I remember my late grandparents’ bathroom and medicine cabinet as a treasure trove of old fashioned awesome.


No, no, not quite THAT awesome.

My grandparents’ bathroom and medicine cabinet was more amazeballs in the vein of senior citizens in the late 1980’s who had not heard about decluttering. Let’s call them pioneers of the shabby chic movement.


Their bathroom was big and pink and full of shell soaps, embroidered towels and old-fashioned jars.

I must have poked through that bathroom three hundred times. As a bored child I snooped and as a teenager I primped. I opened all the jars, tried all the makeup, sprayed all the perfume.

Thankfully, medicines were never kept in the bathroom. Probably because of nosey grandchildren like me, all prescription and over-the-counter meds were kept in a high kitchen cabinet, up and away from prying peepsters.

Spring Cleaning Medicines

I am reminded of those charming retro and assuredly expired beauty products every year when I undertake our household spring cleaning. Although a dusty container of loose powder is charming, bottles of internal products that my family may imbibe are completely charmless.

Spring is a cliché — but perfect — time to check the expiration dates on the over-the-counter meds and vitamins in your house.  Just as the dosage instructions are essential to read on your med labels, the expiration dates are important to heed, too. Once a medicine has reached its expiration date, it may not provide the treatment that you need.

Safe, Easy Med Disposal

Unlike those old cans of Benjamin Moore in your basement that you really need to take to the dump, you can dispose of your expired meds right at home. No dump driving required.

Here is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) steps on how to safely dispose of OTC’s in your household trash:


  1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds.
  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag.
  3. Throw the container in your household trash.

New Resource: Know Your OTCs

If you are a regular reader you know that I have been partnering with OTCSafety for about a year now. I am passionate about family health, and I appreciate the essential, life-saving information that the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation works to share with families to keep them healthy and safe.

They have launched a new site that is a dream to navigate and find important health information for your family, KnowYourOTCs.org. The site is designed to be your one-stop resource for over-the-counter medicine information. You can find safe dosage information, ingredients in OTCs, answers about pregnancy and breastfeeding and safe OTC use and more.

Be sure to

I know that you will find the website and social channels as essential resources for parenting, just as I have.

And by the way, if you ever visit my house, my bathroom medicine cabinets are fair game. Please enjoy the shell soaps.

Disclosure: I am proud to serve as blog ambassador on behalf of KnowYourOTCs.org, (formerly OTCSafety.org.) I am compensated for my original contributions and help spreading the word about families’ safe use of over-the-counter products.

Sherlock Holmes Pub apothecary photograph and collage images courtesy Creative Commons on Flickr. 

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