I tackle the task of cleaning out our medicine cabinets every 6 months. I don’t know how so many things accumulate in this not-so-big place in the house! After emptying the entire cabinet, I checked all medication and creams for expiration dates and set to determine what must be in there and what can be stored elsewhere. Let’s start with what SHOULD NOT be stored in there, especially if you have children
What Should NOT Be Stored in Your Medicine Cabinet
- Medications: This is an obvious one. Aside from the fact that a child can somewhat easily climb onto the countertop and get into the cabinet if they really wanted to, childproof tops are not always 100% childproof. (Although there has been a cap or two that was definitely adult-proof.) Also, if your medicine cabinet is in a bathroom with a shower or tub, the steamy atmosphere (from the water running people – get your heads out of the gutter), is not conducive for most medications. In most cases, the optimum storage temperature will be noted on the bottle itself. Store any medications – over-the-counter and prescribed in a lock box. I’ve come to the conclusion that this cabinet should not be called a medicine cabinet after all.
What Should Be in a Well-Stocked Medicine Cabinet
- Toothbrushes and Toothpaste: Think about it. You brush your teeth with this brush, then plop it in a toothbrush holder or lay it on the countertop. That brush is meant to go in your mouth and clean your teeth, gums and tongue. BUT you are also flushing the toilet in that same room, with bacteria escaping from the toilet with each flush. I don’t mean to conjure up a gross visual, but it’s true. You could also get a toothbrush holder that encases the brush bristles, protecting them from what’s floating around in the air, as another option if your kids are too small to reach up and inside the cabinet.
- Adhesive Bandages: I was going to entitle this one “Band-Aids”. It’s one of those products that, even if it is not manufactured by that particular brand, you still call it that – like Kleenex for tissues or Q-tips for q-tips (haha cotton swabs, I know…). You never know when someone is going to get a scratch or cut, so these are especially important to have around. There are so many different brands and designs you could go crazy, but they do help protect the cut from infection (along with my favorite Neosporin spray – Neo to Go). You’d be surprised how many adhesive bandages you go through when you have kids…even more than the amount of bumps and bruises they get. There is a phase I feel that almost every child goes through where they try to “find” a boo-boo so they could get a bandage, and next thing you know they are covered in Mickey Mouse/Buzz Lightyear/Minions/Frozen bandages. I contemplated investing in Band-Aid brand at around that time since I felt like I was supporting them between the two boys.
- Thermometer: This is a great place to store your thermometer, along with the disposable sleeves or covers depending on the type of thermometer you have. Why is this a great place? When you feel under the weather or you feel your child’s forehead and it seems a bit warmer than normal and you get a bit nervous thinking that he/she may be getting sick, you will know where to go – the medicine cabinet! Speaking of thermometers, have you seen the forehead thermometers? I want one! You don’t have to stick it anywhere (for little babies some pediatricians to recommend you do check the body temp “that” way) and it’s great when you want to check the little one’s temp but you won’t wake them up if they are sleeping. Here are two that got great reviews:
- Sunscreen: Even if you don’t live in a perpetually sunny place, sunscreen application should be part of everyone’s daily routine. The best way to remember to apply? Place it in your medicine cabinet nearby your toothbrush and toothpaste. Placing it in a dark, cool place can also help it to last a bit longer too!
- Ointments: I have my Neosporin (mentioned above) right next to my bandages in the medicine cabinet. It’s the most logical place because more times than not, I want to put hydrocortisone or some form of ointment before applying the Minion bandage. Note: if you have little ones that you feel would get into the cabinet and tamper with the ointments, I’d recommend locking it in the medicine lock box mentioned above. Better to be safe than sorry!
- Nail clippers: Bathrooms are perfect for grooming, so keep a nail clipper and maybe an emory board or two inside the cabinet.
- Tweezers: Perfect for taking out splinters, tweezers are sometimes hard to find in my makeup drawer so I have a spare in the medicine cabinet. Now to get my boys to sit still without pulling their hand that has the splinter away from me 5,000x times before they finally give in…that’s what the toilet is for. You are going to need somewhere to sit because it’s going to take a long time.
Back to the article, sorry! Obviously, if you have little ones you want to be more cautious with whatever is in reach of their little hands. What do you store in your medicine cabinet?