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New Beginnings: Cleaning out your medicine cabinet

New Beginnings: Cleaning out your medicine cabinet

It’s a new year. Many of us have big plans to get organized on our list of New Year’s resolutions, so this is a great time to carefully review every item you keep inside your medicine cabinet, both to save space and for safety purposes. These five tips will help you clean your medicine cabinet and keep it neatly organized.

  1. Create an essentials-only zone. Consider keeping your accessible cabinet space for essential items only. Things you use regularly such as prescription medicines, over-the-counter analgesics (Tylenol or Advil), rubbing alcohol and perhaps hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting. Keep other, less used items separately in a less-patronized closet or drawer.
  2. Check medicine labels for storage instructions. Improper storage—such as a humid bathroom cabinet—can contribute to decreased effectiveness in medicines that have not reached their posted expiration date. To help ensure the proper shelf life of your medicine, it is better to store medicine in a controlled climate. Check labels carefully for storage instructions. Some labels specify storage in a cool, dark place. Other places to consider storing your medicine include your bedroom closet, hall closet, or a shelf in the kitchen. And always place them either on a high shelf or secure drawer where kids can’t get to them.
  3. Clean your medicine cabinet of expired items. Next, look carefully at expiration dates. Toss everything that is expired or no longer used. Expired medicines, vitamins and even sunscreens can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or decrease in potency.
  4. Dispose of expired medicines safely. Don’t toss them into the bathroom wastebasket, where curious little hands could fish them out. The City of Gillette sponsors Stop and Drop events each spring that include Medication Disposal for unwanted or expired prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, vitamins, medical patches or creams. Visit www.gillettewy.gov for additional information.
  5. Keep medicines in original containers. Don’t repackage them as you would food, even for space sake. It’s important that you have the original label in case of a serious illness or emergency situation.