Helping Aging Parents

 

One of the most challenging things to do in our adult lives will be dealing with our aging parents. Many of us are sandwiched between elderly parents and young children. Nearly half of adults in their 40’s have a parent age 70 or older and we are also either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child. Take a breath ‘cuz it’s a lot to handle!

It’s time to face the reality and be as well equipped as possible to deal with the responsibilities that come with caring for parents and children simultanously.

Besides dealing with the usual unknowns of daily life, taking care of our parents may quickly become a daily responsibility. One of the hardest things to do will be to convince a parent to move out of their long-time home or get the care they need. Often they get to a point where they cannot live on their own and they will need more support.

Here are a few basic tips to use and to help things stay in perspective while in this extremely difficult process.

IMPORTANT ITEMS TO DISCUSS:

CAREGIVING – Caregiving is a family affair. Often the child who lives closest to the parent is going to handle most of the burden simply because of proximity. It is important to gather your brothers, sisters, children and uncles and aunts together to address an ailing loved ones needs. It is good to have a meeting and discuss the problem, without the parent present, and be realistic about the situation.

THE FUTURE: It’s never too early to start to have regular conversations about what the future holds. Approach it as your problem instead of your parent’s problem, If you tell them ‘you have to do this, or do that’, you’ll lose them. Instead say something like, ‘Mom, I’m concerned about you; it makes me worried to see you like this.'” Share your concerns from YOUR perspective and try to get a plan in place.

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POWER OF ATTORNEY: Important items to address include financial issues and who will act as the elder’s durable power of attorney for health care. “One of the most important things is to decide who will make the critical decisions,”. Typically a family approach is recommended where one capable person be appointed as the elder’s primary advocate. This person, whether a son or daughter or adult grandchild, should be in charge of financial decisions and act as the elder’s durable power of attorney for health care.

FINAL WISHES:

Although difficult, take the time to talk to your parent(s) about their final wishes. Do they have plans already made or do they avoid the discussion like the plague? The more you know, the less you have to worry about the “what if’s”. Traditions, buriel/cremation plans, financial situations and any other wishes should be discussed and ideally documented.

The more open and honest everyone is the better the outcome. This is often a challenging time for most families but you need to try and look at the bright side. Life is short, the people that drive you crazy are the ones you’re going to miss the most!

Try to stay present, get support, communicate effectively (not emotionally) and be grateful every day.  It’s also good to keep in mind the way you treat/talk about your parents in front of your children. They are also learning about caring for people and what they see from you sets the tone for their general compassion.

Try to come from a place of love. This is what being an adult is all about!

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REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

It’s already February! Well basically. It’s January 31.

How did that happen so fast?

Here we are in 2016. Our kids are older and changing every day. We’re older. We’re finally settled into the new year and the holidays feel like a distant memory.

As we have thoughtfully planed for the year ahead, many of us may have high expectations for ourselves (not to mention our kids!). There’s probably so much going on in your life right now that you need to STOP for one moment and take a breath.

We want to accomplish all we set out to do. But first, we must set ourselves up for greatness and success. Let’s start by evaluating our (often overwhelming) expectations.

Be realistic and respectful of yourself. What are your goals? Can you just make a sudden shift and turn tired old habits into new productive ones? Or, do you need to make shifts more gradually with a lot of support?

I personally like to set goals. Goals can be set small or high but there is less pressure attached to the idea of a goal, than making an “instant” shift. Know your patterns. Set smaller, easily attainable goals that will eventually lead you to the bigger accomplishments you want to make down the road. They also keep me focused.

Here are my goals for 2016:

  • Exercise at least 30-50 minutes/ 4-5 days a week
  • Take my vitamins daily and be more conscious of “white food” intake. Eat more veggies!
  • Take classes.
  • Meet new people and try new things.
  • Have lower expectations of others & try to not take things personally.
  • Practice gratitude.

I have many other things I want to accomplish (photography classes, sustainable gardening, learning another language, getting my Nutritionist certification…) but I feel these few are the most important to get me in a good head space. I have simplified all of my goals into these six “self-improvement” goals, this way, I am setting myself up for success. The more success I have, the more likely I am to set and maintain higher goals down the road.

Most importantly be nice to yourself! If you are making positive changes and listening to your inner voice, you will feel so good! Be your best self and give yourself a pat on the back for making any positive changes in your life.

If you can simplify your life one goal at a time, you cannot fail. Take one step at a time and believe in yourself. You are the master of your choices!

