Living Space

Tidy up your jumbled medicine cabinet

Tribune Media ServicesJanuary 25, 2013 

Separate everything in the medicine cabinet by category to make finding what you need quicker and easier.


Many medicine cabinets are so jumbled with medications, bug spray, cast-off cosmetics, combs, nail clippers, toothpaste, suntan lotion and loose cotton swabs that it can be tough to find what you need when you need it. A few organizing strategies can help you give your medicine cabinet a much-needed makeover.

Location, location

The heat and humidity of the bathroom make medicine cabinets a poor choice for storing medication. Instead, select a cabinet in a cool, dry location, such as the pantry or a kitchen cabinet.

Next, sort through all drugs in the medicine cabinet and remove any items past their expiration date. If you’re not sure how to dispose of unused medications, the FDA has details on how to do so safely and effectively at

Illness or injury

A key step in making your medicine cabinet more organized and efficient is to separate the shelves by illness and injury categories.

A small tackle box designated and labeled for first aid items offers an easy, portable way to store items your might need in case of injury. Best of all, you can take the box along on outings, giving you exactly what you need right where you need it. Having these items separated from everything else in the medicine cabinet also means you can find a bandage or burn cream quickly without poking around the entire cabinet.

To corral your medications, use inexpensive baskets and organizers from a dollar store. This way, you can pull out the entire basket and see everything at once rather than going through the medicine cabinet bottle by bottle.

Use a labeler to mark each basket by category, such as “stomach,” “cough and cold,” “allergy,” “itching,” “prescriptions” and “pain relievers.”

Medical history

Once you’ve organized your pills, bandages, ointments and tweezers, it’s helpful to include a spot to hold important medical details and information. Attach a piece of corkboard or galvanized metal using construction adhesive to the back of your medicine cabinet door. This is the perfect spot to post poison hotline numbers, nurse helplines and the phone numbers for your physicians and pharmacy. Add reminders about allergies to certain medications, such as penicillin or sulfa drugs.

Organizing your medicine cabinet will make life easier and could even improve the health of your family.


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