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How Do I Manage My Medications?

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Why Do I Need to Manage Medications?

When you take more than a couple medications, errors can easily happen. This can range from missing a dose to overdose. Managing your medication effectively can help reduce potentially fatal errors. Use one pharmacy to dispense all medications so can monitor unsafe interactions.

How Do I Manage My Medications?

The key to successfully managing your medications is through organization. These organization tips will help ensure your medications are taken safely andon time.

1. Choose a pharmacy and stick with that one.

When you use one pharmacy to dispense all medications, the computer system can easily monitor unsafe interactions. Doctors are fallible just like anyone else. Why not have a check and balance system in place?

2. Use a Daily Pill Organizer

Better yet use two. Have one in use and one you can “build” before the other runs out.

pill organizer can be very helpful if you take many types of medications each day. It has seven or more compartments that hold each day’s worth of medication.

To ensure medication is taken on a timely basis, keep a dosage schedule (see #4) nearby that also includes a physical description of each pill, such as “blue capsule” or “large white pill.”




3. Keep a List of All Your Current Medications

Make a list of all medications you take, with the name, dosage, frequency, side effects, and whether the medication has been stopped. Also include any allergies you have to medications.

Make several copies and give them to doctors at appointments and to your pharmacist. Keep a copy stored on your computer so you can add to it if prescribed new medications, and print out more copies as needed.

I’ve created a Medication List that you can download here.


4. Create a Dosing Schedule Chart

Dosing Schedule Chart is simply a chart of the medications you take on a weekly basis with boxes you can physically mark off each day. You will see at a glance what you have missed.

This can also be done on your computer with a spreadsheet or word processing program. List all medications, what they look like, the times they need to be taken, and a space by each dose, so you can check off when each is taken.

If all your meds fit neatly into a pill organizer, you can delete this step. Some meds (like eye drops) are harder to keep track of and require a reminder!

For those meds that are given “as needed,” you may also want to include why it is taken. This can be annotated as “for nausea” or for whatever reason the medication is needed. If you have medications that require refrigeration, also note it.


5. Check Prescription Labels Often

When looking at a prescription label, check the expiration date and refill information. Properly discard old medication. When running low on a medication that has a refill, call your pharmacist before you run out. This way you will not miss any doses.

If you think you may need a refill on a medication that has none left, call your doctor’s office as soon as possible to allow time for the doctor to call the pharmacist.


6. Use a Pill Reminder Gadget (optional)

There are several electronic pill reminders on the market of varying prices. You can input the name of the medication, how often you need to take it, and if you need to take it with food.

An alarm will sound, much like an alarm clock or cell phone ringer, alerting you to what medication needs to be taken and how much. There are now electronic pill reminders that “talk,” relaying information verbally.

Does this list make you want to hide your head in the sand? I understand. Here is your Quick Start Guide:

  • Adhere to the ONE pharmacy rule, please!
  • Then, get a friend or family member to hold you accountable to at least complete your list of medications (# 3).
  • Once you have that done, look for a pill reminder that has AM/PM dividers and each day’s meds are removable for travel.

You will be well on your way to managing your medications responsibly!

Go for the Jugular to Defeat Paper

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Recently at a client’s house, a 2 ½ hour project stretched to 4 hours. Why? There were several hidden bins of paper she had to deal with.

conservative estimate of time needed to de-clutter paper is 1 hour per foot of piled paper.
We all suffer from excess paperitis (that’s a technical term). So I’d like to skip the question, “How long should I keep…” and go straight for the jugular

How soon can I shred the durn thing?


Let’s go looking for paper to shred! Yeah!

A good shredding program will have both an ongoing, everyday component and periodic components – both monthly and yearly. I like the way Ohio Mobile Shredding breaks this down into six categories:


Shred everyday -

  • Credit card applications. (Better yet opt out to not receive offers!)
  • Any piece of unwanted paper that contains: account numbers, birth dates, drivers’ license numbers, passwords, signatures, social security numbers… anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable having a stranger read.

Note: In this information age, I think shredding anything with your address on it is overkill. If you own a house in Franklin County, Ohio, I can not only find your address on the Auditor’s website, but can tell you what your home’s square footage is and how much you paid for it.


Shred Monthly - Choose a date and schedule an appointment on your calendar.

  • Credit card and debit receipts after reconciling with credit card statement unless needed for tax purposes or warranties.

Shred Yearly - during or just after tax preparation, all statements not needed as tax support documents

  • Monthly bank, retirement and investment account statements after reconciled with year-end statement.
  • Pay stubs after reconciling with annual W-2 statement or 1099 equivalents.

Shred on a Seven-Year or Ten-Year Basis - File with that year’s tax docs and shred at same time

  • Year-end bank statements (if not necessary for tax purposes)
  • Titles, deeds, and surveys to cars and property you haven’t owned in seven years.
  • Tax support documents over 10 years old (not 1040 forms or W-2′s!)

Never Shred - store in a fire/water – proof box

  • Vital personal documents such as marriage, birth, divorce and death certificates
  • Legal documents such as wills, Powers of Attorney
  • Loan and mortgage paid-in-full documentation

Never Shred Until They Expire - remove and replace with current

  • Titles, deeds and surveys to cars and property you currently own (shred 7 years after you get rid of property)
  • Current personal credit history report
  • Benefits package from current employer


As I said, this is an overview of Ohio Mobile’s suggestions just to get your shredding juices flowing. Please print the entire pdf  When to Shred Documents for more detail.
Then go for the jugular, shred often, and don’t let paper defeat your plans for a simple and satisfying life.