Blessings and love,

Stacy

Good Morning!

Let’s face it, we could all use a better routine in the morning. Mornings are tough for most of us. With spouses, kids and jobs it’s amazing we get anywhere on time some days!

But, the good news is that I am here to make your morning a little less stressfulI! I have put together some simple tips that are very easy to implement into your morning routine. Creating just a few new habits will help you to easily get out the door and onto a productive, successful day.

If all you take from this is one new habit at all, I would highly suggest getting prepared the night before. This applies for you and your kids and really helps cut down on wasted time in the morning therefor reducing overall stress. Here are a few of the things I do that help me have easier mornings;

  1. Lay out your clothes/kids clothes the night before. This is especially helpful so your not searching for an appropriate outfit for a meeting with your boss, an important interview or a workout with a friend.
  2. Plan breakfast and coffee the night before. Put out anything you can ahead of time (cereal, oatmeal, fruit…) and set your coffee maker.
  3. If your going to work out, plan this the night before. If you are taking a class, make sure you know what time it starts and when to get there so your prepared (and get a good spot). Some people even suggest sleeping in your gym clothes so you’re REALLY ready to go!
  4. Get ready to go. Have everything by the door the night before, kids backpacks, keys, sunglasses, purse, important papers etc.

Another important habit to follow is, DO NOT HIT SNOOZE!  Try to get up at least 15 minutes earlier than you know you have to. Unless you have a tremendous amount of self control, try not to look at your phone (I know this is a tough one) but this can turn into a HUGE time trap really throwing you off schedule. If your phone is your alarm clock, turn it off and put it down once awake. GET UP AND MOVE!

In terms of self care, the earlier you get yourself ready, the more time you have to monitor your time. Once your up, get done what you need to. For some this may be shower, make-up and full hair, others maybe just brushing their teeth and splashing cold water on their face. Whatever your routine is, try to be prepared ahead of time by keeping your bathroom as clutter-free as possible. Get dressed and get your nourishment for the day.

TIME TO EAT-Keep breakfast simple, but make sure not to skip it. If you prepare the night before this will ensure you leave the house with something to eat (even a banana or apple is better than nothing).

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If you drive to work, use your Bluetooth to roll calls. Set up your phone with numbers you frequently dial so you can just give a voice command and be connected. NO TEXTING! If you take the train or subway, try to get your e-mails or any other computer work done while en route. The more you get done early on, the more time you will have throughout the day.

Building a routine that gives you a calm, efficient, organized morning can be a difficult task. It is definitely a matter of trial and error. Try a few of these tip and let me know if it helps you! I’d love to hear any other suggestions too.

Have a beautiful day! xo

 

YOU in December

It’s back! December is here!

The holidays are often met with mixed feelings. Joy, excitement, anticipation, stress and expectations all play a part. While constantly thinking of other people, during this month of gratitude and giving, it is easy to lose sight of ourselves.

To stay healthy and not get burned out, try to keep things in perspective. Take a moment to really identify what this time means to you. What holiday traditions are important to YOU and your immediate family? What are you obligated to do and what are your main obstacles?

Assess your situation and be realistic about your commitments. Bottom line, don’t over commit yourself. Politely decline anything you truly do not want to be a part of. Holidays are sure to stir up emotions, but if you remind yourself about what’s important to you and stay true to yourself, you’ll be sure to get the most out of the holiday season.

Naturally, as an organizer, I LOVE lists! Lists are crucial to help me stay on task and keep things from overcrowding my brain at night when I’m trying to unwind. Stay organized this season by making a few lists. Tons of free, printable lists are available on sites like Pinetrest. Utilize these free offerings! You can also print out a December calendar page and keep a month-at- a-glance sheet for easy visibility of the whole month. To keep all Holiday lists together use a binder or designate one space to keep things together. Here are a few examples of lists I use to keep track of my TO-DO’s and DONES!

List #1- Events you will be attending and guests you will be hosting.  Include travel plans, school performances, visiting relatives and holiday parties & gatherings.

List #2 – Gifts. Write down all the people you will be buying for (or already have gifts for-then you can check them off and feel productive!) and the dates you will be seeing them. If you need to ship their gifts, have them all ready to go and make one trip to the post office and get them all off at once. Don’t forget teachers, house cleaners, babysitters, toutors & hair stylists that are a regular part of your family’s life. Count up the total number of gifts you need to buy and check off as you go.

