A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Minimize Your Medicine Cabinet

I just came out of our bathroom to find my two-year-old with “the look” on her face. You know the look. The “oh-my-gosh-you-caught-me” look. When I realized the reason behind the look on her face, my stomach jumped into my throat.

In her hand was the giant economy sized bottle of adult Ibuprofen that my son was just using moments ago. The scary part was that I was right there the entire time. He asked me for medicine, I gave the bottle to him and I heard him put the lid back on and put the bottle on the counter. Then in less than 30 seconds, as I was putting some towels away, my daughter managed to get the child-proof lid off the bottle and shove two pills in her mouth. As I came around the corner and caught her with the bottle in her hand, I knew instinctively what had happened. Thankfully the pill coating wasn’t to her liking and she quickly spit them out into my hand. It was in the few minutes following all of this, that the severity of the situation sunk in, and I realized what could have happened if I hadn’t been right there.

So today’s mission is clearing out the medicine cabinet. If there is anything I could be accused of hoarding, it would be over-the-counter medicine. My father is a doctor and I always grew up knowing a more than adequate supply of medicine was just a short trip down the hall. Headache? No problem. Poison Ivy? Got ya covered. Sore throat? Upset stomach? Bug bites? Check, check, check. It’s always amazing to me when friends of mine have to go to the store to buy something for a headache because they don’t keep any medicine in the house. I like to be prepared.

Unfortunately, I seem to have wandered to the other extreme of “being prepared” in the medicine department. Not only do I need to minimize my medicine supplies, I need to relocate them to make sure they are even more inaccessible to my two-year-old who apparently is gifted at opening child-proof caps.

Step for Minimizing Your Medicine:

  1. Prioritize, then Organize – Whenever you find yourself with too much of anything, it comes down to making choices. First, prioritize and pick out the items you use the most. It’s alright to keep some medicines that aren’t used as frequently but don’t go overboard.
  2. Consolidate Packaging – It’s easy to lose track of what we have if things aren’t organized very well or if it’s something that gets used a lot. Combine those three open boxes of children’s fever medicine or the two half empty bottles of cough medicine.
  3. Throw out expired and nearly empty medicines – Check those expiration dates! Not everything needs to be thrown out immediately, but get rid of bottles that have been sitting in the back of your medicine cabinet for a long time.
  4. Minimize the danger – Finally, make sure your kids can’t access your medicine. It’s especially easy for children to overdose on prescription drugs, over the counter medicine, and even their daily vitamins.


If this post helped you, consider opting to receive free updates via RSS or EMAIL. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Article originally published on 09/22/2010

Share the love
Get free updates


  1. I go through our medicines every 6 months and throw out and replace what we need. The past two years, I have noticed that most of the medicine that has expired has not even been used. We are healthier and that is good, but it is a waste of money to replace it. So, I have really minimized the amount of medicine I will keep in the house. We turned down the thermostat a couple of years ago to see if we could save money and found that we were also healthier. We put on sweatshirts to keep warm in the winter. I save a lot of money in medicine, electricity and doctor bills. It seems strange, but it works!


  1. […] already covered how to cut down on crowded linen closets and medicine cabinets. If you really want a bathroom you can love, we need to tackle the rest of the mess clogging up the […]

  2. week eight: the cure for the common medicine cabinet | the minimalist year says:

    […] the “must-haves” for a medicine cabinet/first aid station. I found Faith Janes’ Minimize Your Medicine Cabinet article at Minimalist at Home, and she had some great points. Mainly that you don’t need a […]

Speak Your Mind