Challenge #19 – Medicine Chest

Everybody needs to clear out the medicine chest periodically. Here’s how!


It is the beginning of the last week of GO! (Get Organized!) month. Everybody needs to clear out the medicine chest periodically. Here’s how!

Let’s recall the process we are using throughout the month:


  • Gather your supplies:
    • Boxes or bags labeled with:
      • “Donate”
      • “Elsewhere”
      • “Store”
    • Trash can/recycle bin
    • Damp rag/wet wipe
  • Empty challenge area for the day. And by empty, I mean EMPTY.
  • Once the area is empty, wipe it clean with a damp rag.
  • Now sort the items into these categories: (The Seana Method’s R.E.D.D.S. system)
    • R- “Restore”: items to go back in
    • E- “Elsewhere: items to keep, but which don’t belong in this space
    • D- “Donate”
    • D- “Dispose”: trash or recycle
    • S- “Store”: items to keep for sentimental reasons, or perhaps for a long-term future use, but which are not regularly used. (These items will eventually need to go into a bin/box in an attic, basement, or closet.)
  • As you are sorting, put items into the boxes/bags you prepared.
  • Once you are finished sorting, put the “Restore” items back into your designated area.
  • Carry the “Elsewhere” box/bag around your house and redistribute its contents.
  • Move the “Donate” box/bag to the car to be donated.
  • Trash/recycle the “Dispose” items
  • Put the "Store" box aside for now. When the month is over, these items will be packaged for long-term storage.



The medicine chest fills up for a number of reasons: we are sick and get a prescription; we start a medication which doesn’t end up working out for us; we buy OTC (over-the-counter) meds when we or a family member is sick.

Often, we forget to go through and clear out medications which we no longer need. Here are a few guidelines for helping you clear out your medicine cabinet.


  1. Empty the cabinet to a clear sorting surface. Wipe it down with a damp rag.
  2. Separate prescription from OTC medications.
  3. For OTC medications, look at the expiration date. Most medicines are good for one year after the date on the package. When it doubt, get rid of it. 
  4. For prescription medications, sort out what you use from what you don’t. Any scripts that you will never use should be disposed of. Here you have a couple of choices. You can either HOLD the medicine in a staging location until your town has a hazardous waste pick-up. Darien typically had one day during the summer months, but neighboring towns do as well. There will be one Saturday each month in Fairfield county. A second option is to BUY A BAG from a pharmacy. They cost around $4, and you can put unused medication inside and ship it off (directions are on the package.) DO NOT flush the medication down the toilet, wash it down the drain or throw it in the trash as it can damage our water supply.
  5. For non-medicine items (e.g. makeup) that you keep in your medicine cabinet, simply sort through and pitch whatever you aren’t using.


If you have small children, remember to keep all medicine out of reach, with safety caps on the containers. Another tip is to highlight the name of the patient on the bottle using a different color for each family member… this makes getting the right medication quick and easy.

Cleaning out the medicine cabinet will give you a quick sense of accomplishment and bring instant order to a spot you may use every day.  Happy organizing! 

Submitted by Seana Turner, founder and President of The Seana Method

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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