How to Organize the Medicine Cabinet and Find What You Need Every Time!

Last Updated on December 29, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster

Is your medicine cabinet full of expired medicine?  Have trouble finding the tweezers or thermometer?  Use these organizing tips to keep things you need within easy reach.  Learn to how to organize the medicine cabinet and you will no longer have to sort through empty bottles of cough medicine the next time you get a cold! 

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Medicine Cabinet Organizing Tips

What should I put in my medicine cabinet?

So, what exactly should you put in your medicine cabinet?  Most medications can be safely stored in the cabinet, in their original packaging.  Save the medicine cabinet space for medications that get used regularly.  Include things like pain killers, antibiotic creams, allergy medications, and other items that get used regularly. 

Don’t put things in there that you use once a year (cough medicine, etc).  Invest in a plastic storage bin with lid, fill it up, and store it in a hall closet.  You want it within easy reach but not getting in the way of the every day items.   Keep all medication in it’s original packaging. In addition,  keep those little packets of moisture absorbing silica powder in them as well. 

Organized medicine cabinet with medicine


Why Organizing the Medicine Cabinet is Important

Why should you learn how to organize the medicine cabinet?  Have you ever had a sick child at 3 AM only to realize that the medicine is expired? Yeah…that stinks, right?   In my offline life, I work as a pharmacy technician.  I get a lot of questions from my customers about over the counter products and which ones they should be stocking their medicine cabinets with. 

Like these tips for an organized medicine cabinet?  Read these organization ideas as well:

Middle aged man in front of medicine cabinet

Organizing your medicine cabinet is a chore that may seem rather dull but it is an important one to do on a regular basis.  When you or your child get sick or hurt, you want to make sure you have the appropriate products available to handle the emergency. 

An organized medicine cabinet will help ensure that medicines are not out of date.  Expired medicines are not going to help anyone if they get sick!  Once you learn how to organize the medicine cabinet, do it on a regular basis. You will never again find expired medicine in your bathroom! 

How to Organize the Medicine Cabinet

How to Organize the Medicine Cabinet

This week, tackle one of your biggest household headaches: organizing the medicine cabinet!  Organizing your medicine cabinet may not be high on your  spring cleaning priority list, however,  doing it will save you money and benefit your health in the long run. 

Start from scratch: 

Remove every single item from your medicine cabinet. Wipe down the shelves with a damp cloth.  Sometimes cough medicines or tubes of antibiotic cream can leak and leave a sticky, gross residue on the shelves.  Make sure your medicine cabinet is clean before putting things back in!  To make cleanup easier, lay down contact paper before putting things back in.

Rearrange the shelves: 

Many cabinets have adjustable shelves so you have room for taller items as well as small ones.  Usually, larger items are also heavier so you may want to place these on the bottom of the cabinet.Make the most of the room you have. 

Stock the  most used items first

When organizing your medicine cabinet, you probably are not going to be able to fit every single item you need in it.  Most medicine cabinets are just not that big.  I have an ‘overflow’ box in the hall closet where I store extras that I find on sale and items that are not used very often.  Your medicine cabinet should hold only the items you use on a regular basis.  Everything else can get stored elsewhere.  The first step of learning how to organize the medicine cabinet is to thin down how much is in there.

Medicine Cabinet Closeup

Invest in small storage containers: 

Items like cotton balls, Qtips, makeup brushes, etc can often be stored in small plastic cups or containers. They take up less room that way and make storage easier.   Check out places like The Container Store or even your local hardware store to see how you can fit more items into your medicine chest while still keeping it organized.

Group like things together: 

Keep all your cough and cold products on one shelf, your health and beauty products on another, etc.  Organize your medicine cabinet to make it easier to find what you are looking for!

Use magnets for small metal items:

One of my favorite tricks to organize your medicine cabinet is to mount small magnets on the door and wall.  Use them to hold on to tweezers, bobby pins, nail clippers, and other small, metal objects that are constantly getting lost. 


medicine pills and containers

Check expiration dates before restocking: 

Do not put a single item back in your cabinet without making sure it is not expired.  Expiration dates can be hard to find sometimes but look carefully.  Sometimes they are written on the folded end of a tube of antibiotic cream. Check near the barcode of a bottle of cough syrup.  When in doubt, throw it out!  If you can’t remember when you bought it, chances are it is probably expired.  Check out this post on NPR on how to find the expiration date of a drug. 

Make a list of everything you are throwing away.  Restock next time you are at the store.  You don’t want to be left without an important medicine when you really need it! Use small adhesive labels to write the expiration date on so you don’t need to go find your glasses the next time you need to check.

Learning how to organize your medicine cabinet NOW means that when you actually get sick, you can find what you need to feel better fast! Have any other tips on how to organize the medicine cabinet?  Share your medicine cabinet ideas in the comments section below! Need to do more home organizing?  Check out these kitchen organization tips!




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  1. We use little baskets and sort them by type (colds, wound care, allergy, stomach, etc.). Works great when you need to find something right away!
  2. Great tips! I just recently did this in my cabinet and it makes a HUGE difference!
  3. Kim Croisant says
    First thing I saw were the cute red flowers in your medicine cabinet. What a great idea.
  4. Raijean S says
    Love this! Can someone please come an organize mines. It's a mess but I'm going to work on it this week
  5. You gave some great ideas. I was just thinking the other day that this is really something I need to do, it's getting hard to find things in there.

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