Redesigning the Medicine Cabinet With The Home Edit

As flu season and COVID-19 converge, Abbott and The Home Edit helped me organize my virus season essentials.

Diagnostics Testing|Oct.12, 2022

NOTE TO READERS: As COVID-19 converges with cold and flu season, we asked one of our writers to examine and redesign her medicine cabinet so that she’s best prepared to be at her healthiest through fall and winter. She learned quite a lot along the way, lessons which can help you prepare as well. Let the organizing commence!

Safe to say: I'm a planner.

When a new stressor pops up, I need to prepare. Whether it’s accounting for traffic on my way to work, packing for a trip weeks in advance or making thoroughly detailed plans with friends, I jump through many hoops to mitigate the unexpected.

You can imagine how COVID-19 threw me for a loop. This virus was novel, unknown and almost impossible to strategize against. But over the past couple of years, I stocked up on essentials, took precautions and have learned how to take things into my hands to create some sense of control. 

And it’s clear that I’m not alone in this. Since the pandemic began, others want to be more in control of their health. Abbott and The Home Edit, a global media and organization company and subjects of the Emmy-nominated Netflix show, "Get Organized with The Home Edit", teamed up to help people — like me and like you — design their medicine cabinet ahead of cold and flu season as colder temps, indoor gatherings and holiday travels threaten another COVID wave.

I followed their tips to a T to help establish my action plan and regain my feeling of control in the fight against virus season. Here’s how it went.

Step 1: Select Your Space

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, founders of The Home Edit, say to "pick a spot based on where you use the products, the size of the space, and if the area is climate controlled and away from children and pets."

As a twentysomething living in a 700-square-foot one bedroom in the middle of a major city, I need to be small-space savvy as my options are very limited. My bathroom cabinet has historically doubled as a storage space for extra linens, dishwashing detergent and hidden holiday and birthday presents out of pure necessity. So, bathroom cabinet it is.

Step 2: Clear Out and Group

Per The Home Edit, "check expiration dates and take inventory of what you have and need, especially as many of us have purchased new health products during the pandemic."

Fortunately/unfortunately, I'm working with such limited space that I haven't allowed for expired products to contribute to clutter. We’re good there. However, I'm a noted self-care connoisseur, collecting any serum, cream, lotion or fragrance that even remotely appeals to me. Taking inventory of what I actually need is sobering and a struggle. I start by sorting out products that I tried once or twice but didn't ultimately like, then migrate my most used products to the makeshift vanity in my bedroom. Boom: Half a shelf, now empty.

Step 3: Creating a System

Next step: "organization should balance the least amount of effort without sacrificing efficiency. Create designated zones that have a specific purpose and product, such as immune health versus sick/must-have items."

Clea and Joanna also recommend adding bins to group similar products. I grabbed my plastic organizers and sorted almost all my belongings into corresponding areas: One for medicines and vitamins, one for COVID essentials and another for all of the products my partner owns (which, to my shame, only takes up one medium-sized bin altogether).

Step 4: Be Ready to Go

The Home Edit recommends creating grab-and-go systems, like a "sick day" system so you’re prepared if and when symptoms strike.

Inspired, I created a station to function as a one-stop shop for all things illness as cold and flu season merges with COVID. For peace of mind, my bottom shelf contains an ever-rotating supply of BinaxNOW Self Tests to give me quick answers on the state of my health in 15 minutes flat. To the right of the tests, in the event of symptoms, I have over-the-counter medicines, cough drops and Pedialyte packets to help with hydration. Pro-tip: stack your BinaxNOW Self Tests with the expiration date facing upward for easy grabbing.

And since it's clear that I’m a planner, I also made a grab-and-go kit for travelling with cough drops, immune boosters and tissues.

Step 5: Label to Easily Find

Clea and Joanna say that "labels add a layer of instructions that help you find what you’re looking for and guide you where to put items away." I grab a few stickers and label accordingly.

And because I'm an overachiever (a common side effect of being a planner), in true The Home Edit fashion, I rainbow-fied my self-care shelf. 

Will I still over-prepare and agonize over the threat of the unexpected in the future? Sure. My brain is already contriving the next thing I’ll need to plan for.

But am I feeling much more equipped for virus season with my action plan, supply of BinaxNOW Self Tests and other health supplies at the ready if (or when) the first sniffle emerges? Absolutely.

To start stocking your own medicine cabinet, you can find BinaxNOW Self Tests here.


The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Antigen Self Test is a lateral flow immunoassay intended for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19 infection when tested twice over three days with at least 24 hours (and no more than 48 hours) between tests. This test is authorized for non-prescription home use with self-collected direct anterior nasal (nares) swab samples from individuals aged 15 years or older or adult collected anterior nasal (nares) swab samples from individuals aged two years or older.

The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 tests have not been FDA cleared or approved. They have been authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization. They have been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens, and are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner. For serial testing, the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Tests should be performed twice over 3 days, at least 24 hours (and no more than 48 hours) apart. For symptomatic use, a single test can be used.