Day 10: Expired Medications {31 Days of Easy Decluttering} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 10: Expired Medications {31 Days of Easy Decluttering}

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10: Expired Medications {31 Days of Easy Decluttering}

Welcome back to 31 Days of Easy Decluttering!  If you've missed any of the previous posts, there are links to all of them at the end of this post.

Today's Easy Decluttering Project

Today we're decluttering expired medications.  Unless you are very vigilant about tossing medications before their expiration dates, chances are you have several bottles in your medicine cabinet that should be disposed of.

You're not alone though.  Apparently at the last DEA National Prescription Take-Back Day in April, over 371 tons of prescription medications were collected from the public!  That's a lot of unused medications. I haven't found stats for Canada, but with most pharmacies taking back expired medications, I'm sure lots of have been collected as well.

It's important not to take any medications after their expiry date because their chemical composition has changed and they may have become more or less potent.  It's also important to properly dispose of expired medications to protect the environment and keep the people or animals in your home or neighbourhood safe.

Plus, it will be easier to find what you need in your medicine cabinet if it's not cluttered with expired medication bottles.

Easy Decluttering Steps

Throughout the series, you'll follow these steps to complete each daily task.  {Don't forget to take before and after pictures to share too!}

Note: The main purpose of this series is to declutter so don't get overwhelmed doing too much cleaning.  Once your house is less cluttered it will be easier to clean so you can always come back and do it later!

Also, if you have the time, you can organize the space while you're doing this step, but don't get overwhelmed with too much organizing this month.  We're focused on decluttering!

Purging Tips for Your Expired Medications

Follow the steps listed above, and use these tips as you purge (step #5) your medications:

  • Gather all the medications in your home (medicine cabinet, first aid kits, purse, car, bedside table, etc.)
  • Check each bottle or package for the expiry date {Note: sometimes it's hard to find or read but it should be on there somewhere}
  • Dispose all expired medications properly (see below for details)
  • If you're unsure of how old a medication is, it's probably old.  Otherwise you'd remember!  This is someplace you can apply the principle, "When in doubt, toss it out."

The Senior List

Here are some links with important information about disposing medications:

  • There's a National Take-Back Initiative coming up on October 26th, so if you declutter your meds now you'll be able to drop them off there.  
DEA National Take-Back Initiative

  • Both Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall Pharma Plus take back expired medications, and many other pharmacies do too.  

Wherever you live, your first course of action to dispose of unused medications is to search for a program or pharmacy that accepts expired or unused medications.  If you can't find one, ask your pharmacist what you should do to dispose of your meds. You can also check with your municipality to see if they have a program to safely dispose medications.  Some Police services have take-back programs as well.  

Don't flush medications down the toilet or drain and don't throw them in the garbage.  If there's no take-back program in your area then follow the guidelines given in the FDA link above. 

Note: If you are not able to dispose of your expired medications right away, please ensure you lock them up until you can.  They should not be accessible to children or teens/adults who may accidentally or intentionally ingest them. 

To avoid future expired-medication clutter, you can write the expiry date larger on the bottle with a Sharpie.  Or add a label with the expiration date (just don't cover up any important information).

Organize With Sandy

If You're On A Roll...

Good luck with today's decluttering project!  I'd love to hear how you did, so please leave a comment below, or on FacebookGoogle+, or Pinterest!

Don't forget to share your pictures in the Facebook post for today or use the hashtag #31DaysEasyDecluttering when you pin your pictures. I'll repin some of my favourites.  Plus don't forget I'll have a link party at the end of the series where you can share your photos too!

How many medications did you declutter today?  Where do you dispose of your unused meds?  How do you organize your medications to keep the expired-meds clutter at bay?  Any purging tips I missed?

Happy organizing decluttering!

Here are all the posts in the series.

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!


  1. Great idea! I'm sure I have some expired pain killers spread out over the house. I frequently refill smaller containers but the down side of that is not knowing the expiration. I'll take on your motto, when it doubt throw it out and restart them all with labels this time.

    1. I used to keep meds in different containers too, but a few years ago when I realized some of ours were expired, I started keeping them in the original containers. I also consolidated more of our meds into one place rather than all over... I'm better able to track what we have and use them up before they expire now. Labels would help a lot if you do use smaller containers!


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