List #3 – Keep everything you need access to (from decorations to gift wrapping) stored in the same, convenient area. Spend a few dollars to buy containers that close well and hold items better. Keep all gifts and wrapping in one place (some hidden of course!) including gift tags, tape, scissors etc.

List #4 – Ways you can give back to your community. Think of ways to give to those in need. Lead by example and educate your children about the realities of the communities we live in. Encourage them to give their time helping someone in need or donate their outgrown toys or clothes. This is sure to give them a sense of gratitude and appreciation for all they possess. You may be surprised by their reaction.

This year, vow to take care of you. If you are a busy parent keep it simple and make thoughtful choices about how to spend your time and money. Be present and give where it’s really needed. That is the BEST gift you can give yourself.

Have a beautiful month and give yourself a pat on the back for another great year in this often trying world of being a spouse, parent, child, friend and woman of the world!

With love,

Stacy

Books

One thing I know for sure is that everyone I adore loves their books. We can’t seem to let go of them even after we’ve read them. I mean who doesn’t love curling up in a comfy chair and reading a favorite novel?

That being said, there is a fine line between holding on to favorite books and letting “collections” become out of control. Perhaps we all have a fantasy in our heads that one day we might have a library of our very own? Or, maybe we keep them to remind ourselves of our accomplishments? All those great books we’re holding on to from College Psychology textbooks to Fifty Shades of Grey. We’ve already read them (or plan to) so why are we hanging on to them and letting them clutter our space?

The reason is simple. Books are associated with knowledge. We want to be considered knowledgeable and by showcasing all the books we’ve acquired (read, plan to read, gifted or looked through) we can feel productive and scholarly. Maybe we miss the person we once were and having the books surround you keeps you in your nostalgic space. Whatever reason, it’s time to take inventory.

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Just the idea of organizing your books can be overwhelming. Your book collection is very personal, filled with favorites you cherish, childhood classics, cookbooks and how-to’s you use for reference repeatedly.

And then, there’s the rest: the books you bought at the airport, the one your book club briefly mentioned at last month’s meeting, the one your friend lent you on the beach last summer and, of course, all the books you’ve bought and intend to read but have not. Truth the reality is, if you haven’t already read it, you are not going to. Really.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone should have a nice collection but, it really must be maintained and curated.

So, now that you’re willing to part with a few, how do you know what books to keep and what to get rid of?

I have put together  a few basic guidelines to help you. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Reference Books (Cookbooks, Dictionaries, handbooks etc.) If it’s a book that you  use, can pass down to a child, or has sentimental or monetary value and you still want it – keep it.
  • If you LOVE it – keep it.
  • If it’s tattered, torn, you’ve already  – donate it.
  • If it’s taking up space and you haven’t read it – donate it.
  • Not sure?  Put it in a box in your basement and if you don’t come back to it in 6 months – it can go

WHERE TO DONATE:

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Bag or box up all books to donate. There are several venues that will accept used books:

  • Libraries (Public and school)
  • Charitable organizations
  • Senior centers
  • Local book drives

Ideally you want to do your book purge in one day (or a few days depending on how many books you have), but if that’s simply not possible, take a 1/2 hour here and there. Every book you let go of is a great accomplishment!

I know this is a difficult, emotional task for many of you! I feel your pain! But, I promise, if you do your purging calmly and thoughtfully, there will be no regrets.

So, how many can you get rid of? The challenge is on!

xo

 

Purging Kids Clothes

If you’ve got kids, you’ve got clothes. TONS of clothes! And as your kids grow, all those little pants, tops and dresses just keeps multiplying! As clothes begin to take over their rooms, drawers and closets, it’s time for you to take back control.

In an ideal world, we would all have the time to go through our kids clothes, shoes and sports uniforms and discard what is no longer needed on a regular basis. But, let’s face it, life as a parent is way too crammed with activities that we barely have time to take a shower let alone organizing our kids socks!

Here are a few basic steps to help you on your way to retain control and set up systems to help you keep on top of their clothes BEFORE they take over their rooms.

Find a common item to tackle and don’t stray. For example, if your child has overflowing drawers in his or her room, start there, in the room, next to the dresser.

  1. Grab some empty bags or boxes. Trash bags or store bags with handles work fine for donation items.
  2. Label the bags and/or boxes KEEP, DONATE, RECYCLE & TOSS
  3. Dump EVERYTHING out. Even if you think you’ve looked through there recently, do it anyway.
  4. Go through piece by piece.
  5. Dispose of accordingly

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I know this may be hard, but try to be mindful in this process. Be SELECTIVE about what you are keeping. Use your best judgment.

