We can get so focused on the “stuff” as we are decluttering and organising our homes and lose sight of the bigger picture, which is ensuring that we have a happy, healthy home for ourselves and our loved ones.
It is responsible to have a first aid kit on hand as well as any necessary medications, however when was the last time you checked use-by dates or disposed of medicines that are no longer required?
Having medicines that are no longer required or expired can be a real danger in your home. Some medicines lose their effectiveness over time, some can change chemical composition meaning that it could become toxic and we don’t want meds around that could get into the wrong hands either.
So how do we decide what stays and what goes?
This category is quite straight forward in most instances – if you no longer need it or it is out of date, they need to go.
With regards to other general first aid items such as band aids, bandages and the like, this category is full of items that may “come in handy one day” or that have a clear function, but maybe not a purpose right this minute. That can make it more challenging for some in making decisions about whether they stay or go.
Consider the quantities that you have on hand, frequency of use, whether they are still fit for purpose and the storage space allocated/available. If there is an imbalance between any of these elements, now is the time to get things into check.
Put everything aside that no longer has a useful purpose or home in your house.
What do I do with the keepers?
They definitely all need homes, and ones that minimise the chance for damage and enable them to be accessed easily and safely when they are needed. You should always keep medications up high so that little ones (little people and pets) can’t access them. Medicines should be stored in a dry, cool space away from light so best not to store them above or next to your cooktop.
You also need to work within the physical limits of your allocated storage space. If you can’t fit everything, you need to go back and review and make some further decisions. We don’t want anything homeless or of no use in our homes!
What do I do with the ones that no longer have a purpose for me?
For unwanted and out of date medicines, you can return them to participating pharmacists under the Commonwealth funded RUM (Return Unwanted Medicines) Project. Through the RUM Project, you can return prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal or complementary supplements, gels, liquids and creams to your local pharmacist. Some pharmacies have a RUM bin that you can pop things straight into, noting that there are also some restrictions. For more information visit http://www.returnmed.com.au/faqs/.
Other general first aid items could be gifted or donated as long as they are in good condition and are complete.
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