This week's challenge is to create a first aid and medicine organizer center in your home, to make sure you have the right supplies for your family when they need them.
Unless you've got a lot of medicines and first aid supplies all over your house this week's challenge will not take too long, but it is in my opinion vitally important.
That is because your family's health is important, from taking vitamins, taking care of minor scrapes and bruises, treating minor illnesses with over the counter medications, and dealing with prescriptions and pills to manage or cure various health conditions.
These items need to be stored safely so they stay at their freshest, can easily be found, and are available when you need them.
This week we'll make sure you can feel comfortable in finding these first aid supplies and medications when you need them.
Are you new here? The First Aid & Medicine Organizer Center Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
The first step in creating a medicine organizer center is to gather all your medicines, first aid supplies, pills and vitamins together in one place in your home, so they're not scattered all around everywhere.
It is best to keep all of these supplies together in one spot, not only so you can find what you need more easily, but also so you don't need to have duplicates of everything.
Remember that many medications have an expiration date, so not having duplicates will make it easier for you not to waste these items.
Decutter any medications that have passed their expiration date, and donate any unopened over-the-counter duplicates you may have that you don't realistically think you can use before they expire. Here's the article on the site with more information about this decluttering task.
I often get asked specific questions about how to dispose of various medications, and it is a complicated topic. I've created a drug disposal guide which discusses both how to dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications of may different varieties.
Don't forget to also organize your pet's medication. You can wait until the Organize Pet Supplies Challenge if you want though.
Once you've gotten all the supplies together that you already own, the next step in the First Aid & Medical Organizer Center Challenge is to make sure you have everything you need for treating minor medical emergencies and for common illnesses in your home, for all of your family members.
The time to realize you need something of this nature is not when you need it, but to be prepared ahead of time.
To help with this I've created a first aid kit contents list that you can review and print, to help jog your memory about what you may need in your home.
Obviously, this list is merely a jumping off point for you, to get your mind working on what is needed, since each family's health circumstances are unique. The article accompanying the printable does have some hints for how to use it though, which may help you make sure you're considering everything you need to when creating your home first aid kit.
The third step in the Medical Organizer Center Challenge is to choose a spot for all these supplies to be kept.
In last week's challenge, when we organized our bathrooms, I explained why the bathroom was not necessarily the best place to keep your medications. Basically, medication storage is best in a temperature controlled, non-humid environment and the bathroom does not fit those criteria.
I would suggest keeping your medical supplies in a central location of your home though, and many people like to do this in their kitchens. Just be sure, if you keep these items in the kitchen that they are far away from the oven and stove, since the heat from these appliances could harm the medications in a similar way to problems in the bathroom.
I'd love to hear idea in the comments from people sharing where they've decided to keep their medical supplies in their home, to give others ideas of what may work for them too.
When deciding where to place your pills and medicines, be mindful of safety.
Clearly, prescription medicines especially, but also over the counter varieties, can be harmful in large doses or when ingested or used by someone other than the intended recipient.
Be mindful of where you place items so small children and pets cannot accidentally ingest them. Examples of places that might work include up high in a cabinet or using a child safety latch if in a lower cabinet.
In addition, abuse of prescription and other medications is unfortunately on the rise. If this is a concern in your household you may want to go even further and put any medications which could be abused in a locked container.
Please note that this week's challenge is focusing on your main first aid kit that you keep in your home. However, smaller satellite kits may be appropriate in other places around you.
For example, when we organize our purses, or our cars or other vehicles, these are other prime locations to place a small first aid kit. You can wait until those weeks to work on these smaller kits, or go ahead and add them now.
Further, in the previous Create An Emergency Preparedness Kit Challenge we added a first aid kit to our emergency supplies.
The final step in the First Aid & Medicine Organizer Center Challenge is to actually put your medications, pills and first aid supplies into their newly designated spot, so you can find them when you need them.
Below I've gathered some medicine storage solutions you may like to use to keep things neat and organized in your center:
It is nice to keep all of your medications and supplies together on one shelf of a cabinet, for example. Instead of having everything loose it is often easier to keep things contained together in a container, or even a lazy susan to make access easier.
If you're concerned about safety, and want something that gives you the ability to lock the medicines up here are some possible storage solutions for you:
Often times if you've got a lot of prescriptions or other medication to take, at certain times of the day, it is best to keep them with you so you can take them at the right time, no matter where you are.
That is when individual pouches with a full day's supply of medication may be what you're interested in, such as the item on the far left. On the other hand, if you're traveling away from home for several days a different kind of medicine organizer, which organizes more pills, or for multiple days may be called for.
I would love to know how this week's Create a First Aid & Medicine Organizer Center Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized these items in your home in the comments below.
I also love before and after pictures of your medication organization projects, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
Lots of readers have already done this challenge. You can see the Medication Organizer Hall of Fame here with 7+ different ideas submitted by readers for how they've organized these supplies in their homes.
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the First Aid & Medicine Organizer Center Challenge this week.
However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week we'll be organizing our purses and whatever other bags we carry around regularly.
Top photo courtesy of a reader, Katrina
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!