Stuff from your fridge or pantry. If it has passed the expiration date, smells bad, tastes bad or looks bad, toss it. Besides possibly losing their nutritional value, eating foods that have expired or have lost their freshness might increase your risk for certain illnesses or conditions. If you’re unsure whether a food item is safe to eat, err on the side of caution and get rid of it. Risking your health to save a few pennies is definitely not smart.
Old stuff from your bathroom — from outdated makeup to old cleaning supplies and near empty bottles of lotion. Think of your makeup like you do your food. If it smells weird, develops a film, or has a mold-green tint, it has gone bad and needs to be thrown away. And that metallic eye shadow you wore 7 years ago? I promise, you won’t even wear it for a Halloween party … “one of these years”. Here are some common cosmetics and their recommended shelf life after opening: Mascara: Toss after 3 months. Mascara has the shortest lifespan of all makeup because the risk of transferring bacteria back and forth from your eye into the mascara tube is so great. If your mascara starts to dry out before the 90 days are up, throw it away. Don’t add water or saliva to your mascara to re-wet it. Doing so will only increase your chances of getting an eye infection. Eye pencils: Keep eye pencils for up to 2 years, but sharpen before each use to ensure you’re using a clean tip. Eye shadows: Keep the applicators clean and liquid shadows should last for 12 months. Powder shadows will keep for up to 2 years. If you’ve had an eye infection, throw out all eye makeup and applicators you used from the time you developed symptoms. The virus or bacteria that caused the infection has likely taken up residence in your makeup, so using those cosmetics again could cause a recurrence of the infection. Lipsticks: Stow tube lipsticks and lip pencils for up to 2 years. However, as with eye pencils, sharpen lip pencils before each use. Blushes and powders: Discard cream blushes after a year, powder blushes and powders after 2 years. Foundations and concealers: Moisturizing foundations and stick concealers can hang around for 18 months. Oil-free foundations, which can dry out quickly, and liquid concealers, have a 12-month shelf life.
Expired medications. Most people wouldn’t consider drinking milk just one day after the expiration date, but will continue to use expired medications. Purge your medicine cabinets of prescription and over-the-counter drugs (even if they appear fresh) that have gone past their “use by” date. Expired medications are not always dangerous, but they can become weak and ineffective after the expiration date. As a general rule, clean out medicine cabinets and check for expired products at least twice a year. Contact your local pharmacy to see if they offer a means of disposal. Some pharmacies will safely dispose of medications as a service to their customers. Do not flush drugs down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Medications can pollute landfills, endanger animals and contaminate ground water. Try disposing liquid medication in coffee grounds or kitty litter.
Roller blades 5 or more years old (very accident prone) You can’t enjoy a pair of roller blades if you are worrying about their safety. The brakes and wheels do get worn out, making you more accident prone. So unless you’re cruising for a bruising, do yourself a favour, invest in a new pair of wheels and ditch roller blades that are older than 5 years old. Be honest, you roller bladed about 8 times when it was a fad 15 years ago. However, if you feel the need to “revisit your past”, remember to wear wrist and knee pads.
Worn down sneakers and shoes are more trouble than they are worth. They take up valuable space in the back of your closets, clutter hallways and the loss of support and cushioning can cause shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, knee pain and plantar fasciitis, a common form of heel pain. Worn out shoes are also bad news for your posture and balance. Change (regularly used) running SHOES every 6 to 7 months. Regular shoes such as casual sneakers, sandals and boots do last longer, but make sure to keep them in good shape. Oh, and if your shoes smell bad, even after a wash, get rid of them. For your fellow man, please!
Lycra running pants and underwear. For the love of all things fresh, modern and yeast-infection free, do yourself a favour and ditch those funky Lycra running pants and undies now. They’re probably stretched, dated and they make you appear old and out of step with the times. More important, this synthetic bad guy is guilty, guilty, guilty of provoking itching, skin rashes and yeast infections. According to evidence, Lycra traps moisture, setting up the perfect condition for the growth of yeast organisms that thrive in moist, warm environments like the crotch area. Nix the Lycra now. It would be a crime to let them continue taking up valuable space in your home. Double ouch.
Non-UV Costume sunglasses. This is one shady deal. Those $10 gas station glasses may have movie star appeal, but non-UV sunglasses not only burn a (tiny) hole in your WALLET, they can also cause burns to your eyes. The sun’s harmful UV rays cause the same type of damage to your eyes as your skin. Sporting costume non-UV shades offers no protection and can cause burn, blindness and an elevated risk of cancer. Surely, this is not what you bargained for. Ditch them. Local service clubs like the Lions Club and companies like Lens Crafters and Pearle Vision may accept your glasses for reuse of the frames or for recycling.
Your super fat and super thin clothes. Free your mind and your closet space by letting go of those skinny jeans you wore back in college or the muumuu you’ve held onto as a caution to never to let your weight balloon again. Let them go and concentrate on the here and now. Face it, those jeans will never fit you in the same way again. They were designed for 20-year-old bodies, after all, not for A 40-something. As for the oversized frocks and sweaters, why would you want to hang on to unhappy memories? Show off your new shape with more figure-flattering clothes. So buck up, bag them and take them to Goodwill or other thrift stores in your area.
The drop-side crib. Step away from that old (or even newish) drop-side crib you’ve been hanging on to for your new baby, grandkids, cousin’s baby or whoever. In case you haven’t heard, drop-side cribs have become the pariah of the baby snoozing world. Due to safety concerns, they are banned in the U.S. and crib safety organizations, the Canadian government and some other jurisdictions have taken a tougher stance towards the once popular cribs. Free up your valuable home space, check with larger/chain baby and toy stores to see if they will take and recycle your drop-side crib or other old baby furniture in return for a discount on something new.
Dried flowers and dead candles. Reduce the number of dust-collecting objects sitting on your coffee table, side tables, mantle, nightstand, bureaus, and countertops. The more stuff you have, the easier it is for dust to accumulate and the harder it is to wipe down the surfaces. Keep only a few precious objects on display. Some items like scented candles and potpourri are typical culprits for allergic rhinitis (runny or itchy nose, watery eyes and sneezing—resulting from inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes).