Packing Hack!

When you hit a certain age, you have meds. It’s just a fact of life. And when you travel, you have to take those meds with you.

Now, you could pack giant bottles of pills, although they take up an unnecessary amount of space. If you’re the kind of person who is okay with opening several bottles of pills and fishing out the right dosage every day, maybe that works for you. It doesn’t for me. I am absolutely one of those people with the giant pill organizer that I sit down once a week and fill.

Twice a day, morning and night, I get to take a big fistful of pills – a lot of vitamins and supplements, a few prescription medications. I feel like that scene in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, where they’re having breakfast in the middle of nowhere and Bernadette’s breakfast consists of nothing but a bowl full of pills and capsules. With that organizer, it’s easier for me to remember to take my meds, and when I take them, I know I’m taking all of them.

So how do I have that same confidence once I’m on the ship? A few months ago, I ordered some pill pouches – tiny zipper bags that will each hold a morning or evening’s worth of pills. Now that we’re getting down to the time that everything has to be packed and shipped, I realized I needed to pack my meds. How do I do that in a way that won’t take hours?

I specialize in breaking down processes into their component steps, and here, there are two steps: sorting the pills into groups, and then getting them into the pill pouches. There’s really no easy way to sort the pills, but that doesn’t take a long time. The time consuming part is getting them into the pill pouches. There are big, commercial machines that will help you do that, but I don’t need to spend $1400 to do this.

Not only am I great at breaking down tasks into their component parts, I’m also great at improvising solutions from what I have at hand. Here’s what I put together.

It’s a letter-sized sheet of paper, folded in half vertically. I cut the edges 2/3 of the way to the center so that I had four flaps on each side. Then I folded each flap into a tube using a Sharpie as a rough size guide, and taped it together. I put tiny craft clothespins on the folded edge to make it stand up better, but tape would work just as well. Now all I had to do was fit the pill pouches onto the tubes and sort the pills – they’re already packed! It took less than half the time I expected it to – a little over three hours to do 240 individual pill packs, and I only used the one sheet of paper.

Now that they’re all sorted and packed, that’s one less thing I have to worry about.

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