Organizing Your Medications

Before implementing a labeling system, try using any of the following organizational systems:

  • Whenever possible, keep medication in the original bottle or container.
  • Organize your medications in alphabetical order.
  • Separate your medications by location: keep breakfast pills in the kitchen and evening pills on the bedroom nightstand.
  • The size and shape of a pill can help with identification. Practice feeling different pills until you can recognize and differentiate them.
  • The size and shape of some containers may be enough of a clue to help you recognize them. Some over-the-counter medications—certain brands of cough syrups and topical creams, for example—are recognizable by their unique shape, size, or texture.
  • If there are no children in your home, ask your pharmacist for a conventional pill bottle instead of the child-proof variety.
  • Ask your pharmacist to place your medications in a blister package to help keep them organized.
  • Separate medications you use infrequently from those you take every day.
  • Place each medication on a separate shelf in the medicine cabinet. (This method is not advisable for people experiencing memory problems.)
  • Use a dark-colored tray when organizing medications. The contrast with the medication containers will help with identifying them. Also, a tray’s raised edge can prevent dropped pills from rolling onto the floor.
  • Maintain a listing of your current medications and dosages. Include all vitamin supplements and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Keep all medications away from excessive sunlight, heat, and humidity, such as in the bathroom or on a windowsill in your kitchen.
  • Dispose of old or outdated medications promptly.
  • Talk to your pharmacist about best practices to help you access your medications safely and accurately.