My family is pretty healthy. No major illnesses. We eat pretty well, and all stay fairly active. So, no real health concerns. But kids can be accident prone. They are often not quite as cautious as we would like them to be when it comes to their own personal safety. They are not as aware of the potential dangers that are around them. So, they may have a few accidents. Maybe some bumps and bruises. Maybe something worse. And of course, there are the coughs and colds, headaches, fevers, and other annoyances that can threaten our family’s stellar “health reputation”. Not to mention those pesky “ close contact” type afflictions (like nits) that can strike an unsuspecting household hard and without warning.
So, it is always best to be prepared. And one of the best ways to do this is by having a well-stocked, well-organised medicine box. But, where should you start? Maybe you already have a place for the first aid supplies interspersed with some bandaids, Panadol® and perhaps a few creams and lotions. But what state is it in? Beautifully organised and labelled? Or, like most of us, all thrown together in a box and placed on a shelf in the pantry!
So maybe it is time to spruce things up and get that medicine box organised!
Here are the steps to help you get the clutter and disorder under control.
1. Choose your medicine box
First, you should choose your container or storage method. I prefer a large, clear plastic box with a lid, which I then can place on a high shelf in my kitchen cupboard. Or you may find that a shelf in the bathroom is better suited to your needs. The important thing is to have a spot where everything is together that is high enough so that the kids can’t reach it and accidentally use its contents as toys!
2. Start from scratch
If you already have something in place, you are best to start with a clear slate. So begin by getting everything out of your medicine box and giving it a good clean, maybe even a quick wipe with an antiseptic spray.
Next, examine each of the items you have removed. Expired items need to go straight into the bin. With them can also go those whose lids have loosened and their contents have begun to ooze. Also, anything that looks discoloured, or a bit suspect. You should also throw out anything you haven’t used in the last 6 months. If those “pre-pregnancy” vitamins are still in there, and your youngest is now at school, that is a clear sign that they need to go! So, you should also discard anything that you don’t need any more, things that are no longer appropriate or necessary for your family.
3. Take an inventory
You might want to also take an inventory of what is in there, with the view to adding in anything that is recommended, but currently missing from your collection. Especially once you have thrown out all of those expired lotions and creams!
4. Establish some order
Once you have the remaining items ready to put back in, give each of them a quick wipe with a damp cloth then dry it before putting it back. This will ensure that you start off with as clean a medicine box as possible. And make sure that all the lids are screwed on tightly to reduce the change of accidental spillage.
Then arrange your items in your container. Put the taller ones at the back, and the shorter and more frequently used items in front. This will enable you to find things at a glance. Put your small items like bandaids, cotton balls, lip balms etc, onto clear canisters which will make them a breeze to locate quickly.
5. Top up and re-stock
Analyse what you have in there and what you are missing. A busy family needs the basics like:
• pain relief – Panadol® – for adults and kids. **
• an assortment of bandages
• sterile gauze and medical tape
• antiseptic cream **
• nail clippers
• muscle cream for muscular aches and pains **
• medicine spoon/cup for measuring doses
**Check expiry date
So, if you are missing anything on this list, get yourself down to your local pharmacy and stock up. Have a think about the possible illnesses and problems which frequently occur in your family like coughs and colds, and add these in too.
So there you have it. Your medicine box can be neat and organised with only a few small tweaks, a bit of elbow grease and a ruthless attitude to eliminate anything that is out of date or no longer necessary. And if you review and update its contents regularly, it really shouldn’t take too much to maintain its organised splendour!
About the author: Pauline Delany is passionate about helping stressed, disorganised, time-poor mothers create a “life balance.” She is a mother of 4 children ranging from 11 to 20 years old. She helps busy mums become organised and move from chaos to control in their lives by reclaiming 10 hours back per week. You can follow Pauline on Facebook, her website and twitter. If you’d like to know about her services click on this link to set up a complimentary 60 minute Free Introductory Coaching Strategy Session (Valued at $197).