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Alli Walsh, Social Media Strategist
If there’s one storage area in your home that gets neglected, it’s your closets – it’s so easy to simply shut the door and pretend the clutter isn’t there. Today we’re discussing the bathroom variety, to ensure you and your family only use safe products in the year ahead. C’mon, cleaning is cathartic – let’s turn up the safety and ditch some expired and unused stuff!
Prescribed medicines. Prescription drugs deserve your attention first as these medicines shouldn’t be used after a year from their purchase date to avoid chemical changes, bacterial growth or decreased effectiveness.1 Pull everything out and evaluate dates, placing those older than a year in a zippered plastic bag.2 Once complete, don’t throw the bag away as doing so may leave the medicines able to be found and consumed by animals or children. Instead, seal your bag and take to a local pharmacy for proper disposal. If your pharmacy doesn’t have the ability to help, check with your local police or fire department for assistance. If you can’t find a public prescription drop box, add kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust to the bag before disposing to make the contents unattractive to pets and kids.3
Keep in mind that a medicine cabinet located in in a warm, humid bathroom may not be the best place for medicine storage. Consider securing remaining medicines in a small lockbox kept in a cool, dry place.4
Over-the-counter medicines. The dates on these products make it super simple to know which need to go. If they’re expired, pitch them. Follow the same plan for bagging and disposal as you would for prescription medicines.5
Makeup. Over time, it’s easy to amass a large collection of makeup products, yet very rare that we pull it all out and purge old or unused items. Once opened, makeup becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure your stash is in top shape by sorting through all your makeup products. Toss anything you don’t use or that’s broken, keeping in mind many cosmetic brands offer recycling programs. Here’s how to gauge the age of your glam:
Toiletries. First question: do you still use it? If you don’t, or you won’t, it’s time to get rid of it. For those items you plan to keep, do a second scan. If you find discoloration, or a product smells differently from when it was purchased, purge those as well.7 We all love our bathroom and beauty products, but we only need the ones we use that remain in good shape.
Once you’ve done your bathroom closet clean out, reorganize your storage space so items are easy to spot and reach. And come back next year to do it all again!
References: 1 “Special Features - Don't Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 1 Mar. 2016. 2, 4,5 “Safe Disposal of Medicines - Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 11 Jan. 2018. 3 Stephen, Janise. “6 Tips to Help ‘Spring Clean’ Your Medicine Cabinet.” The National Kidney Foundation, 12 Aug. 2014. 6 Panych, Sophia. “Does Your Makeup Have a Shelf Life? How to Know When Your Beauty Products Expire.” Allure, Allure Magazine, 26 June 2016. 7 “Decluttering the Bathroom.” HGTV, Scripps Networks, 10 Nov. 2015.
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Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL Illinois) is a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and a Chubb company. With a tradition of nearly 100 years of success, we have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and are one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies. Combined Insurance is also the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the over $1B revenue category for 2019 by VIQTORY. This is the company’s eighth consecutive year on the top 10 list and fifth consecutive year in the top 5—Combined Insurance was previously named the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the nation for 2015 and 2016. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).
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