May 13, 2017

Managing Your Diabetes Supplies

Where do you store your diabetes supplies? I must be fortunate to have an office where I store most of mine. The only diabetes medications I use the refrigerator for is my insulin and my wife kindly allowed me one shelf for the insulin. An order of basal and bolus insulin fits very nicely and is always visible.

The test strips have a basket for the zip-lock bag I store the test strips in to keep them in the boxes in which they arrived. They have a spot on one of the shelves among the books. The syringes occupy a bottom shelf in another bookshelf. As for non-diabetes supplies or medications I take, I keep them on a shelf where they are easily accessible and I have them in a certain order to know which I take AM and which are for PM. The meds that I take AM and PM have their area between the others.

I keep a medication checklist on the computer and a supply checklist for the supplies with the prescription numbers, dosage, and when to take, plus where I obtain each.

I have some suggestions for you that will depend on how you store your diabetes supplies and your medications will also make some difference.

#1. Create a supply checklist as well as a medication checklist: Some people will have a need for more checklists. Some people have a smartphone, which you can use the notes section to track the usage to know when a supply is due for resupply.

#2. Sort your supplies for organization: For example, keep your meter, test strips, and lancets in the container the meter came in, which should allow you to carry all three as the same time. For those occasions when it is not possible to wash your hands with soap and water, maybe carry a couple packs of alcohol swabs for emergencies.

If needed, because of the medication you are taking, keep a supply of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as glucose tablets or hard candy in a place where you can locate them quickly if needed.

#3. If you have deep shelves or limited counter or cabinet space, think vertically: Drawer organizers that stack on top of each other on a shelf are the perfect way to maximize your storage. The drawers pull out, so there’s no need to unstack containers to get to the ones on the bottom. Alcohol wipes, lancets, and extra batteries should be kept together and fit nicely into these types of units. You may need to store extra meters or bulkier supplies in larger containers.

For an inexpensive and flexible option, you can hang a clear plastic shoe bag on the inside of your pantry door. This is an excellent tool for corralling your meter and other supplies for checking blood sugar levels. It’s a natural storage solution for proportioned snacks too!

This method keeps critical items at your fingertips — no more “out of sight, out of mind.” If you’re really tight on space, bring your walls into play. Hang a pegboard or no-fuss shelving on an empty wall in your kitchen, laundry room, or family room.

#5. Remember that clear is king: One of the real keys of being — and staying — organized is knowing what you already have. Clear plastic containers can help you see exactly what’s inside. If you don’t have room for the plastic containers, use large plastic storage baggies. Make sure to purchase ones that have a strong closing mechanism. A sealed-tight closure is important to prevent air from coming in and contents from spilling out. These bags also work well in your refrigerator.

Another great tip is to eliminate unnecessary packaging upon receipt of supplies. Medical supplies come in bulky bags or containers. This packaging is necessary to keep supplies sterile, but it takes up space once it’s in your home. Feel free to get rid of it and store your supplies in smaller containers.

#6. Dig drawer dividers: Drawer dividers are a great solution for partitioning drawers in order to organize your diabetes supplies. For example, you can use dividers to separate your fast-acting sources of carbohydrate from your blood sugar testing supplies and extra batteries. You can purchase these dividers at most stores that sell housewares.

#7. Label, label, and label: Have you ever pulled something out of your diabetes supply closet only to wonder when you actually bought it and why? If so, consider investing in a label maker or use masking tape and a marker to clearly label all containers. This will act as a visual check of what’s inside so you can find specific items that you need easily, and you can put them back where they belong. No more lost or forgotten items! And if you include expiration dates, you’ll know when supplies need to be used or replaced.

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