It’s most people’s dirty little secret—their dirty little bathrooms! There’s nothing worse than looking for health and beauty items when you’re sick or in a hurry and finding only insufficient or expired items. Here are some tips on clearing your medicine cabinet and toiletries storage to make your most personal room your most efficient room.
1. Grab a piece of paper and pencil to make a list of items you discard and will need to replace. You may not need to replace every item, just those you are pretty sure you will use at least once a year. Also note the quantities you think you will need.
2. Open your cabinets and drawers and move shelf by shelf, disposing of any expired items.
3. Next, dispose of items that don’t have an expiration date but that look old or smell bad, to the point where you wouldn’t use them.
4. Finally, dispose of anything that you haven’t used in a while, say a year or more. Take an honest look at these items when you consider whether or not to purchase replacements.
5. If an item does not have an expiration date and you forget when you bought it, consider writing an expiration on the bottle. Use Real Simple magazine’s online article entitled “Expiration Dates for Beauty Products” to come up with your dates. Most items are good from three months to a few years.
6. Do not flush medicines down the toilet or down drains. To properly dispose of medicines, contact your local pharmacy to see if they participate in a prescription medication disposal program. The DEA’s Office of Diversion Control organized their first “National Take-Back Day” in September. They hope to host this event annually, to reduce the quantity of dangerous medicines available to children or sold illegally. See www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback for more information. If these options aren’t available to you, you can take a few additional steps to safely dispose of medications yourself. Remove your name and personal information from any bottles. Recycle bottles, if you can. Then pour the pills into a plastic bag, and add coffee grounds so animals avoid pills in the trash. For more information, see www.smarxtdisposal.net.
7. After you have cleared old items and purchased new items, consider creating “zones.” Create a shelf for cold medicines, a shelf for first aid, etc. Place the most urgent or often-used categories on the most accessible shelves.