Ecards Galore

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Of course, if you suddenly remember, “Oh no, the birthday is today,” you can always send an e-card. Instant gratification is the byword these days… and it’s free! Usually.


These are a few of my favorites:

Jibjab.com Oh my goodness, these crack me up! Consider the receiver ’cause some are a little over the top. Here is a birthday example I just made in 10 minutes. The site talks you through cutting and pasting the faces into premade skits. If you type “free” into the search window, you will be sure not to be charged. A $12 per year membership via Paypal gives you access to all.

Hallmark.com I love their Hoops and Yoyo cards. This was the St. Patrick’s Day offering. Be sure you click on a clover or two. Again, search for “free” for your no-pay options.

DaySpring.com This is the site to send cards with a Christian message. This is a woman-to-woman card of encouragement.

JacquieLawson.com This gal is quite an artist and chooses the most serene music to listen to as you watch an animated drawing. Preview an Easter card. Children will be enthralled, and at the end of the animation can choose to work a puzzle of the picture. This site has a required membership of $12 per year or $18 for 2 years.

This could be addictive, you realize. Have fun with it!

That Birthday is…Tomorrow?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

You know you bought a birthday card for your best friend a couple weeks ago, but where did you put it? Back to the Hallmark store, then straight to the Post Office so your greeting is on time. Whew!

The next day the first card turns up in a spot you would never have checked!

What’s the answer?


Build a card file.

Once you have a place for blank notes and greeting cards alike, you will always know where to look.
  • First, find a container you love that is at least 10″ w X 7″ h, with a depth between 10-15″.


I use a BigSo™ box from The Container Store. The height is only 6.5″, but the look is clean. Right now, the blue box only is on sale for $7.99.

  • Next, decide on dividers for your card categories. You can use envelopes, cut down file folders, or use index dividers.

My cards are in clear snap envelopes, 9.5″ X 7″, also from the Container Store, $1.99 ea.



  • Finally, label dividers with categories:

Anniversary/Wedding                Encouragement
Baby                                         Friend
Birthday                                    Holiday
Blank                                        Sympathy
Congrats                                   Thank You
Envelopes                                 Thinking of You


Now whenever you purchase a new card or find one floating around your house, just file it for future use.

Having a designated card file means you can find what you need when you need it. You are organized. Don’t you love it!?!                                

Home Staging ROI

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Whether your next move is imminent or a few years away, I want to share this resource with you.

Home Sale Maximizer Guide

This guide is based on input from 1,000 Realtors, asking what improvements will pay the biggest dividends when a home is sold. The results of the survey are condensed in this chart.


Maximizer Guide  


Applying the first three suggestions at a cost of around $1,000 can raise the sale price of your home by $5,000 or more AND speed the sale.

The Maximizer Guide will walk you through each of the suggested improvements complete with checklists. I love it! Print the guide if you have a move in the offing, or bookmark so you can find it again… whenever. Happy moving!


Organizing Around Function

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The HGTV designers are always saying a room should have one main functionto appeal to a home buyer.

My second bedroom is a good example of a room that has an identity crisis. That room has simultaneously been a guest room/my office/storage area (pronounced: dumping ground). I knew where everything was, but it wasn’t pretty and truthfully didn’t work on any level.

So, a designer friend of mine came to help me decide how to give that room a well-defined purpose. At her suggestion, we will move Jeff’s man-cave office furniture out of our bedroom and into the spare. That room will now only OFFICE, with desk, computer, bookcase, and file drawers.

All office supplies and techie stuff will be in there. We will hide the cords. I can even hang some of Jeff’s professional awards and memorabilia. It will be a manly space.

That will clear the way for me to decorate our bedroom with pretty bed linens. I will also have room for a reading nook complete with bookshelves, a reading chair, light and side table.

Why do we wait until we are ready to move to make our spaces both pleasing to the eye AND functional? This is your advice from an organizer who has done just that:

  1. Decide on one main function for each room.
  2. If you have room (or must of necessity), include only one relatedpurpose. Ex: family recreation room with media center, living room with writing desk.
  3. Gather all the supplies relevant to the room’s function.
  4. Decide how you can store everything closest to the action. See my blog for storage ideas.
  5. Be sure you have both ambient and task lighting in place.
  6. Throw in some pops of color with fabric, accessories, and wall hangings.

You will have a space you that works and is pleasing to your eye. AND you will be able to enjoy it now!

Pile Smarter

Friday, February 15th, 2013

There is a reason many of us prefer piles over hidden storage. Personal characteristics for pilers include:

  • Visual orientation
  • Creative bent
  • Out of sight means out of mind

Even the office product manufacturers have recognized that many of their consumers want to have important papers front and center. These are a few products that are geared specifically to folks who want to see at a glance what they must keep on top of.


Pendaflex PileSmart® line

The idea behind these products is to allow piling, but keep papers contained by project/subject in an easy-to-view format.




Peter Walsh’s [In]Place™ System

This system offers flexibility and see-through containment.


Clear Document Wallet       

So, go ahead, pile to your heart’s content. Just be sure to contain like items so you can find what you need when you need it! Pile smarter so you don’t make life harder.