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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Bathroom > Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet
Medicines expire: Most people don’t pay attention to their medicines or their expiration date. But the dates are there for a reason. Medicines lose their potency. For example, if you have a prescription for an antibiotic that you didn’t finish, and a year later you have a re-occurrence of that same illness, the medicine that you saved is probably no longer any good. You are not saving any money by saving medications for future use if that medication is expired. You will not get better if you take expired medication.

Medicines can also lose their potency or become altered if they are not stored properly. Heat, humidity and sunlight can all affect medications. With the humidity of a bathroom, the medicine cabinet is really not the ideal place for medicine.

If you have children a medicine cabinet is not recommended because it is usually not a place that can lock and children get into everything. Use a locked box and put it on the top shelf of your closet so that little children can’t reach it (the lock should keep older children out). Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of death in children.

Get into the habit of going through your medicine cabinet and checking the expiration dates on your medication. You should do this at least twice a year. Or coordinate it with the change of seasons (for four times a year). Get rid of anything that is expired or damaged. Be sure to always keep medications in their original containers so that you know what the expiration date is.

Besides prescription medications you don’t want to forget “over-the-counter” medications such as aspirin, cold medications, antibiotic ointments and anything else in your cabinet. They all have expiration dates.

A very important detail: DO NOT FLUSH YOUR EXPIRED OR UNUSED MEDICATION DOWN THE TOILET! The medications can contaminate groundwater. Even putting it into the garbage can contaminate the soil. Some cities have collection sites for expired or unused medications.

Makeup: Women tend to forget that make-up also expires. When you buy a new cosmetic mark the date you purchased it (or opened it) directly on the cosmetic with a black marker. That way you won’t forget when you started using it.

Replace your makeup in the following manner:
  • Mascara & Eyeliner - every 3 months
  • Lipstick & Lip liner – once a year
  • Eye Shadow (powder) – every 2 years
  • Eye Shadow (cream) – every 1 year
  • Makeup sponges – every week
  • Makeup brushes – should be washed every week.
Don’t use mascara if you have an eye infection and never share makeup.

Placement of items in your medicine cabinet:
Group like items alike. Keep only one (1) of everything in your medicine cabinet so that it is not overcrowded. That means one deodorant, one dental floss, one eye drops, one toothpaste….. Keep the extra’s in a closet or under the sink (if you have room).

If you don’t have kids and you keep your medicines in your medicine cabinet, group all like medicines together. All pain reliever’s together, cold medicines together and so on.

Thanks to Organized A to partner Karin E. Fried, CPC, for contributing this article. Karen is owner of Organizational Consulting Services and you can visit her Web site at
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