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Despite the deplorable weather, I can assure you that spring really is on it’s way! Here in Georgia, I already have trees forming tiny buds, daffodils blooming, and bluebirds checking out our bird houses. With the warmer weather comes an inherent need to spring clean my house. Since expired medicine can be ineffective (and possibly dangerous), cleaning and organizing the medicine cabinet are incredibly important. I thought a would share a few spring cleaning tips for your medicine cabinet to help you get started.
Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Medicine Cabinet
Spring cleaning has begun and I am sorting unwanted things for a garage sale, Goodwill donation, or the trash can. If you have started your own spring cleaning, you will understand what an amazing feeling it is to look at a room and just SEE that it is clean. However, there are places we don’t see very often that still need a bit of spring cleaning. Have you ever looked into your medicine cabinet and considered doing a bit of spring cleaning in there? I tackle this chore once a year. I definitely recommend that you do on a regular basis. If you would like to get started on this, here are some spring cleaning tips for your medicine cabinet:
Take Everything Out of Your Medicine Cabinet
Yes, I mean every single thing! You can’t clean your medicine cabinet if it is still cluttered up. Take out the expired medicine, those baby nail clippers your teenager doesn’t need, and that tube of acne cream that is actually empty. Organizing the medicine cabinet will be much easier once it is empty and you can see what you have in there.
Wipe down shelves
Use a damp sponge or cleaning wipe to make sure any drips and spills are removed. Give your medicine cabinet a face lift with a coat of paint and some sticky shelf liners cut to fit your small shelves. My daughter painted the interior of our medicine cabinet recently and decided to get creative with a little bit of art.
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Get out your glasses and check every, single expiration date.
Bet you didn’t know that one of my spring cleaning tips would require a magnifying glass, did you? Yes, those printed numbers and letters are VERY small but medicine that is past it’s expiration date is no longer effective and needs to be thrown away. Do not throw your expired medicine in the trash can. Visit your local drug store. Many of them have a take back program for prescription medications. Some also have bins for you to dispose of over the counter medications. Be mindful about keeping our waterways clean and disposing of medication properly.
More Spring Cleaning Tips:
- Frugal Spring Cleaning Tips That Benefit Your Wallet AND the Earth!
- Spring Cleaning Your Office: Don’t Let It Lead to Identity Theft!
- 10 Cleaning Tips for Surviving Spring Allergies
For prescription medication you should look at the ‘fill date’ if there is no expiration date listed.
A good rule of thumb is that prescription medications are good for one year from the date it was filled. This isn’t always the case, however, unless you know the ACTUAL expiration date that was printed by the manufacturer on the package, don’t use medication after one year after fill date.
Make sure the medications are still age appropriate for your children.
Have infant pain relieving drops and you now have toddlers? Throw away the infant formulas! Do not use medication that is not age appropriate. Proper dosing is required, usually based on some combination of age and/or weight. Throw out anything that your kids can’t use any more. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have questions about age appropriate medicine.
Dispose of old medication properly.
Read the label for each container to make sure you know how to dispose of it. Many police departments sponsor a ‘drug take back day’ and will collect many different kinds of prescription medication. Call your doctor or pharmacist or the poison control line to find out the proper way to dispose of old medication. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen my recent trip to Walgreens to dispose of old prescription medicine.
Consider replacing your ‘traditional’ medications with natural alternatives.
Most of the commonly used medications in our home are not really the safest thing to be taking on a regular basis. Liver toxicity, stomach discomfort, and an assortment of other health problems can arise from the misuse of over the counter and prescription medications. My personal preference is to always choose a natural product FIRST before turning to my doctor for help. And filling your medicine cabinet with natural medicines and supplements means that they are always available when you need them.
Move your medication into a hall closet.
The bathroom is not really a great place to store medication. The heat and humidity causes it to degrade faster than the cool temperatures in your hallway. Invest in a plastic container with a lid and leave the medicine chest for things like band aids, tweezers, and Qtips. Don’t have room in the hall closet? Throw out old towels and ditch that tablecloth you never use. One plastic container of medicine shouldn’t take up too much space.
Make a list of everything you have thrown out.
You will want to replace the most often used items as soon as you find a good sale or coupon. Don’t forget to replace it or you might be cranky next time you get a cold and have no decongestant! Buy single ingredient medicines when possible. That way you treat only the symptoms you have. Talk to your pharmacist for advice.
Cleaning and organizing the medicine cabinet is an important spring cleaning chore. Keep yourself safe and your home organized by tackling this spring cleaning chore once a year. Be organized now. That way, when you are sick you have what you need on hand.
Have any other spring cleaning tips for your medicine cabinet?
(note: post updated and content added from previous publish date)
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.