Weekend Projects

There’s One Important Area at Home That Doesn’t Get Decluttered or Organized Enough

published Aug 30, 2019
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Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

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The worst time to discover you’re out of cough medicine is when you wake up in the middle of the night hacking and barking. And when your child is fretful with a fever is no time to rifle through the supply bin and wonder if it’s okay to use expired Tylenol.

Be prepared for your next health incident by knowing what you have and what you don’t so you can stock up as necessary. Medicine—like good health itself—is one of those things you rarely think about until you need it. But when you need it, you really need it right that minute.

Going through your medicine closet is also a matter of safety. Medication poses a risk to animals and children when it’s accessible; the less you have around, the better. Check out these guidelines from the National Library of Medicine for proper storage of medication.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This Weekend: Go through your home’s stash of medical supplies.

Go through your medicine and medical supplies, discard what’s too old, and make a list of what you need to replenish. Here’s what to do:

1. Gather all your medication in one place

Open the medicine cabinet, unpack the drawers, and pull down those storage baskets. Look for used and unused medication, but also other supplies such as bandages and antiseptic so you can see what needs restocking.

2. Sort into keep and toss piles

Once you have everything together, check expiration dates and decide whether you will keep or discard those items. For those items you’re keeping, place them back into your cabinets and drawers. If there’s anything you need to toss and/or restock, add it to a list of things to buy next time you’re at the store.

3. Dispose of medication safely

For everything you decided to toss, dispose of your medication safely. The best way to dispose of your unused or unwanted medicine is through a drug take back program. Check out Dispose My Meds to find a location near you. This applies to both prescription and over-the-counter medication.

If a drug take back location is not readily available, check the FDA flush list for medication that should be flushed in order to avoid a deadly risk to children and pets. When a drug take back program is not available, medication not on the flush list may be disposed of according to these instructions from the FDA, which recommend mixing medicine with dirt, cat litter, or coffee grounds, then disposing of them inside a zippered plastic bag in the trash.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.