Organizing All Your Medical Junk: Where to Put All that Crap?

Snaps for IGLiving.com who publishes my monthly column. Whether you’re a PIDD, CVID, or just a chronic illness patient in general–their publication is such a great way to stay informed about treatments and life advice. You can pick up a copy at your local infusion center or check them out online here. 

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Let’s say you have two storage closets in your apartment. And let’s say that each of those closets are so illogically packed, so unrealistically overburdened, that they’re about to burst open with old photo albums and Jenga and every birthday, graduation and engagement gift you ever received. Really, even if you wanted to store another pair of rollerblades or winter coats inside of it—you just couldn’t.

So, maybe, it’s no wonder I get a mild panic attack every time my infusion company drops off a massive box of supplies! Between the tubing and equipment, gauze, packaging and all of those teeny tiny accessories…How am I supposed to keep this stuff organized?

I tried the “keep everything in a box” method, but all that managed to do was to slow down the entire process, digging around for the right tools and pulling out items I had already set up, constantly looking for that tiny plastic piece buried underneath. Plus, where exactly was I supposed to keep this giant box? Not in my closets, that much was obvious.  So I kept it in a hallway. And every time I walked down that hallway it bothered me.

So like any modern twenty-something I turned to Pinterest: The great mecca of organizing ideas. I found a possible solution almost immediately.

Example Uno

Example Uno

Someone had recommended going to the dollar store and buying a plastic, hanging shoe rack. You know, the kind with a fabric backing on a hanger and open slots of plastic to place each shoe in? Even thought I didn’t have much room in those closets, I could actually hang this rack over all of the junk that was already in there. I labeled each individual pocket with the name of the supplies (needles, tubing, alcohol pads, etc.) and it made finding what I needed so much quicker and easier! You can also hang the rack on the back of a bathroom door if you’re out of closet-hanging space. You can find these plastic organizers at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target or even the dollar store!

If you’re doing more than IVIG and happen to be getting other infusions, a shoe rack might not do it though. I also get saline each day through an IV and found that Target had a great, rolling six-draw plastic storage cart that fit all of my supplies really well. It reminds me a bit of the kind of storage carts I’ve seen in ER’s. It’s a quick and easy way to find exactly what you need, when you need it. I also keep a sharps container on top of it so I can easily throw out my needles without having to get up.

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To take it one step further, I set up the cart, took each of the plastic bags the products had come packaged in and used them to create ready-made kits. I put all the materials for one infusion in a bag and left it one of the draws so that the next time I sat down to do an IV, I was ready to go. This will also be great for a trip I’m planning on taking next month. I can easily grab my “to-go” packs and pop them in my suitcase without having to worry about whether or not I’ll have the right supplies.

The goal and philosophy for me always has been and always will be: this is an inconvenient medical issue—what can I do to make this as easy and as effective as possible so I can go about the rest of my life? So take an hour or two to shop and organize your stash and save yourself the drudgery of making your infusion a long and drawn out affair.  After all, you’re going to need that time to clean out your closets at some point…

 

UP NEXT: Watch as I pull everything out of my bathroom cabinets and then decide I can’t throw anything away so I just reload it, close the door and back away slowly.

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