How To: Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Less is more.

If leaves fall off of trees in order for them to grow again, how come nothing falls out of our apartments?

If we were good, we’d already be thinking about Spring Cleaning and maybe even taking on the Eight Step Cure, but here’s one local challenge for Bathroom Month that will only take 2 hours: the medicine cabinet.

Oh boy, can you FEEL the excitement? Here’s our step by step guide to slaying this small dragon….

No one we know thinks they have a BIG enough medicine cabinet, even though we have seen some huge ones. Why? Because this space is never cleaned regularly and not many are comfortable tossing old cremes and medicines that aren’t being used, but were valuable once upon a time.

“Hey, I might need that!”

If you were to keep everything you might NEED in your life, you would have live in a warehouse. LET IT GO.

This week the goal is to deep clean your medicine cabinet so that
a. the doors shut without bumping into something,
b. the surfaces are not oily or hair collecting, and
c. you have empty space again, just like when you moved in.

Medicine Cabinet Cleaning – 2 Hours

1. Open or remove doors from cabinet.

2. Remove entire contents, dividing into major categories such as health, beauty, first aid, his, hers, etc. and one more: the Outbox. This is where you put everything that hasn’t been touched or used in over 12 months, has expired, you have doubles of or could just plain be replaced. The Outbox is not a garbage. If, at the end of this process, you wish to bring something back, you may.

3. Clean entire cabinet, scrubbing (or repainting) every surface so that it is like new.

4. Replace all items grouped by category making sure that at least 10% of the cabinet is empty space. If not, you must get rid of more. Make it pretty. Enjoy this part.

5. Clean and replace doors to cabinet.

6. Evaluate Outbox to see if anything can’t go. Bring back anything needed provided you don’t violate #4, the 10% rule. Don’t use your medicine cabinet for deep storage. The pharmacy is always around the corner.

7. Toss, recycle or give away the Outbox.

8. Mix yourself a martini and pat yourself on the back. You don’t need to do this again for another 364 days.


(ReEdited from 2004-09-20 – MGR)