Thursday, February 24, 2011

Organize That Medicine Closet

Being organized saves time.  It saves a lot of other things too, your sanity for instance.  I'm not talking "Martha Stewart" organized.  A little here and there helps a lot!  

Some days you don't know if you're coming or going.  I know.  I really do.  Maybe pencil-in an appointment for yourself for an hour or two and make your "someday-catch-up" today!  ...Or tomorrow, but this week.   We've got to make it easier for ourselves.

I'll start with the medicine closet because we know that can turn into a costly mess.  Pretty soon little Susie has a fever and we "just knew" we had some fever-reducer somewhere, but we can't find it when we need it.  So, what do we do?  Well, as nurturing mommies, we purchase more of what we couldn't find.

Several weeks later, however, we sure enough happen upon two half-gone bottles of fever-reducer in that same closet while we're searching for cough drops (because, of course, the illness is still travelling through the home).  That makes three ... by now also half-gone bottles of fever-reducer.  But from whence did they come? 

We've all done it.  Heck, we've all tossed out-dated meds.  Today, enough is enough!  It's time to make it easier on yourself.

First, buy, or recover, what you need.

For instance, I use more Excedrin® Migraine so I know I'm saving money when I purchase the large bottle.  However we don't use much ibuprofen so the smaller bottle is better economy for our family.   Medications have expiration dates and, though we hear that most just lose their potency as they age, this is certainly not a blanket statement.  Fact is, you and I don't know.  Better to stick with directions on this one.  When in doubt, throw it out!

 I'd had these bins around for quite some years, using them for everything from rubber stamps to crayons and markers to Legos.  A few summers ago I had almost donated them.  I don't know what prompted me, but I recovered them from the donation pile for this purpose and have used them in this way ever since. 

Of course, in years past I've used boxes and baskets, which is perfect as long as everything is returned to it's designated place, aka. organized.  In our home, that idea worked until the kids were old enough to seek dig out meds.  I needed something new!  Something easier

I often see such bins sold in the dollar stores (one of the boxes in the photo is about ten years old and from a dollar store) and with this life of relative ease, why spend more?

As you can see, I resolved to have different medication categories "share" the drawers amongst one another.  They're labeled accurately so what we need is easy to find, even for my 12-yr-old with an itchy rash, and my 15-yr-old with a sports injury.  I generally know what's there so I just tell them what to look for, which is handy when you're up to your elbows in raw chicken.  

Here's how I organized our closet:

1.  Pain Relievers
     TYLENOL®, ibuprofen, aspirin, Icy Hot®,  Orajel®
     Thermometers, pill-spitter, dosage cups

2.  Cold Care
     cough drops, decongestant, vapor rubs, antihistimines, lip balm, dosage cups

3.  Itch Relievers / Digestive Care / Sleep Aids
     calamine lotion, diaper rash ointment, hydrocortisone cream, acid reducer,
milk of magnesia, antacids, Chiggerex®, meletonin

4.  Oral Care
     toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste

5. Deodorants / Razors
    deodorants and razors 

My husband's old label-maker was a nice asset, but not necessary.  In days past I used my share of Sharpie® and masking tape.  You may find a need to organize differently for your family, the key is clear labeling.

There you have it.  Organizing is, indeed, a stitch in time that can save your caboose and your pocketbook.  Frugal is sexy!  Just ask hubby...


  1. I can relate! I have SO MANY thermometers you wouldn't even believe it. That is totally due to the fact that I can NEVER find one when I need it, which is usually at 2am. My 4 year old has a play date for a few hours today. Guess what I am doing.

  2. Oh, I can relate. ;) You GO, MAMA!!! Show that closet who's BOSS! You're gonna feel so good. Happy tackling, Beck! xo


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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!