Finally getting around to spring cleaning at my end. If I had my way, I was going to skip the whole ordeal this year but then we are putting our house on the market so the deep cleaning HAD to be done.

I happily accept your condolences but the whole cleaning chore did not fall on my lap thankfully. Nothing gets my husband on all fours cleaning and dusting than the thought of having a guest visit. It was a family thing for sure. I then hired some help to get the house ready for showing.

But you know how that goes, I still had to do some pre-cleaning before the maid service showed up lest they faint at the site of scum on my bathroom grout.

I made it to my medicine cabinet and was aghast at what I saw- multivitamins and stool-softeners prescribed to me right after I had my son. He will be turning 5 in a few months.

Which got me thinking; what would I find if I rampaged through your medicine cabinet?

When I meet with new patients with thorny drawn out medical issues, I simply ask them what medications (prescribed and over-the-counter supplements) they are on. It helps me cut to the chase and find out what they have going on in half the time.

You can tell about a gal from the company she keeps. If I looked in your medication cabinet today what will I find?

1. Will I find pill bottles with the words “discard after December 2009” on them?

If that’s you go ahead and clean out your medicine cabinet of expired medications.

2. Will I find 3 unopened bottles of Aleve and 2 bottles each of everything else?

At first glance, one might take you to be a hoarder but chances are that you have a habit of throwing in a bottle of Tylenol or Benadryl in the shopping basket anytime you walk past the medication aisle in the grocery store.

3. Will I find multiple pill bottles bearing the names of people who do not live in your household?

Pill sharing huh? I know your friend means well but STOP SHARING PILLS WITH FRIENDS.

4. Will I find 20 pill bottles of obscure minerals and vitamins?

Stop watching those info-commercials will you. Get your vitamins and minerals straight from the source by eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Here is your homework;

Look into your medicine cabinet sometime this week. Throw out all expired medications. Please don’t flush them in the toilet. Rumor has it that the fishes of the sea are mellowed out on the Valium and Xanax folks flushed down the sewer line.

If you have duplicates, note the names of these medicines so you don’t pick up any more.

It’s time to get rid of the medicine clutter.

About the author

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Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


  • There is a lot of clutter in my medicine cabinet. I store pills in the kitchen and try to clean it out once a year.

  • Oh my goodness. Haha. I JUST did this. And guess what…it was frightening. Did it for supplements, too. And it’s amazing how much space everything was taking. Should go on the Spring Cleanse list annually.

  • I am always scouring my medicine cabinet and throwing away old and outdated things. Right now, it’s as a clean as a whistle with no medications in it. (We’ve got a new OTC’s, floss, and that is about it).

    I always feel that when people visit, they go through the medicine cabinet in the main bathroom. So I make sure there’s nothing in there for them to see. Paranoid much? lol.

    • Better to be safe than sorry. I have had instances where house guests raided my patients’ medicine cabinet and took off with their medications.

  • I just did this and the ‘things’ I found! OMG! Expired items from 10 years ago!!! Now off to the fridge! Hahahaaa

    • I hear you Cheryl. My next target is the pantry. I suspect that I would find cans of food with expiration dates from years ago.

  • I’m diligent about cleaning out the medicine chest. I love putting all the labels facing out so they are easy to read. A little OCD? Maybe…

  • I read this post last week, but I did not want to comment until I cleaned out my medicine cabinet…. oh I have to tell you the things I found in there … some of them from before my 11 year old was even born! I need to do this every 6 months I think 🙂 Thank you for the little push

    • It does not take a lot to collect pill bottles over the years. Moving houses is what forces most of us to get rid of our expired medications. Good job there Pat!

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