There are certain things you need to keep around the house. I’m calling these “home supplies”. Medicines, First aid and emergency items are a necessity. You need a common place to store your cleaning supplies, vacuum, mops and brooms. Unless you overpay and buy one roll of paper towels at a time, you need a place to keep backups of paper goods. If you travel regularly, you need travel goods.
This week in the Organized Life Series, we’re organizing our home supplies.
You generally have two types of medicines in your home – over the counter and prescription.
Non-prescription drugs include over the counter medications such as pain medications, cough syrup, decongestants, and allergy medicines. If you take a non-prescription drug every day, keep it with your prescriptions. Most medicines aren’t used every day. These drugs do still need to be kept out of reach of children. At the very least, put them on a higher shelf in a closet.
Prescription medications need to be stored where you can easily access them in order to take them daily, but they need to be inaccessible to your children or visiting children. A good way to accomplish this is to keep them in a drawer in the kitchen, and put a childproof lock on the drawer.
If you take vitamins or a daily allergy medicine, store those over the counter drugs with your prescription drugs.
What To Do
This is a good time to go through your medicines and dispose of old and expired drugs. Make sure and read an article by the FDA titled: How To Dispose Of Unused Medicines. Purchase any medicines that need to be replaced. Organize them neatly in a drawer or plastic bin somewhere safe.
As you bring medications into the house, organize them properly. For prescriptions, write their use on the label with a sharpie. Antibiotic? Painkiller? Birth Control? For non-prescriptions, check the expiration dates when you purchase them and don’t throw away the container that has that expiration date.
It’s a good idea to keep all of your first aid supplies in one location. A hall closet is great for this. Now that we’re organizing, go through your kit and replace any items that have been used up or are old. Depending on your family and the activities that you participate in, you will have different needs. Here’s a quick list of the things we need in our household:
- Finger bandages – particularly the stretchy kind
- Standard bandages – we really like the stretchy kind
- Large bandages – great for elbows and knees
- Gauze and tape
- Ace Bandages – for wrapping sprains and strains
- Wash – We use Band-aid Brand First Aid Hurt-Free Antiseptic Wash for cleaning scrapes and cuts.
- Heating pad
- Heat Packs – great for sore backs
- Cold Packs – we keep a few chemical ones with the first aid and some gel packs in the freezer
- Braces for knees, wrists, and ankles
- Hydrocortizone cream for itches
- Burn cream for burns
- Aloe gel for sunburns
Regardless of your first aid kit needs, your kit needs to be where younger kids can’t get into it but older kids can reach it. It needs to be easily accessible to anyone that needs to use it. It needs to be organized and well-labeled.
What To Do
Throw away expired and unusable items. Replace them. Check that you have everything you need. Organize a nice plastic bin or two that can be pulled out of the closet in a hurry. This is also a good time to restock the first aid kit in your car.
September is National Preparedness Month, and I strongly recommend that you create the appropriate Emergency Kits for your life and region. For detailed information, check out my article titled Be Prepared for Emergencies.
What to Do
Make sure you’re prepared for emergencies! Again, check out the article and have an emergency plan and possibly an emergency kit for each member of your household.
For those in new households, let’s consider the basics. You really, really need the following cleaning supplies:
- Laundry supplies such as detergent, stain remover, and fabric softener
- Kitchen supplies such as dish detergent
- Toilet cleaners
- Glass cleaner
- Antibacterial surface cleaner for both kitchen and baths
- Furniture polish or dusting spray
- Cloths and paper towels for dusting and cleaning
- Broom (you may want one for inside and one for outside)
- Mop for cleaning hard floors
- Vacuum for cleaning carpets
Over time, you may need to purchase specialty cleaners such as oven cleaner or hardwood floor cleaners. The bottom line is that you need to have a location to store these cleaners. The location needs to be convenient to the task at hand, safe for children and pets, and organized. Again, a hall closet is great for this. Most people that I know keep things in multiple locations.
Kitchen – Under the sink is the typical storage location for kitchen cleaning supplies. This can include trash bags, drain cleaner, backup hand soap, scrubbing tools, oven cleaner, surface cleaner, and even paper towels.
Upstairs Closet – Rather than carry standard items back and forth when cleaning the house, I keep some cleaning supplies in the upstairs hall closet. I keep glass cleaner, surface cleaner, paper towels, and a small vacuum upstairs. As for the small vacuum, the good vacuum that I use for most of the house is too large and heavy to vacuum our carpeted stairs. Shortly after moving into this house I picked up a small, inexpensive vacuum at Walmart and I keep that one upstairs.
Bathrooms – You typically keep personal supplies, toilet paper, and backup soaps in the bathroom. You probably also keep a toilet brush near the toilet. I like the Clorox Toilet Wand. It has a nice little stand and disposable heads.
Cleaning Closet – Most people have one of these. It’s where you keep most of your cleaning supplies, including your mops, brooms, and vacuum cleaner. This is the catch-all for cleaning supplies. This is also a great place to store paper towels and other paper goods.
What To Do
- Evaluate your current supplies. Are there things you aren’t using? Would you like to start buying more Green Cleaning Supplies? Do you need a new vacuum cleaner or broom? Do you want to get a steam mop for your kitchen or bathroom floors?
- If you’re getting new products, do some research. Make sure and check out my article on How To Shop for good tips. I recently shopped for a carpet cleaning machine.
- Organize by task. Kitchen cleaners stay in the kitchen. If you have only one bathroom, keep all your bathroom supplies there.
- Organize your main closet. Store cleaning supplies out of the way, but easy to get to. Keep safety in mind. You don’t want a kid drinking your glass cleaner. You may even want to get a nice caddy for carrying your cleaners from room to room.
- Dispose of cleaners you no longer use. As you do this, beware of certain chemicals that are considered hazardous waste and dispose of those properly.
For more information or organization ideas, check out the Organized Life Series.