Medieval Medicine Cabinets

WM pink and gray Rev3

I decided to keep it simple this week for several good reasons, the best one being that I forgot to do anything until Wednesday afternoon. Of all the weeks to forget about the weekly project I have been doing for almost 18 months, I picked a good one. The project I was planning to work on didn’t take more than three minutes. Six years and three minutes.

Medicine Cabinet, 1

Medicine Cabinet, 2

While everyone was sick this past month, I made a mental note to finally empty out the medicine cabinet in the boys’ bathroom, the one with old medicine, bug repellents, and broken bathroom accessories on one side. We never use it and haven’t for years. I store our medicine in the kitchen and have for years. Everything here didn’t make the cut. Out of sight, out of mind. I kept forgetting to toss out the contents until one of the boys would get sick. The Mister has a habit of storing whatever the boys are taking when they are sick in here so he doesn’t have to walk to the kitchen, even though that’s the purpose of the box: you can take it with you. I think I finally broke him of the habit this time.

Medicine Cabinet, 3

The other side has always been empty barring the defeated scrunchie and two razors.

Medicine Cabinet, 4

What’s that? You were wondering what that bottle with the foil is all about? I’m surprised you ask because it is all perfectly logical. Like I mentioned, the Mister likes to keep the medicine the boys are using in that cabinet. I might have mentioned (8,000 times) that Mikey was running a fever last week. This is where our bottle of Motrin ended up. When it was my turn to give him medicine, I opened the cabinet and found it there without a cap. This was very, very late at night/early morning. I woke the Mister up (!!) to ask him where the bottle cap was because the idea of putting it back without a cap was too much for my Type-A, first born child personality. And he, the middle child, mumbled, “I don’t know; couldn’t find it.”

I’m sorry, one more time?

I knew three things within three seconds of hearing this lunacy.

    1. I was finding that cap.
    2. If I didn’t find that cap, I was somehow stopping the bottle to block the cyclone of invisible germs hovering above its neck.
    3. I was never using the contents of that Motrin ever again because surely it was tainted by countless germs, most of them not yet identified by the CDC.

This is where my logic gets fuzzy. (Only here. Up above? Totally sane and logical.) Even though I would never, ever use the Motrin and the Mister was going to get a new bottle of Motrin first thing in the morning, long before Mikey would be able to take another dose, I didn’t throw away the bottle. I remember thinking I should keep it just in case something happened between then and when the Mister went to the pharmacy. Something that prevented him from getting a new bottle. (???) Something like a zombie apocalypse, a massive earthquake trapping us inside the house, or–the most likely event–the FDA announcing a nationwide recall on all over the counter fever medication lasting forever into the distance with no horizon.

Medicine Cabinet, 5

I promise that at 4:00 am this sounded perfectly reasonable. In fact, I was proud of myself for being so planned and prudent. Like a girl scout! Nobody was going to catch me without a bottle of Motrin, no siree. (!!)

So that’s why I went to the kitchen and ripped off a piece of foil. I couldn’t find the cap, you see, and I needed to halt the contagion.

I can explain everything in that cabinet. I can explain why there was still infant medication in there. (Closed doors, never use that cabinet, forgot there was medicine in there.)

I can explain why the Motrin didn’t have a cap. (It was late at night, the Mister was tired, it fell somewhere and he couldn’t find it in the dark. Later, I couldn’t even find it with every light on.)

I can explain why the Motrin had a makeshift foil cap. (To stop germs germs and because bottles need caps.)

I can explain everything except one thing. I can not explain why I gave the Motrin bottle a foil wimple.


Why? Why does my foil have wings? Why didn’t I wrap the foil all around the bottle? I vaguely remember thinking that wrapping the entire bottle would make it difficult to open in the event I had to access my emergency stash of Motrin (?!) but in the event that was true and I couldn’t waste those precious 2.56 nanoseconds, why didn’t I just wrap the foil all around the cap? Or make it a foil stopper?

It is a mystery.

I tossed out the bottle and its infected contents and then tossed out everything in the cabinet. There really was nothing in there to keep except my bottles of essential oils and one empty apothecary bottle. I didn’t even bother taking an after picture because it would be a picture of an old, empty medicine cabinet.

Sleepy Buster

Exactly, Buster.


This post was part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. You can see more of my goals and completed projects here. To learn more about this project, start here.


Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

  • Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
  • Your post must relate to your efforts to create an intentional home. I have a delete button, and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • No links to giveaways, please.
  • Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job. I know I will.
  • //////////////////////////////////

    Image: Portrait of a Young Woman (or Lady Wearing a Gauze Headdress) by Rogier van der Weyden.

    Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    When I scrolled through your post and saw the Portrait of a Young Woman, I was immediately reminded of this project : I secretly hoped that you would be reenacting the portrait with carefully styled toilet paper. It’s just sad that my brain thinks this way. Focus, Jenny. Focus.

    Here’s to bottles that always have their caps. Though I am grateful for the wimple your created on the Motrin bottle. Having a chuckle at 6:31am is a great way to start the day. Happy Thursday!

  2. says

    Completely understand lost bottle caps and even wimples. I threw away the cap to a bottle of olive oil (Bill didn’t put back on and I assumed it was spare and the bottle was in the re-cycling – opps). So I decanted the oil into all the smaller bottles I could find. Turns out it’s a much better way to use oil, squirted from a small bottle…Does your dog have hot flushes (as they say here in Britain) / flashes? Or does he just need more blood in his brain?

    • says

      I have no idea why, but occasionally both dogs will stretch out like that! Buster more often than Buddy. Buddy likes to curl up like he is still in the womb.

  3. Susan G says

    I think it makes perfect sense – by not crumpling the foil all the way around you could take it off and put it back on – you know, in the event you had to use it because Motrin was unavailable AND there was a foil shortage. Pretty sure that’s what you were thinking.

    LOL at Buster – one of ours sleeps that way. I think she likes that buzz she gets when she stands up. :)

  4. says

    4 a.m. logic is in a class by itself. :)

    We used to have a medicine cabinet like that in the powder room. It accumulated all the same stuff. Finally I ripped the whole thing out. (It wasn’t as built in as yours is.)

    In the same spirit, my small project today is pulling some bins out of the kid’s closets–bins that hold a whole bunch of not-useful-anymore stuff. Maybe I can free up some space to store the expanding Nerf arsenal that I trip over every time I kiss my son goodnight.

  5. says

    This week’s entry has to be my favorite William Morris project yet. I think we all panic and do strange things at 4am…I can only imagine that 4am with a sick kiddo makes it that much more illogical.

    I also swear that every week when I see one of these entries, I feel compelled to do them myself. Like today…might be tackling the medicine cabinet that I share with my hubs. He has a whole one for himself downstairs, and is slowly trying to add things to the upstairs bathroom. I swear that man has more drugs than our local pharmacy. How many different kinds of decongestant can one man have? Lots, apparently.

    Here’s to reigning in the clutter, eliminating the unnecessary, and conquering the foil caps!

  6. says

    Wait, I’m so confused…why did losing the cap make the Motrin instantly unusable? Did Mikey take direct swigs from it? (Seriously doubt that.) I know that you need to use the caps for the dosage but…?

    We are first born/first born in our marriage. No one has ever referred to us as, uh, “laid-back.” On the other hand, each is totally sympathetic to the other’s crazy neurorses!

    • says

      It made it unstable because clearly there are unidentified germs floating around in the air just waiting for an open Motrin bottle to sneak into. Any good hypochondriac and germaphobe knows this, Kelly. 😉

  7. says

    Hey, wait…I’m a middle child. This explains so much, but so little…
    Wimples are haute. 4am magic.
    You didn’t throw the medicine in the garbage…did you? Now I’m panicking that it will get in the water supply and our fish will ingest it, and then we’ll become motrin resistant, and, and, and… I don’t have a 4am excuse, it is crazy-time here all day O_o

  8. says

    Before I even read it I thought the foil was added to make the bottle unmistakable so that when your husband opened to cabinet to get medicine he was supposed to give one of the boys, he would get the right bottle. I actually thought to myself, yeah, I’ve done that!

  9. Erin says

    I’m de-lurking to say: Why in heaven’s name do you not use chewable children’s Motrin?? I hoard that stuff. So much easier than the liquid for two years and up.

    • says

      I had no idea there was such a thing! I’ve never seen them. All I’ve seen are the dissolve strips, and I can’t remember when the last time I saw those, come to think of it.

      • Erin says

        Okay, well, technically it’s children’s chewable Advil (which is also ibuprofen), not Motrin, but I always just buy the Target brand. You should check it out — so much easier than getting them to swallow all that medicine! (At least for my kiddos.)

  10. Kory says

    O.M.W…. first visit to your blog and I am crying I’m laughing so hard. Maybe partly due to new baby exhaustion and hormone craziness, but seriously, that is one hilarious post. Thanks for the laughs!

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