature of 102, the last thing you want to do is risk taking a drug that’s expired and potentially ineffective. Therefore, the first step in organizing your medicine cabinet is to purge and dispose of expired medications, and to do so responsibly.
Most pharmacies will accept expired medications that have been properly prepared for disposal. You must empty pills into a Ziploc bag first. If the medicine is in liquid form, drop it off directly to the pharmacy. They will do the rest. Remember to double check with your local pharmacy before bringing these items in. Recycle plastic vials, boxes and instructions based on your community’s recycling program and use a sharpie to mark out personal information on the prescription vial or instructions. Be sure to replace any medications immediately or as needed after the purge.
Another common clutter magnet in the medicine cabinet is the collection of hotel toiletries and cosmetic giveaways. Take the time to go through these items and really think about whether you need those mini shampoo bottles or samples of lotion. Donate unused travel toiletries to a local shelter.
Lastly, toss or recycle any packaging that is taking up extra space or items you know you will never use.
Now that you’ve pared down to what you need and use, it’s time to organize your medicine cabinet. Group medications by category (i.e. pain killers, homeopathic remedies, cold medications, ointments and gels.) Adjust the shelves to accommodate the size of bottles and containers. Use Ziploc bags to corral tablet packets that have been removed from their packaging. Depending on the size of your cabinet, use portable bins to contain, label and stack other items: facial care, dental care, hair care, nail care and skin care.
If you need to childproof medications and do not have a lock on your medicine cabinet you can buy a Portable First Aid Medicine Box with Lock. Otherwise, be sure to keep medications out of reach and never leave pills laying around.
If you have trouble remembering when to take your medication there is an app called Medisafe which uses your tablet or smartphone to remind you when you need to take your medicine. The app allows you to set up your own schedule for prescriptions, vitamins and homeopathic remedies. You can set notifications and keep information from your doctor in one place. When it’s time to take your medication, the app will notify you with the sound of a bottle of pills being shaken and remind you if you missed a dose. As an added bonus you’ll have access to your medication list and frequencies if you see a new doctor or are travelling and need the information quickly.
Following the above tips will help keep your medicine cabinet neat and organized and will hopefully help prepare you to fight off the cold and flu this season. If you need help with organizing your medicine cabinet or other aspects of your home, you can find an organizer near you at www.organizersincanada.com
Bio: Marie Potter is the marketing director for Professional Organizers in Canada, trained professional organizer, POC Silver and Gold Leaf member, recent recipient of the POC President Award and mother of 9-year-old adopted twin girls www.mariepotter.ca.
Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) is a national registered non-profit association that provides education, business development tools and a code of ethics for all types of organizers across Canada. Currently representing over 600 Professional Organizers in more than 14 chapters nation-wide, POC’s mandate is to provide a supportive environment for members to learn, share ideas, network, and exchange resources. POC also works to educate the public about the organizing industry and the benefits of working with a POC member.