Need some medicine cabinet organization ideas and inspiration? Check out my medicine cabinet makeover!
Since today is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, I was inspired to share the details of the medication decluttering journey I completed a few months back.
That journey was more of an archeological dig, since I uncovered medications that expired over a decade ago:
Yep, that’s just a wee bit embarrassing!
When all was said and done, here’s what the pile of expired medication looked like:
Now came the question of how to properly dispose of these expired medications. I know that flushing medicine down the toilet or the sink is a No No, but that’s where my expertise in this area ended.
So I did a little bit of investigating to figure out some options.
How to Dispose of Medications Properly
Option 1: Utilize the Prescription Drug Take-Back Program
During Prescription Drug Take-Back Days (typically in April and October), collection sites are set up in local cities throughout the country for safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and vitamins.
If you have a bag of expired medications sitting around and you don’t want to wait until the next Take-Back Day, no worries. You can use the DEA’s Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations search function to locate an authorized collection site near you.
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Option 2: Use the Deterra Drug Deactivation System
A few months back, I noticed these black Deterra bags in a bin in the lobby of our church. They were giving them away to church members, so I took a few home and tucked them away until it was time to declutter medications.
In a simple 3-step process, drugs are deactivated by placing them in a Deterra pouch, adding water, shaking and throwing it away. This system deactivates prescription drugs, pills, patches, liquids, creams and films. By rendering the drugs inert, it’s safe to dispose of the bag’s contents without harming the environment.
This is a great solution if you only have a few bottles of medications to dispose of. I didn’t have nearly enough Dettera bags on hand to dispose of my massive pile of decluttered medicines.
Option 3: Use a Drug Store Medication Disposal Bin
Little-known fact: most drug stores offer a safe place to dispose of unused and expired medications.
When I started calling around to inquire about this solution, I discovered that the CVS about a mile from my house has a medication disposal bin.
Phew! Now that the medication decluttering project is complete, it feels good to know that all the medicine that we have in the house is safe and effective (and NOT expired).
Next on the To Do list was to re-think our medication storage. I explored several medicine organizer ideas until I landed on the perfect solution for our needs.
My New Favorite Medicine Cabinet Organizer
I knew I could find about 100 uses for it around my house. As I was decluttering the medications that previously lived in a set of lidded bins, I realized that this just might be the perfect medicine cabinet organizer.
I love how you can use the compartments to group medications by category (e.g., cold medications, pain relief medications etc.). The mind-blowing feature of this storage solution is that the individual compartments are REMOVABLE.
This solution might not work if you keep a ton of medications on hand and have a lot of prescription medications to manage. We are not in that situation, so this medicine cabinet storage solution works perfectly for our needs.
So once the new medication cabinet organizer was filled and put back into the bathroom closet, I felt that my work in this space wasn’t quite done:
I decided to ride this inspirational wave a bit further and tackle a full-on medicine cabinet closet makeover! After viewing these medicine cabinet organization ideas, you might find a solution or two that will work for your medicine cabinet storage set up.
How to Organize Your Medicine Cabinet
As with all home organizing projects, I followed my 5-step organizing process:
- evaluate the mission of the space
- sort items into categories
- purge excess items
- organize/assign a home
Once we emptied out the closet, we sorted the contents into the following categories:
- Hair Tools
- First Aid
- Back Stock – Toiletries
- Back Stock – Medications
- Sunless Tanning Kit
- Hand Sanitizer
- Optical Care
- Nail Care
- Cotton balls/Q-Tips
I chose a container that best fit the category of items, labeled the container and then arranged them in the closet keeping in mind which items are accessed most and least frequently.
Voila — here’s what the organized closet looked like after we completed the project:
Medicine Cabinet Organization Ideas
Be sure to scroll to the bottom for links to the products I used in this project.
In addition to medication and toiletry storage, we also use this bathroom closet to store extra hand towels and bath towels. I used this pretty woven basket for hand towel storage on the upper-most shelf.
Have a more traditional linen closet in your home? Get linen closet organization tips here.
This shelf is also home for the Hair Bin, which contains a bunch of hair tools that are rarely used (e.g., hot rollers, foam rollers, etc.).
One of my favorite medicine cabinet storage ideas (or in our case the medicine closet) is to establish backstock storage zones frequently used toiletry items and medications. It’s no fun running out of shampoo and not having a spare bottle on hand. Similarly, you never want to be in need of pain medication and not have any in the house.
With a designated backstock storage area, you’ll never find yourself in these situations.
You just need to make it a habit to be vigilant about replacing the backstock item the minute you pull it out of the back stock bin and begin using it (that all-important MAINTENANCE step in the organizing process).
I used another pretty woven basket to store backstock for toiletries, and created a separate medicine back stock bin using a lidded storage bin from a set I purchased for this project.
You’ll notice another pretty basket full of travel-size toiletries (labeled “Travel”). We used to have travel-size toiletries peppered throughout this closet in various drawers and bins. I finally took the opportunity to gather them all into one location.
When we’re preparing for a vacation or work trip, we simply pull out the Travel basket and select what we need for the trip. So simple!
Using these stackable lidded storage containers to create “kits” in this closet has made it so much easier to find the items we need. Of course, medicine cabinet labels are essential in this case, since the bins are not clear and many of them are identical to one another.
At the bottom of the closet, we had just enough space to fit an Elfa mesh drawer storage unit to store my vast collection of cotton products (cotton pads, balls, Q-Tips), all of my nail care items (nail polish, LED light), and more back stock items that don’t fit neatly into the back stock basket (replacement toothbrushes and razors).
Read why I’m obsessed with Elfa storage systems (from the Container Store).
Medicine Cabinet Organization Storage Products
Here are all of the items I used to complete this closet organizing project:
- Turntable with bins
- 3-piece plastic storage bin set with lids (I used 2 sets)
- Woven baskets (purchased at HomeGoods, these are similar)
- Mesh drawer unit
- Clear printable sticker paper (used to make labels)
Do you have a similar bathroom closet in your home? What do you store in it?
I hope that these medicine cabinet organization ideas provide a little inspiration for you 🙂