Anything too small should be donated and anything stained or torn should be tossed.

If you have hand-me-downs that don’t quite fit, go through those and take out what you want, place in a box or bag and label with the clothing size and or/season. Store extra items in child’s closet (or garage if there is no room).

IF you have items to pass on to family or friend, make a separate pile and be sure to plan delivery of said items in the immediate future so they don’t accidentally get donated, tossed or mixed back in with the keepers. Place in a labeled bins or boxes and make arrangements to drop off as soon as possible.

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On to the organization part:

  • Take all the KEEPERS and put back in categories. Shorts, dresses, tee’s. pants, swim, athletic… All like items together in their place.
  • You can also use dividers in the drawers to customize and maximize the space.

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  • Next, take ALL DONATIONS down to your car and drop off (or schedule a pick-up) ASAP!
  • TOSS unwanted items in the trash.

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve now set your child up for a streamlined wardrobe, one that he/she can easily navigate.

With kids, it really is less = more. The less they have to choose from the easier it will be for them to make decisions. Often while trying to empower our children we end up overwhelming them with too many choices.

Take the time to do this on a regular basis; I suggest every three-four months if your kids are under ten. Mark it down on your calendar and make it a priority. Cleaning and going through your kids stuff on a regular basis is part of being a parent. Think about it as taking inventory. Now you know what items are where when you need to find them.

You’ve also done a good deed and potentially helped someone else by donating. In addition, this sets a good example for your kids to learn about being charitable and not excessive.

Now your kids will find it so much easier to get dressed when you’ve eliminated the things they don’t wear. This leads to happier more harmonious mornings for everyone!  Remember, LESS IS MORE!!! xo

 

 

 

Homework “HELP!”

Welcome back! Today we are talking about homework. Now that school is back in session, your kids are probably bringing home lots and lots of papers. These papers seem to be taking over your life! Everything from important information, class syllabi, forms to sign, school calendars, menus, scholastic book forms, and, best of all, the ever-dreaded homework has found its way into your home!

Well, before you tear all your hair out, I have a few basic tips to help you stay on top of all those papers and help your kids develop a positive attitude and make homework time a little easier.

Depending on their age, ability and temperament, all kids have different challenges when it comes to getting homework done. One of the best ways to get children to improve their homework organization skills is by establishing a routine. Be consistent. If they learn to do the same thing each day, they will develop the skills to become more independent and get their homework and projects done in a timely manner.

First, designate one place for homework. A “Homework Station” if you will. Identify a clean, well-lit, non-distracting area for your kids to do their homework. We use our kitchen table and nearby desk where the main computer and printer are. Large tables in common areas are perfect for doing homework. If you set your kids up in their rooms you may not be able to monitor what they are actually doing. Again, this depends on their age, how many distractions are in the rest of house and their own level of focus. If they are self-regulated and good at working independently, then their room may just be the best spot for them to get their assignments done.

Whichever area you choose, keep it well stocked. Have plenty of paper (printer, college ruled, construction, graph…), pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, index cards, extra folders and notebooks, tape, rulers, stapler, printer ink… organized and accesible. If you are always prepared with basic (of which there are many) supplies, your kids will know that you see their work as a priority and you won’t have to run out at midnight to get necessary items.

Store important school information in ONE PLACE. Use a filing system or extra bins and shelving for current projects and important papers. If you don’t have any shelving space available, you can purchase a number of portable storage bins anywhere from Target or office supply stores to Pottery Barn.

Papers with passwords to classroom sites, upcoming field trip forms, after-school enrichment schedules and anything else that you need to frequently look at, can be tacked onto a bulletin board or kept in a file (I tape mine onto the inside of my desk cabinet doors). It is so important to have ONE PLACE for everything school related to “live”. This way, things don’t go missing or get lost.

Set-up a backpack home. In your homework station area, include a place for their backpacks to live. I simply put up hooks next to the table where they do their work. Create a routine with them so when they come home, they empty their backpacks, set out their work and hang their backpacks up in their designated place. When homework is complete, they put everything back in their backpacks and are ready and prepared for the next school day. This is super-helpful for getting their things ready for the next morning. They know exactly where everything is and are ready to “Grab & Go”.

We have had the same after school routine for the past 5 years and it works very well for us.

