Nothing says “worthwhile investment” like a product that serves an important purpose and can then be recycled in creative ways once that purpose is fulfilled.
A pill organizer falls squarely into that category.
While some of us have multiple prescriptions and supplements to keep track of throughout the day and week for an extended period of time, others may find their need more temporary. You might be wrestling with the idea of using a pill organizer while you have a medication (or two, or three, or more!) to keep track of for at least a few weeks, but maybe you don’t know what to do with it once you no longer need to take the medication. Couldn’t you just use sticky notes, phone reminders and alarms, or a plate to keep everything organized?
You could, but is it really worth your health to risk missing a dose? We’ve discussed the importance of medication compliance – using medications consistently and as directed – before, and we’re all for whatever solution helps you maintain your medication or vitamin schedule. If you think a pill organizer is the way to go, but you want to get your money’s worth, just keep reading for some clever ideas for how to use your pill organizer.
What is a pill organizer?
Let’s back it up a step for anyone who might be confused. What is a pill organizer?
Simply put, a pill organizer – sometimes called a pill planner – is a tool for organizing your medications (or vitamins and other supplements) by day, and sometimes even by time of day. It’s an easy way to see when you need to take your medication and whether you’ve already taken it. No guessing, no written reminders, and no pesky alarms. Just keep your pill organizer somewhere convenient, like on the bathroom counter or in the medicine cabinet, and plan out your pills once a week. Some organizers even allow you to plan out a full month in advance! But we’ll get to that in a moment.
With 30 to 50% of chronic disease failures – and 125,000 deaths per year – caused by people not taking medication as prescribed, something as simple as a pill planner can make a big difference, and there are a number of options to meet your specific needs.
Types of pill organizers
Pill organizers come in all shapes and sizes – literally.
Some have one compartment per day, like the Ezy Dose Locking Weekly Pill Planner. This is the most straightforward option and might be what immediately comes to mind when you picture a pill organizer. The Ezy Dose Weekly Pill Planner takes it up a notch with a push-button option, which is especially helpful for those who suffer from arthritis. (Our collection of push-button pill planners has event been endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation®.)
If you have to keep track of pills that should be taken in the morning and/or evening, you might opt for something like the Ezy Dose Weekly 2x/Day Pill Planner, which has two sections per day of the week. Or, if you want to be able to take one day’s worth of pills with you to-go, you might want to check out the Ezy Dose Weekly AM/PM Pill Planner. Each day comes out in a handy, portable container that fits easily into your purse, backpack, or other bag, and the full week’s worth travels well for trips that last multiple days.
What about a morning, noon, and night regimen? A pill organizer with three compartments per day, like the Ezy Dose Weekly 3x/Day Pill Planner, can keep your pills straight. Have a more complex schedule? The Ezy Dose Pharmadose Pill Organizer has daily slots for morning, midday, evening, and bedtime.
Long story short, there are pill organizers for just about any medication scenario. So, what’s the scenario for a short-term pill organizing need, rather than an ongoing one? What can you do with your pill organizer once you’ve completed your medication?
Ways to use pill organizers
Pill organizers are great at their intended purpose, but they can be used for so much more!
Here are just a few options:
- Organize your pills: We might as well start with the obvious! Pill organizers were created to organize your medication.
- Consolidate your medicine cabinet: You can use pill planners to organize your medication another way. Use each compartment for a different medication in your cabinet to condense the space they take up. Each compartment should be able to hold about 30 aspirin-sized tablets (and some, like the Ezy Dose Weekly Universal Push ‘N Pop Pill Planner – 2XL, can hold up to 72 aspirin-sized tablets), so this is an option well before your bottles are almost empty. Just be sure to label which compartment holds which pills.
- Organize your vitamins: Pill organizers are great for keeping track of vitamins and supplements.
- Sort and store jewelry for travel: Use the compartments to keep track of earrings, rings, and even necklaces while traveling to keep them from tangling together or getting lost. A pill organizer can even serve as a permanent replacement for your jewelry box, and it likely takes up less space.
- Sort beads and other small craft supplies: Do you enjoy crafting? Pill planners can keep your beads, fasteners, or other small art supplies organized.
- Travel sewing/mending kit: Pack up your needles, assorted thread, safety pins, and other fasteners for an easy travel sewing/mending kit.
- Wrangle small tools: Use a pill planner to keep nuts, bolts, screws, and nails together.
- Keep your office tidy: Keep thumb tacks, paper clips, small magnets, and more organized and out of your way.
- Separate the team’s microphone covers: Do you work in a gym, training facility, or other setting where multiple team members share a microphone headset? Quell the spread of germs by giving each person their own microphone cover, and store the covers in a pill organizer.
- Curb your antacid intake: Taking too many antacids in a day can lead to unpleasant side effects, but heartburn sufferers (including many pregnant women!) might be tempted to surpass the recommended limits in search of relief. Pre-portioning out antacids in a pill planner can help you keep track of how many you’ve already taken.
- Pre-portion candy: If you can prep meals, why not treats? Keep your sugar intake in check with a pill organizer. You can also sort candy for a makeshift advent calendar or for any other countdown.
- Organize your cake decorating tools: Pill organizers are the right size to store icing tips, sprinkles, and decorating candies.
- Take your spices to-go: Pack up multiple spices in one pill organizer before taking off for a camping trip, picnic, or potluck.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to repurposing a pill organizer you no longer need for tracking medications. We’d love to hear what other uses you’ve come up with!
Whether it’s making sure your family takes their medications correctly, or helping you keep your world a little more organized, we’re here for you.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Why You Need to Take Your Medications as Prescribed or Instructed
WebMD: Frequently Asked Questions About Heartburn and Reflux