Keeping a Better Medicine Cabinet

I love finding ways to do simple things better.

We all have a medicine cabinet, but do you put any thought into it? A little effort and foresight can wind up saving you time and money. It will keep your family safe and ensure you have the right medication and supplies around when you need them. A good medicine cabinet should be well stocked and regularly purged.

I thought I’d share my medicine cabinet regimen (although it’s not that involved, I promise!), which I do about every three months or so. I only started thinking about our medicine cabinet after we had our first baby. That’s when things started to overflow in there! It turned out that having to clear unnecessary items to make room for others resulted in getting rid of things that really needed to go, which leads me to my first point …

Get rid of all expired medication. We shouldn’t be taking old medicine. Even if it was prescribed to us at one time, it doesn’t mean it’s prescribed to us now, and taking it could have adverse health effects. Make sure you throw out the medication safely and properly. I once heard a pharmacist recommend that you place pills in a sealed Ziploc bag with cat litter, if you’re throwing them away. That way, children, animals and curious teenagers won’t be likely to pop them into their mouth. An even safer option would be to take old pills to a pharmacy that operates a take-back program, which will safely dispose of unused and expired medication. This is also an eco-friendly way to go, since pharmaceuticals are now present in our waterways from so many pills being thrown away. Eww! Check out to find a location near you.

Mama tip: For safety, I don’t take any pills in front of my children, since they always want to be like Mommy and are likely to want to try them, too.

Keeping an organized medicine cabinet helps me to see what we really have, as well as what we need. I keep a list (in my head) of our most used medicines and items we may need at a moment’s notice. It makes stocking medicine so easy! Some musts for my family include: acetaminophen for fevers, in infant, child and adult varieties; ibuprofen for headaches, a necessity with three children 3 and under; and bandages and Neosporin for cuts and scrapes. I also keep Benadryl for possible allergic reactions, hydrocortisone cream for rashes and raw winter cheeks and a thermometer on hand. I personally supported the antacid industry during my pregnancy, but those are no longer a staple in the cabinet, fortunately!

Photo courtesy of e-Magine Art.

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