Next to planning menus, organizing the medicine closet is one of the best ways to save money, time and tears. We all know that when you have a crying baby at 3 AM, you will do anything to make it better.
Being well stocked in the linen closet helps you be prepared for life’s little emergencies.
Shopping in advance allows you to look for the best deals, so you save money. Ever paid full price for Children’s Tylenol at a convenience store? Frightening.
Having what you need on hand saves you time. How long does it take to run out at 3 AM? An eternity for the parent who stays home with the sick child waiting for the medicine.
Having what you need on hand saves you tears – yours and theirs. Ever watch a toddler throw a fit that can only be handled by a Hello Kitty Band-Aid? Or cry with your baby while he or she was in pain?
Here is how my system works: I have one shelf in my linen closet dedicated to medicine/first aid. I have a little shelf unit that has a shelf slightly raised and then another one behind it raised more (2 tier). This works well so you can see what is in back. Twice a year, I go through the medicines and toss what has expired. I do this in the Fall and in the Spring.
In the fall, I note which items we are low on that we usually use in the winter – cold remedies, children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen (ear infections, colds), cough drops (kid and adult), pain relievers for the adults and older kids, and allergy medicine that I will need in the spring (eye drops, etc.) Whatever we are low on is about to go on sale, since cold and flu season is just around the corner. When it does, I will know what we need. I put the unopened containers behind the open ones, so I can see what I have. I usually wait until the end of winter to buy the allergy stuff, since it goes on sale in February or March. My allergies tend to bother me all year, so I am always stocked on Kleenex, but it may be something you want to add to your list in the fall.
In the spring, I am looking to be stocked on sunscreen, bug spray (stored in our laundry room cupboard), aloe vera (for sunburns), children’s pain reliever, bandages, antiseptic cream, hydrogen peroxide, adult pain reliever and so on. Then I watch for those sales and stock up on those items. I wrote up a list of fall and summer items, so I don’t have to rely on memory (not as reliable as it once was) to make sure I have things covered. I also have a dosing guide from our doctor’s office on the door. It shows doses for Tylenol and ibuprofen. If you have sitters or others who don’t readily know your child’s weight, you could put that on a post-it note on the dosing chart.
In the closet, organization is the key to success, because if you can’t find it when you need it, you will end up buying more and it will likely be at full price. I try to keep things very neat and clean, giving lots of space to see what is in the closet. I have a bin to the left full of bandages, refills on the ear thermometer covers, stuff that is hard to control clutter-wise.
I have a great little battery powered light that sits in the middle – you just press it to turn it on, press it to turn it off. It really helps to be able to see where things are in the back and it is great at night because it is not a blaring light. More importantly, many kids end up very sick each year due to the misdosing of medicine. Using a light while you measure the medicine can prevent your night from turning into a real emerency or worse. I bought two for $6.99 – you probably could find a sale, but that is one thing I would pay full price for – don’t do without it!
If I find free deals and am already stocked, then I put them into the food donation basket. The good people who run those places can get those items into the hands of families in need. Camps, churches or schools could also use extra first aid donations. I also pack a container with bandages in my purse – I usually end up giving more to kids in the park than my own kids, but that is fun because you are able to “make it better” for both the parents and the kids!
We also have three “puke” buckets (sorry to be so graphic) at the ready in the kids’ bathroom drawer so that we are ready for the onset of the flu – there is never much warning with that! Our kids just groan when the see those come out – the four year old said, “I don’t want to throw up again” when he saw the bucket – the poor guy.
I hope that your family is able to avoid being ill, but just in case, you can be prepared to comfort and help your child (and yourself) feel better as quickly as possible. Isn’t it great to be a Mom?!
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