Organising your Medicine Cupboard
Updated: Mar 13
Do you know what's lurking in your medicine cupboard?
If you don't have a home for your medication, don't worry - we can work on that!
Organising your medication will save you time, save money, make finding the right medicines easy and, most importantly, it's good for your health.
Medication is one of those categories that people feel it's best to keep EVERYTHING - just in case.
Cupboards, drawers, boxes and tins can end up overflowing with medication, prescriptions and supplements going back years and years.
The last thing you want to be doing when you are ill or have a sick child in the middle of the night is rummaging around, desperately trying to find painkillers or Calpol.
Here is a step by step guide to getting your medication organised;
Step One: GET EVERYTHING OUT
Pull everything out, and then go on a little hunt around your home to see what you can find elsewhere - your bedside table, bathroom, kitchen junk drawer, wherever you think medication could be hiding - and bring it all together in one place.
Step Two: DECLUTTER + SIMPLIFY
Get a bag ready.
Go through each item and check the dates to see if it has expired, is no longer used or doesn't apply to you anymore.
Not only is this a space-saver, but it could also be a life-saver. When medication goes past its expiration date, it becomes less potent and less effective. So you may not be getting the correct dosage. Drugs can also change in their chemical compositions over time, which may mean they could become dangerous and have serious side effects. Be safe - and dispose of them safely,
What should I do with old medication?
Medication should not be disposed of via domestic waste. Pop them in a bag and drop them off at your local pharmacy so that they can recycle or dispose of them safely.
Dumping your old medication (and even beauty products) in the rubbish bin has a negative environmental impact. There is a better way to dispose of them, so please don't poison the planet .
Recycle any containers or packaging that can be recycled.
STEP THREE: ORGANISE
Sort your keep items into categories that work for you and your family. Categories will vary from household to household, but I have listed some categories that may help as a guide below..
Prescriptions and regular tablets.
You could also have a category for each person's daily medication and supplements.
Cold and Flu
Painkillers and Fever
Eyes and Ears
First Aid Kit
Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit ready and easy to find in case of emergencies? It's always best to be prepared, so check that you've got everything you need and it hasn't been used and not replaced. You never know when you're going to need it. It's also a good idea to keep another kit in your car.
STEP FOUR: STORE + CONTAIN
Even though it's common to have a 'medicine cabinet' in our bathrooms, the bathroom is not the best place for medicines to be kept. Heat and steam are not appropriate conditions for medications, so if you have been storing them in the bathroom, is there a better place that you could move them to?
Medication should be stored ina room with low humidity and a stable room temperature of below 77F.
Safety is vital - especially if you have children in the house. So, wherever you keep them, make sure medicines (and anything toxic) are out of reach of small hands.
Try and keep your medication together in one central place, so that it's easy to find. We keep our medication in the kitchen. A cupboard in the kitchen or utility area if you have space work well.
Once you have decided on the best place for your medication to live, wipe it down while the space is empty. (I use a homemade cleaning spray of water, white vinegar, bicarb and a few drops of essential oil - it works well, is toxic-free and affordable).
Within this space, you want to make sure that the items you use regularly are at a closer reach; you don't want to have to reach up high each morning to grab your daily tablets and supplements. Keep them at eye -level wherever possible (out of the way of children) so accessing them is easy, and you won't forget to take them. My supplements are next to the mugs, so I can quickly grab them, along with a mug for my drink in the mornings.
Now that you have your categories organised, and know what space they are going to live in; you can implement some storage to fix your systems in place and keep it organised.
Have a look around your home to see if you have any surplus baskets or boxes that you could repurpose.
If you do want to invest in anything new, my favourite products are clear bins or separate drawers for separating each of the categories. Turntables also work well for daily tablets and supplements.
Images from Pinterest: The Container Store, The Home Edit, Just Another Mummy Blog.
Always measure the cupboard space first (height and depth of shelves) before buying anything new.
You can pick up small, inexpensive storage boxes or baskets in most supermarkets or home stores. You can also use clear, labelled ziplock bags for each category, and pop them all in a box or tin if you're short on space or as temporary storage until you have purchased your new storage system.
Storage preferences vary greatly from home to home, depending on the space you have, how much medication you need to store, budget and how you want it to look.
If you order your repeat prescriptions on paper slips, keep them in a small folder or container in the same area. When you are close to running out, you'll know exactly where to find it.
My favourite part! Labelling each of your categories is really important. It sets your system in place and helps gain clarity on what you have and where it is. Without it, things are likely just to get thrown back into any container, and before long your back to where you started.
Now that you can clearly see what you have, make a note of any staple items that you are missing so that they can be replaced and ready for when they are needed.