Gaining Space
Coaching for a Clutter-Free Life



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Let’s get personal...

Vicks® VapoRub® (expiration date: Mar-1983)

Let’s get personal…!  I caught an awful stomach bug last week.  And during those hours of torture, I realized two important things— (1) I had no Pepto Bismol® and (2) I had no Tylenol® for the fever that followed.


My medicine drawer* appears fully stocked and ready, but I was clearly missing some essentials.†

The following day, after the worst was over, I sat down on the floor and cleaned out my medicines. 

Here’s a “short” list of what I threw out, in order to make room for necessary staples like Tylenol® and Pepto**—

  • Mucinex® D (expired 03-2010)
  • ZICAM® cold remedy nose swabs (exp 12-2010)  — I never remember to use them at the first sign of a cold anyway!
  • Theraflu® Severe Cold & Cough, Daytime (exp 12-2011)  These got me through my high school reunion! Thank you, Theraflu!
  • Visine® A.C. (exp 01-2005)
  • prescription eye drops for contact lenses (exp 10-2008)
  • prescription inhaler for the bronchitis I had two years ago (exp 01-2012)
  • four (4) sample-sized Ibuprofen (exp 12-2010)
  • box of cherry throat lozenges that I never liked
  • homeopathic hay fever relief (exp 02-2010)
  • homeopathic Cold-Nip tincture (exp 11-2008)
  • homeopathic menstrual cramp comfort cream (exp 11-2004)  I told you we were getting personal this week!
  • Benedryl® cream for mosquito bites (exp 08-2005)
  • Cortaid® cream for mosquito bites (exp 03-2006)
  • three (3) tubes of Neosporin® (exp 11-2007) (exp 03-2005) (exp 05-2002)
  • tiny jar of Vicks Vapo Rub® (exp 03-1983)  This has sentimental value.  It’s the same jar that was in my mom’s nightstand when I was growing up, but after comparing the smell of it to the new jar, it definitely needs to go!
  • prescription codeine cough syrup (exp 01-2012)  This was the toughest to throw away, because this is… “Liquid Gold!” — it’s the only thing that will help me sleep when I get bronchitis (which seems to be every 2 years or so)!
  • and lastly, the calamine lotion (exp 03-1996)  This one has a story too.  I purposefully kept this stuff long past its expiration date.  The reason:  it reminded me of my grandmother.  One day in the early 1990s, I was at my grandparent’s house and I had a really itchy mosquito bite so my grandmother brought out this calamine lotion.  I looked at it and started laughing hysterically — it had expired in 1981 — it was over 10 years old!!  Ridiculous, really!  So I thought it would be funny when I got older to see how long I could keep mine.  But I can keep my memories of her and that story without keeping a crusty, used-up bottle of calamine lotion.  So… that has now been discarded too. 

And now I have room in my drawer to place my brand new Tylenol® (exp 08-2013) and Pepto Bismol® (exp 02-2014)! :)

Take a few minutes to check out your medicine cabinet / drawer / basket / whatever and tell us what you find!  What’s the oldest, most expired thing you’ve got in there?

*I know most people use a medicine “cabinet” but I prefer the bottom drawer of my dresser. I figure if I’m sick, I’ll be too weak to do anything but sit on the floor in front of “the drugs.”  Don’t worry, I don’t have kids who could O.D. or anything!

†My best friend gently reprimanded me for not having a basic staple like Tylenol® in the house.

**My apologies for those homeopathic naturalists out there who don’t believe in taking pharmaceutical drugs and medicine.  I used to be one of you until one day in 2003 when my fever got so high that I saw two jumping monkeys in my living room.