Clutter=Delayed Decisions

medication storage

Clutter=Delayed Decisions

Clutter is, simply put, delayed decisions.  We are all familiar with it.  It is a constant battle for most of us.  Cupboards brimming with more mugs than even St. Nick himself could ever use, books that have a thick layer of dust on brimming shelves, clothes that no longer fit sit idly in our closet-many of these scenarios exist in our homes.  Sometimes the decisions of what to keep and toss are simple.  Sometimes the decisions are wrapped in emotion, guilt and memories.  These are the wonderful clients I often help sort through their precious possessions. However, I do think there ARE easy decisions to be made in our homes.  These decisions are often the catalyst for bigger changes and the confidence it requires to delve into the “hard stuff.”  I am beginning a series entitled:

What should I get rid of today?

Each challenge will have a suggestion for items that are easily sorted through.  I will even provide the parameters for what to keep and what to toss.  Additionally, these are quick projects.  Please feel free to follow along if you feel like you would like to make some headway this summer in stream-lining your home.  Maybe you would just like to do something for you.  Hop on board and “follow”!  I will be there every step of the way and you can feel free to reach out to me if you have additional specific questions as we go through each challenge.  You can totally do this!  (As always, if you would like to work with me individually in your home, contact Vacaville Organizer through my contact form or find my through

Challenge:  Expired Medications

This is an easy, clear-cut challenge.  (If you have little ones in the house, please clear out your medications in a responsible manner, away from your “helpers”.)  I love this challenge because the date is clearly printed on the side of every bottle in your medicine cabinet!  Yes!  According to present FDA guidelines, here is what you need to know about disposal of expired medication:

FDA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy developed federal guidelines that are summarized here:

  • Follow any specific disposal instructions on the prescription drug labeling or patient information that accompanies the medicine. Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
  • Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service (see blue pages in phone book) to see if a take-back program is available in your community. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, working with state and local law enforcement agencies, periodically sponsors National Prescription Drug Take-Back Daysdisclaimer icon
  • If no disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps. 1. Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs). 2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., FDA’s Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance, offers some additional tips:

  • Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
  • Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on a person’s specific symptoms and medical history. A medicine that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
  • When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.

Bernstein says the same disposal methods for prescription drugs could apply to over-the-counter drugs as well.


Okay, now that we have handled all the “sticky” aspects of disposal, get rid of it!  I would also encourage you to make a list of the over-the-counter medications that you dispose of that you need to replace.  You don’t want to be caught with a nasty headache or fever without a stocked medicine cabinet.


Now, that you have sorted through your medications according to date, you may wish to consider storage.  If you have a family, with multiple members, multiple ages and regularly need medications, separating the prescriptions may be a good idea.  Here is a fun idea from the talented, Ana Mosely.

Here is another idea of medication storage, very similar to Anna’s featured above.

medication storage



Small changes and just a little bit of time can make a big impact.

Happy Organizing-Vacaville Organizer












  1. Gail Slagle says:

    I love your blog and have gotten some great hints and ideas! Thank you for posting all the helpful posts. Keep it up 🙂

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