  1. Arrive home, hang backpacks and take out work.
  2. Wash hands (and change clothes if necessary) and have a snack.
  3. Homework-starting with most challenging or time-consuming assignment
  4. Sport or instrument practice
  5. Dinner
  6. Shower (or bath) read and bed.

This routine has worked very well for our family. Obviously things come up and this may not be practical every day. But if you set yourself up and try to be consistent I assure you homework time will be a MUCH more pleasent experience for everyone involved!

Organized Lunch Packing

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For us, school starts tomorrow. Many of your kids may not go back tomorrow but within the next few weeks we will all have to face the dreaded, daily lunch packing challenge! Being prepared is crucial to staying organized for this daily task. Here are a few tips to make the process easier and maybe even a little bit fun!

  1. Involve your kids. Sit down with your kids ahead of time to plan out some good balanced lunch options. Use the simple guidelines below to create yummy and healthy snack/lunch ideas that are easy to pack. Pay attention to what they like. If you’re just packing what you think they should eat, it will probably just get thrown out. Work with them to create a lunch they will actually eat and give them the energy they need to get through the day.
  2. Make lunch cards. Grab some index cards and write down their lunch options. Create at least 5 different, balanced lunches on paper. Involve your kids in this process. Now that you have your lunches planned out, they can select which one they want for the next day. Keep cards clipped on the fridge or in an accessible jar or bin in the kitchen. Pick a card, pack it up, throw in a water and you’re set to go!
  3. Make their lunch the day before. I always pack their lunches after I empty out the lunch box they brought home that day. After school, have them empty out their lunch box and set it on the counter. Depending on their age, they can pack it themselves or you can do it together. Store packed lunch in the fridge. In the morning put an ice pack in to keep things cool.
  4. Be prepared: They may not be the healthiest but buy some pre-packed snacks so they are easy to just throw in. Coupled with some protein, fresh fruit and veggies these are fine in moderation and make lunch making a whole lot easier. Some good options are: yogurt tubes, string cheese, chips or Goldfish, hummus with pretzels, crackers, KIND bars, Z bars… You get the idea. You can also pre-pack fruits and veggies. Carrots, celery, cucumber, frozen grapes, tangerine slices etc. pre-packed in baggies will stay fresh a few days in the fridge. Keep these items stocked and stored together in the fridge or pantry. Let everyone know those are for lunches and off-limits while at home.
  5. Have supplies handy. Make sure you have a few good lunch boxes, water bottles, baggies, spoons, forks and plastic containers with lids on hand. There are so many options and many reusable baggies and containers to use too. Know what works for your child. If he/she is always losing his/her expensive water bottle and lunch box, try a paper bag, disposable baggies and store-bought plastic water bottles.
  6. Send love. Have a few cute “love” notes already cut out to pop in for your little cutie! Pinterest has some awesome “lunch box note” printables available for free. No matter how old your child is, seeing a little note from you will always put a smile on their face!

Be realistic. Staying organized is really just some thoughtful thinking and planning ahead. If you turn this “chore” into a habit, involve your kids and have the right items on hand, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and your kids will be well nourished and able to focus in class.

So…pack on CHEERS to a great, first week back at school!352bb167cde8da81a21f0d5dc29b3b8c

Mail Control Center

Let’s face it, one of the most common organizing challenges (to those of us who reside at an address) is mail.

Surprisingly, in this day and age, paper mail is still a DAILY occurrence. If you don’t have a handle on it, it can easily take over your home. Useless, unwanted mail, combined with potentially important mail, can pile up in your entryway, kitchen, office-space, bedrooms and eventually, spill all over the floor. Coming home to piles of mail in your space is enough to make you want to run back the other way!

The reason this happens is because learning how to manage mail is a daunting, organizing task. With mail, you can’t just visually organize it. You’ve got to read and touch EVERY document in order to pay, correspond, file or discard. If you’ve let it get out of control it can be pain-stakingly, time-consuming and become a much avoided task and in-turn a growing problem.

BUT… here is the good news. You CAN and WILL learn to manage your mail with a few basic tweaks in your daily routine. So, let’s get right to it and get you back in control NOW!

