Diabetes: there’s so much stuff!
Overwhelmed with all the medication, devices, and supplies? You may need a little organization.
A tiny home book library doesn’t have to be organized alphabetically because it’s small but your local library must use some organizational system to keep things straight, right?
Well, for many with diabetes, all of the following need homes:
- glucose meters
- glucose strips
- control solution
- ketone testing supplies
- lancing devices
- lancing needles
- different types of insulin
- insulin syringes
- insulin pens
- pen needles
- glucagon injection
- back up supplies
- alcohol swabs
- pump supplies
- CGM (continuous glucose monitor) supplies
- glucose tablets
That’s just supplies. Then we may have to keep track of the following:
- re-ordering of supplies
- expiration dates
- multiple doctor appointments
- blood sugar and medication logs
- food / blood sugar journals
Tips to Organize Your Diabetes Supplies
Being organized helps people manage the details of their lives, and when someone has diabetes, being organized can make all the difference. My daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I realized that my half-done organization for my own type 1 diabetes was not going to cut it. After all, I have to model good things for her! So, I took a step-by-step approach in order to start organizing our supplies in a similar location but keep them separate. Here’s what we’ve been working on:
1. A Dedicated Drawer for Daily Storage
One kitchen drawer is now dedicated to storing our diabetes cases. It contains a week’s worth of daily supplies for glucose testing and insulin delivery. Before meals, I whip out each case and we test and give insulin. Then we zip them up and put them away.
It helps that they’re close by (we’re usually near the kitchen) and easy to pack before leaving the house. I don’t want to have to walk all around the house to get an extra lancet, so keeping a few extras there that I refill each weekend helps keep things simple and easy—as “easy” as diabetes can be anyway.
In this drawer, I also plan to keep a small notebook for each of us to record useful diabetes-related notes.
2. The Go-To Box
In a nice looking, easily accessible small or medium box for each person with diabetes, we plan on storing the following:
- a few boxes of glucose strips
- meter control solution
- meter manual
- extra syringes or pen needles
- lancing needles
- a glucagon device
- a few extra changes of insulin pump and/or CGM supplies
- any chargers for any devices
- Frio pouches (or similar) for keeping insulin cool
- a small notebook with a list of prescriptions
We dip into this box throughout the week/month as needed. I like having a smaller box available when I run out of syringes or strips and need to grab something quickly without digging into a larger stash that takes an extra minute to access.
In a large box cardboard box for each person with diabetes, we plan on putting in the following:
- boxes of glucose strips
- boxes of any extra lancing needles, syringes, and/or pen needles
- any extra diabetes supplies
- an emergency “go” bag for any type of sudden evacuation type of event, packed and ready to go
This big box is not as nice as the other one or as accessible. This is where all of the backup supplies go. When I see the supply in this box dwindling I am reminded that the time to reorder is probably near, and there is a soothing sense of security knowing that what we need to stay alive and well is stocked.
In the past, when I find that I have quite a bit extra of one particular thing, I find someone to donate it to. People (angels) have sometimes donated supplies to me so I strive to keep the cycle of giving in motion.
Insulin Lives in the Fridge Door
You can put your insulin anywhere in the fridge but I choose the door due to the easy access of it, plus I notice sometimes my fridge freezes food in the back of shelves and I can’t risk that happening to insulin. I have broken a vial before when my insulin slipped out and fell through this area (there is a gap), so I took a craft glue gun to some cardboard and fancied a unit to contain the insulin, as well as keep mine and my daughter’s insulin stash separate. Our “liquid gold” is safe and sound.
Digital Reminders for Appointments
I set up digital reminders on my phone and computer for appointments and supply reorders. If I didn’t do this I would miss everything. In the past, I’ve used a paper calendar to keep track of these dates, which worked very well, too.
The point is to get creative and do what is right for you. It may be a pain initially, but then your organization efforts pay off and save you time and energy and even help keep you safe.
One final tip: I learned this from Dr. Richard Bernstein. Use a marker or pen to write the date on your insulin so you know when you first opened it and then put a piece of clear office tape over it so it doesn’t smudge. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
Read more about diabetes supplies, insulin, Intensive management, life with diabetes, lifestyle, organizing.