Get an early start on spring cleaning with a quick indoor project: cleaning out the medicine cabinet. First step: clear out all the medications, because the medicine cabinet is too humid and often too warm a place to store them safely. See our earlier article on storing medications.
Next, pull out the first aid supplies from all the medicine cabinets in the house, so you can inventory them. They'll go in a well-marked portable first aid kit to keep in a central location. -- out of reach of kids but close to a sink. Each medicine cabinet can have a box of assorted bandaids and a tube of antibiotic ointment, but that's plenty. Items like gauge, scissors, Ace bandages, etc. can be kept in your main first-aid kit.
Take a look at what's left after you clear out the first-aid items. Toss anything that's out of date; toss unused makeup items, especially old mascara, which can harbor bacteria harmful to your eyes. (See "When to Toss Out Your Makeup" on About.com.) Store items used less than once a week somewhere else. Good Housekeeping points out that bathroom humidity and airborne bacteria can be bad for cosmetics; if you can't store and apply them elsewhere, at least keep them in the medicine cabinet.
Organize what does belong. After giving the empty medicine cabinet a good cleaning, you may now have plenty of space to set in the things you've decided to keep there. You may find it useful to bunch items together in containers. Choose unbreakable containers for organizing inside the medicine cabinet, since broken glass is especially hazardous in the bathroom. Labeling containers with a Sharpie pen or electronic label maker can make your organizing last longer.
Narrow drawer organizers can work (and help keep items from rolling off the shelves). You can also find nifty organizers designed specifically for medicine cabinets. For example, the Linus Medicine Cabinet Organizer (*Est. $6) organizes small items into seven compartments.
Many medicine cabinets lack enough metal to make magnets useful, so Martha Stewart suggests gluing thin galvanized metal onto the back of the door as well as the back of the cabinet itself. Then you can use magnetic hooks and containers (often found as spice containers) to help organize the cabinet. For example, you can hang nail scissors and other small items.
Even with medications stored elsewhere, your medicine cabinet may have items that could poison a child. Consider installing a childproof latch on it. As an alternative for ingestible items, Real Simple suggests adding a little luggage lock to a zippered cosmetics case that can go in a drawer.