Select-an-Effort: Medicines & Supplements

Select-an-Effort: Medicines & Supplements. Seana with medicine bottles on her head.

Today is Monday. Never the easiest day, but it does offer the chance to start fresh with a new week. January offers this same optimistic feeling, doesn’t it? A chance to sweep out the old and start again. Today on “Select-an-Effort: Organizing Tasks for 2023” we will be considering your collection of medicines and supplements. Decluttering and organizing these supplies keeps us healthy and ensures we can find relief from unpleasant symptoms when they arise. Are you ready?

Here are a few options:

Low Effort

One simple step is to simply look at your containers and remove anything that is expired. Remember that an expiration date is basically a message telling you to get rid of something. Of course, we don’t want to just pitch medication into the trash. Instead, click here to see smarter ways to safely dispose of medication.

Medium Effort

To go a step further, take a moment to mindfully consider if you/your family will use each of the medications or supplements you have in your collection. Maybe you tried a supplement once, but it didn’t seem to help. Rather than pitch it, you stuck it back on the shelf. Today is the chance to get rid of it. The same applies for any prescription medications that you are unlikely to use again. Keeping things on hand for future use is fine but remember that there are benefits to having a bit more free space.

Carefully assess the likelihood of future use. I like to say that products need to “justify their real estate.”

High Effort

To improve the way you store medications and supplements, pull them all out and start again. Wipe out empty spaces, and sort by type.

A couple of principles to keep in mind:

  1. It is helpful to store commonly used medications and supplements close to where you are when you take them. This may be in a kitchen cabinet if you take them with breakfast, or in your bathroom or bedside table if you take them before bed.
  • If you need to store medication in a larger space, such as on a shelf in a linen closet or kitchen cabinet, consider purchasing a riser and/or some stackable plastic bins that you can label. For bottles, a turntable on a deep shelf comes in handy.
  • If you have small children, remember to keep all medicine out of reach, with safety caps on the containers.

*     *     *

When your medication storage area is well organized, you will be able to quickly find what you need and tuck it back out of sight with ease.

How is your collection of medicines and supplements? Could it use a refresh?

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Select-an-Effort: Organizing Tasks for 2023

16 thoughts on “Select-an-Effort: Medicines & Supplements”

  1. The expiration dates are always a surprise to my clients and me. When looking through our cabinets, I will find something that expired, even though I thought it was recently reviewed. The surprise is, “guess not!” And the same happens with my clients. They are amazed by how many medications are expired. When they let go of those, what happens? Space opens up. They can find the meds and supplies they use on a regular basis.

    The three levels of effort make this project so doable. Match your time and commitment to what is possible. No matter which level you choose, you’ll feel better and more organized.

    1. That’s so true about the expiration dates! It feels like we just looked at them, but hey, it expired in 2018. I feel like we all lost about 2 years because of COVID. I have lots of clients who don’t believe in expiration dates, but when it comes to medications and supplements, I think it is worth serious consideration.

      I think seeing that you can make an improvement with a very little bit of time can be so encouraging. Even if you just did the “low” effort every day, but you did it all month, you would still have an improved situation.

  2. It is an important area to organize and declutter. We did this recently. I like to do this every six months. Keeping each person’s medicines/supplements separate works well for our family. CVS offers a return unused prescriptions box in their pharmacy area. We bring things back there whenever we have extra prescription pills.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…The Money Talk with Aging ParentsMy Profile

    1. That’s a great tip for what to do with the unused prescriptions, Sabrina. Our local police station has a dropbox as well, and that is accessible 24/7 – a real benefit!

  3. I’m loving this series, because there are days even we organizers can’t quite bring ourself to use full-on high effort into our lives. Although I’ve talked about the concept with clients, I’m now going to quote your wording about “justifying the real estate.” (Usually, I ask something like, is this (piece of clutter) paying its rent?)

    I’m glad you included supplements, because it seems these days that so many people buy supplements because of some wacky marketing angle rather than because a physician has told them they are low in some vitamin or mineral. They buy them, try them for a while, and then they pile up. As for *real* meds and OTC meds, I think it helps people to take a highlighter and “brighten up” the expiration date of any bottle you acquire. It makes it faster and easier to let go quickly.

    Thanks for the wisdom! You put high effort into this series!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Lost & Found: Recover Unclaimed Money, Property, and Savings BondsMy Profile

    1. Ooooh, I love the idea to use a highlighter to make it easy to see expiration dates. The writing on medicine bottles seems to be getting smaller and smaller 9wink, wink).

      There is a lot of marketing behind all medications these days, from OTC to prescription to supplements. It’s hard to know what is worth it, but it is possible to reassess every now and then to see what helped and what didn’t. Old/unwanted medication just isn’t a good thing to have within easy reach.

  4. When I read this I immediately went to my medicine cabinet and found 4 expired bottles. I am taking care of them. Thank you for the reminder. It is easy to forget about medicines when you are well and sometimes when you are sick and go to get the one you know you have you find it expired. It’s good advice to check it every few months.

    1. Yes, I can totally relate to that scenario Dianne. I think I have it, but more time has passed than I realize, and just when I want it, it’s no longer any good. Frustrating! Better to stay on top of things and restock before the crisis hits.

  5. This is another great way to break down an overwhelming task into something more manageable. It’s important to go through medicines and supplements, but I doubt many people are excited to do it! I love your low, medium, high effort choices to let people ease into it or guide them through jumping right in.
    Janet Schiesl recently posted…How We Organize Our MorningsMy Profile

  6. I also find expired meds every time I check. I wish we could buy smaller quantities of pills. I hate throwing out unused allergy pills when I’ve only used 2-3 of the 12, and will likely do the same with the next package.

    1. I feel like we should be moving in that direction as well, Janet. With all of the options for pharmacies and prescriptions, smaller pill packs seems like a reasonable request!

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