Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet

I’d been putting off cleaning out the medicine cabinet for several weeks because the task just seemed so daunting. However when my brother came home with yet another package of sore throat lozenges, when I knew we already had a package hiding in the cabinet, I could no longer procrastinate.

I took everything out of the medicine cabinet and dumped it in the bathtub. Then I tried cleaning the shelves. I say “tried” because I wasn’t that successful. There were rings of dried up cough syrup and hairspray and who knows what else caked onto the shelves. After spraying the shelves with several different cleaning products and much scrubbing to no avail, in the end I just decided to put down some shelf paper (old wallpaper I found in the basement) on the offending shelves.

I had put approximately 110 items into the bathtub. I say “approximately” because I kept losing count so I may have counted things twice or not at all.

First, I sorted the items into categories: painkillers, cold and flu medication, allergy medication, stomach problem medication, first aid items, hair products, foot products and face products.

Then I went through everything and threw out expired items. I think the oldest expiry date I found was some Immodium from 1997. However, some items didn’t have expiry dates on them which causes me to think they are super old. For example, that calamine lotion looks like it might have come from the 1980s. For those items, I just made a judgement call, if it looked icky I threw it out, if it looked okay, then I kept it. There was only one Tums left, so I ate it.

Then I put everything back into the cabinet in a logical order. There is a cold and flu medication shelf, a painkiller shelf, an allergy and stomach meds shelf, a first aid shelf and a shelf for all the taller items (mostly first aid, hair and face stuff). There is also a shelf for the corn plane. Yup that’s right, it’s a plane to shave off the corns on your feet. It was made in West Germany so that means it’s at least 23 years old, because West Germany became regular old Germany in 1990. I don’t think anyone has used it though, it looks brand new.

IMG_1508There are now 65 items in the medicine cabinet, which means I got rid of about 45 items. Unfortunately, the cabinet looks almost as full as it was before. But at least it’s better organized.

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Duplicates + 1 = Triplicates

Remember when I talked about duplicates? Well I found some more.

I went through one of my dad’s bookshelves. He has a collection of books by Robert Ludlum, Louis L’Amour, John D. MacDonald and others, totalling 189 books. While I was putting them in alphabetical order, I discovered the following:

IMG_1267 IMG_1269

  • Two copies of the entire Bourne Trilogy (we must really like Jason Bourne)
  • Two copies of one John D. MacDonald book
  • Duplicate copies of ten Louis L’Amour books
  • Three copies of The Burning Hills by Louis L’Amour!

Now we are into triplicates! Sheesh! I am realizing just how ridiculous our situation is.

Well that’s another fourteen books that we are donating to the upcoming church bazaar.

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Sometimes when you have so much stuff, you forget what you have.

And so then you will go and buy something, because you don’t think you have it, or you can’t remember where you put it, or you just can’t find it under your other piles of stuff.

And eventually you will discover that you have duplicate items.

And then you will feel stupid.

I feel stupid.

Here are some examples of the duplicate items we have in our home.

IMG_1197 Zapp! The lightning of empowerment

This is a wonderfully entertaining book about how to empower your employees so that they will be more efficient in the workplace. However, it is not so wonderful that we need two copies. (Not to mention that none of us actually have any employees).


I have no idea what this book is about, although I’d venture a guess that someone in it goes into a coma. I also have no idea why there are two of them. Perhaps my parents each brought a copy into the marriage and kept their copy in case it didn’t work out between them.

IMG_1199The Bourne Supremacy and            The Bourne Ultimatum

This is weird, because we don’t have a duplicate of The Bourne Identity, which is the first of the three movies in the trilogy. I could maybe see getting the first two dvd movies and then giving in and buying the blue-ray 3-pack, but to get the 2nd and 3rd movies and then to get the 3-pack? We have some serious problems.

The two dvds and one of each book will be going to the Cerebral Palsy foundation. They are picking up our donations from our front porch on Wednesday!


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