An Expert Explains The Best Way To Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

The medicine cabinet is a crucial storage area in every home. Whether the storage space is contained in the bathroom or placed in a kitchen cabinet, organizing it is a must for any homeowner. Prevention reports that an organized medicine cabinet can help keep you healthy and ensure that you aren't taking expired prescriptions or over-the-counter supplements. Although it is sometimes advised to avoid keeping medication in this space, it can store some of your most often-used toiletries and therefore requires frequent cleaning and organization. 

In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Stephanie Y. Deininger, MBA, CPO, and Founder of The Organized Flamingo, provides her expert opinion and tips on all things medicine cabinet organization. While it is easy to get lazy when this space begins showing signs of increased clutter, Deininger suggests vigilance in your cabinet for the best possible experience in the bathroom and through your daily rituals.

Determine daily or less frequent use

The foundation of an organized storage space lies in its usage. "First, I would recommend deciding what you want to use the medicine cabinet for and how often you will be opening it," Deininger advises. "The question to ask yourself is: Does this cabinet hold items you use in your daily routine or is this a cabinet that gets opened as needed but not every day?"

"This is going to be an important part of organizing your cabinet. If you are using it on a daily basis, you will be looking for practicality and ease. If the cabinet is used once in a while, then you will need a well-labeled system," she adds. Beginning with the basics allows you to recreate the storage space in a way that will add value to your life and home. If this question feels tricky, it might be worth considering where it's located. A guest bathroom will be used far less frequently in many households than the one located off the master suite.

Take everything out and clean the cabinet

Once you've established what your medicine cabinet is used for, the next step is to clean the space. Deininger suggests removing everything from the interior in order to start fresh. "This includes any back stock you may have somewhere else. A clean slate feels so good to have as a starting point, especially in bathroom areas. It also gives you an opportunity to see everything you have and start the sort and declutter process," she notes.

"This step is necessary if it's been over a year since you have gone through your medicine cabinet area. Items expire and lose their potency, so you want to take a look at that — and the fastest way to see everything that you have is to take it out and get an overview of everything," she adds. This is even more important for certain items housed in the bathroom. "Medicine and well being items tend to expire in a shorter time frame so I'd recommend doing a clean up every three to six months," Deininger says.

Sort and declutter

After all your items are removed from the cabinet and the surfaces are clean, it's time to put everything back. However, the organization process isn't complete with a casual replacement of the items that started on its shelves. "When it comes to the decluttering process, be ruthless. A medicine cabinet is supposed to serve as the location where you find items for your well being and/or beauty. A place that is clean and easy to find items when you need them is important and inspiring," Deininger notes.

"Due to the typical size of a medicine cabinet this is not the area you want to keep back stock. This is the area you want to keep active items, so keep that in mind when you are sorting and decluttering," she adds. Many bathrooms will provide this easy-to-access area for the most used items and under-sink storage or closet space for additional toiletries, medicine, and other items. Being objective about your typical usage needs will help you keep the medicine cabinet free of clutter and stocked in a way that promotes efficiency.

Contain items in a way that makes them easy to get to

Keeping your items on the shelves can work in a pinch, but it's certainly not the most effective way to manage your medicine cabinet. Instead, Deininger offers a simple solution that promotes function over form. "Getting containers that are stylish usually comes second to practicality. Anything you are using every day or for your well-being should be easy to use and get to and not only for looks," she says.

She adds, "Contain the items based on how often you use them. Some people like to use magnetic backings to keep the items easy to see or in practical small containers, for example." As well, "don't just sort based on similarity, like all headache medicine goes together," she notes. "Think about your daily routine and how you use these items (maybe your morning items will go together and your evening items will be grouped together)." Considering your personal needs will make your space more organized and easier to use on a daily basis. This ease of access translates into greater positivity throughout the day, too. Therefore, the effect of an organized bathroom storage space is substantial.