When you’re unwell, sick or injured, the last thing you want to do is to waste time rummaging through stuff to find the medicine you need. So medicine organisation is critical, even more so in a home with young children or elderly people. The good news is that this project can be tackled in about one hour. Here is how.
#1 | Gather all the medicine you own from all over your home. In addition to your medicine cabinet, some are likely to lurk in your kitchen drawers or bedside tables.
#2 | Sort medicine by category such as illness / condition. If you have children below 12 years of age, first separate adults and children medicines.
#3 | Put aside the medicine that has expired, look old and damaged, you don’t use or are unsure how to use. Several doctor friends of mine have told me that you can still use medicine for a couple of years after their expiry date, except for things like eye drops and creams, but please don’t take my word for it.
#5 | Dispose of it responsibly. Check in your country whether there are any places to return unused and expired medicine. In France where I’m originally from, it can be returned to pharmacies. In Singapore, at the time this article is being written, I’m aware of only one place to dispose of them, the Assisi hospice [if you know additional places in Singapore, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below]. If you decide to throw them in your dustbin, make sure your children won’t be able to access them, by emptying unfinished bottles in the sink for example.
#5 | Keep categories together by containerising them. Depending on your medicine cabinet configuration, you can use plastic containers, trays, drawers or even ziplog bags. Think of the following criteria:
- Accessibility: typically you want to be able to easily access your medicine when you need it without having to move things around. Similarly you want to be able to easily return the medicine to its dedicated space so you won’t waste time looking for it when you’ll next need it.
- Storage space availability: if space is limited, think of using stackable containers.
- Dust protection: If dust is a concern, use a lid.
Plastic drawers, such as the ones shown below from The Container Store, provided they fit into your cabinet, are in my perspective the best option to keep categories together while providing easy access to the medicine and protecting it from dust.
In any case, prefer plastic to avoid damages in case of leakage and so it can be thoroughly cleaned.
#6 | Label your containers so you can easily find what you need when you need it.
#7 | Make sure to keep medicine out of reach of young children.
With the right organising systems in place, there are plenty of areas in your home that won’t necessarily call for regular decluttering exercises, but medicine is an exception to this as you want to make sure you always have usable medicine for the most common ailments your family is dealing with. Twice a year is a good frequency in my opinion for medicine organisation, but this shouldn’t prevent you from checking the expiry date before using the medicine when you need it.