Challenge Day 46: Manage the Medicine Chest

organize the medicine cabinet

New Year Cleaning Challenge Day 46

When family members fall ill, they call for "Dr. Mom" ... so today, we're headed to the medicine chest.

We'll consider the proper location for the family's store of nutritional supplements, prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

After decluttering the medicine chest, we'll decide how to dispose of expired medications safely.

Ready? We're making for the medicine chest in the New Year Cleaning Challenge!

Today's Assignment:
Manage the Medicine Chest

It's Bathroom Week in the New Year Cleaning Challenge, and today, we're cleaning and organizing the medicine chest.

Where do your family's medications live? Surprise: the standard bathroom "medicine chest" aside, they probably shouldn't make a home in the bathroom.

Heat, light and moisture have adverse effects on medications and nutritional supplements, and too often, bathroom storage areas are too available to small children.

Today, consider the location of your medicine chest. Is it in a safe, cool, dry area of the home? If not, try to locate an appropriate space that can be safeguarded yet accessed easily to store these items.

A sobering note, but necessary: drug theft is a burgeoning problem in many communities. When you consider an appropriate storage area, take steps to keep medications secure from intentional misuse by family members, guests or tradesmen.

Next, travel the house--nightstands, bathrooms, kitchen drawers and all--to consolidate medicines and supplements in a single location. You'll find it easier to keep tabs on stocks of pain relievers, cold and stomach medicines if they have a single, designated storage area.

Time to declutter! Combine the contents of multiple open bottles where possible, and set aside expired meds for disposal.

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Note any needed replacements on the shopping list, so you'll weather the next round of family colds with ease.

Finally, decide how to dispose of expired or unused medications--because specific recommendations may differ depending on the type of medication and the resources available in your local community.

To learn more about how to dispose of medicine safely, try these suggestions from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

How to Dispose of Unused Medicines

First Aid Kit Checklist