How to Organize a Medicine Cabinet
Today we are going to talk about how to organize all the medicine in your home. Maybe you have medicine being stored in different places - vitamins/wellness items in the kitchen, prescriptions in the bathroom, over-the-counter medicine in the linen closet - or maybe it’s all together. There is no right or wrong place to put these types of items, but it definitely is worth assessing.
Medicine often seems to be stored in places as an afterthought. Whether it is shoved in a kitchen cupboard, under a sink, in a laundry room, or on a linen closet shelf, it doesn’t always get the most organizational attention. The quantity and type of medicine people have on hand ebbs and flows quite a bit as situations change. When someone gets sick, stocking up on all the necessary supplies feels necessary, prescriptions aren’t always used entirely and end up hanging around for years, and kids grow up.
How to Organize a Medicine Cabinet
Step One: Brainstorm Placement
Think about WHERE you want the medicine to go. Up high, out of reach from children? In the bathroom where you get ready if you have prescriptions? In the kitchen to be able to take medicine with food? In a linen closet that is accessible to all? Should band-aids be down low so that kids can easily access them? There is no right or best place, but be intentional.
If you end up splitting it between multiple places, that is fine. I have had some clients keep prescriptions in the bedroom closet, over-the-counter medicine in a linen closet, and vitamins and supplements in the kitchen. Whatever works with your routine is where it should be.
After intentionally choosing the final destination (and measuring and ordering products that will fit the space), let’s sort.
Step Two: Edit
Before placing medicine into categories, check expiration dates and edit. I know medicine is usually fine about a year past the expiration date, but the potency and effectiveness decrease more than anything else. Past expiration dates can show you what medicine you probably haven’t used in a while.
Do you have old prescriptions you don’t use anymore? Did you purchase something while treating a random symptom while pregnant? Did you pick up some medicine when your husband was sick, but he never took it? Take a look at your medicine and think about what you anticipate using in the next year (hopefully none, but let’s be realistic and even worst-case scenario), and get rid of the rest. To safely dispose of prescription drugs, you can often take them to the local police or fire station and some pharmacies take them.
Step Three: Categorize
Once you have thinned out what you are working with, decide how you want to categorize it. I have all my medicine put together into one medicine bin and then a first aid bin which includes anything topical we use from hydrocortisone to wart remover liquid to hydrogen peroxide.
The quantity of medicine you have will determine how much you want to break down the categories. I have organized many homes where we have numerous categories:
We’ve even separated medicine by the family member that uses it. However you choose to sort your categories, use containers that make the most sense. If I am storing medicine in an upper kitchen cabinet, I really like to use acrylic bins. The acrylic bins measuring 10x4x3 and 10x6x3 are really great because the two different widths allow smaller categories to be separated into smaller containers.
See what a difference categorizing made in this before and after:
Step Four: Label and Contain
Get rid of bulky packaging whenever possible. If you are going to throw the box away eventually, let’s throw it away now. The only exception to this is medicine where dosage and information are on the box and the pills are individually wrapped in packets.
I especially love getting rid of Band-Aid packaging. You can either “decant” Band-Aids into smaller containers within your first aid container (I love smart store inserts for this), or use zipper pouches or photo boxes for Band-Aids. I love having the Band-Aids in an easy-to-grab place and Neosporin being stored with them. My kids grab the zipper pouch we keep on the daily and it makes it so easy to be able to find and use Band-Aids. And bonus…lack of bulky packaging maximizes space as well.
Once your medicine is edited, sorted, contained, and intentionally placed within containers that fit the ideal space for your family… label! Again, you are the one who invested the time, you know exactly what bin is what, but no one else will ever know unless you stick a label on it. My favorite label is the Brother p-touch cube plus label maker. They have a more affordable label maker, Brother p-touch PTD210 that makes smaller labels. Or use a sharpie on painter's tape or masking tape until you're ready to make the investment into a label maker.
Are you ready to tackle your medicine cabinet? I promise it's a small time investment that will end up being so helpful the next time your family is hit with sickness.
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Utah (Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, Utah County, and St. George), California (Bay Area, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Jose), Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.