  • Overall, the NUMBER ONE TIP towards mail management is; cut down on the amount of paper coming into your home. Sign up for Paperless Billing with whatever companies you can. Many businesses even offer incentives to do this. Most banking websites offer e-bills where you can pay all your bills with a click of a button through your online account. Set up via your online banking account or contact your bank for further assistance.
  • Reduce the amount of mail you receive by stopping the influx of JUNK MAIL. It is relentless. I swear if I am ever lost, the Pottery Barn catalog will find me first. Take a few moments to contact the customer service number on the back of the catalog and call them to tell them you no longer want to receive their catalogs. Believe me, everything is online now so you don’t need a paper catalog to look through if you want something. Cutting down on the amount of junk mail you receive will cut the amount of time you spend managing your mail. Less mail = more time.
  • SET ASIDE TIME FOR MAIL SORTING. Most people sort through mail while walking in the door after work and often stop in the middle to deal with a kid, answer the phone or turn their attention to what’s for dinner. Resist the urge to manage mail until you have the time and attention to give to this task. Take 10 minutes a day to go through your mail. I like to do this OVER THE RECYCLING BIN. I immediately sort the mail into categories and discard what I don’t need in the recycling bin. The rest should be opened then and there and put into their proper places. Ideally you should have one spot where you pay your bills. I have a desktop filing system so as I pay my bills (online) I can then file that bill away in it’s proper file. Other items that I can’t take care of immediately, I put them in my TO DO file which I check every few days or so.
  • Have the right tools to discard of, recycle, or respond to your mail. Nothing fancy, but have the following at hand:
    • Shredder – Anything with identifying information beyond your name and address should be shred and not tossed. Plan to shred every few weeks. Keep “to shred” items in a folder and when it fills up, shred away.
    • Recycling Bin – Most mail can be recycled immediately (think: coupons, fliers, announcements, catalogs…).
    • Filing System & Calendar – Keep track of dates you need to pay bills or for the mail you need to take action on in the future. File in proper marked folders when completed.

If you have A LOT to shred and can’t bear the idea of doing it all yourself, many places like Fed Ex and Kinko’s offer shredding services. They charge by the pound (usually between 70-90 cents) but if you have a large amount of mail with your name on it, this is a great option. Spending $30. on  2 large trash bags filled with papers to be shredded is definitely worth not having to sit over a shredder for 2 hours.

Remember, it is never too late to start new habits. Getting control of the mail is a sure way to help you feel more organized, pay your bills on time and help you control who you get mail from. Plus, 10 minutes a day is nothing when rewarded with the feeling of having a handle over what’s coming into your home! Get online and set yourself up for success today!

Accessible Medications

One very important thing to keep organized is your medications.

It is crucial to stay current with these in case of emergency. Especially with kids or elderly people in your home you want to know that you have everything you need in case of an emergency.

With just a few, simple steps you too can be super organized and will no longer  have expired meds, vitamins and ointments taking up space in your medicine cabinets. So gather all your meds, first-aid kits, band-aids and vitamins and lets get started!

FIRST:

Asses your situation:

Where are all of your meds? In case of emergency, do you have everything you need in one place? If not start by gathering all meds and first-aid items, including band-aids and emergency items such as Epi-Pens or Antihistamines.

You should now think about WHERE you take your vitamins and meds and keep them in one container in that room. You can use items like plastic shoe boxes, small lazy susans or drawer organizers or whatever you may have to consolidate like items together.

I like to keep our daily vitamins and meds in the kitchen so I can take them and give to my kids at breakfast. Any meds or vitamins I take at night, I keep that in my night-stand drawer and I keep all First Aid items and extra supplies in our hall linen closet in labeled bins:

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NEXT:

Gather ALL meds, first aid items, creams and vitamins. Go through all items one by one reading the dates and the pertinent information.

Any expired meds and creams should be put into one “discard” pile. Any medications you no longer use or were for a past infection or illness should also be put into the discard pile.

Take all other like items and store together in the place you will be using them. Organize by type and label for easy accessibility.

FINALLY

Getting rid of the expired stuff:

There are many improper ways to dispose of meds, like tossing in the trash or flushing down the toilet. Here is what I like to do to insure they don’t get into the wrong hands or filtered into our water system.

According to the FDA, they give the following suggestions when throwing out expired, unwanted, or unused medicines:

  • Some pharmacies have Medicine Take-Back Programs, if you have a large number of meds to dispose of, I suggest finding a pharmacy that offers this.
  • If you choose to dispose of items at home:
    • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
    • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
    • Throw the container in your household trash.

Before throwing out your empty pill bottles or other labeled packaging, remember to scratch out (or tear off) all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

In regards to expired liquids and syrups, these can be poured down the drain. Expired creams can safely be tossed in the trash.

Please take the time to do this. It is so important to take inventory on a yearly basis. You do not want to be caught unprepared.

Cheers to your health!