A big contributor to household clutter is not knowing how long to keep certain items in your home. There's no reason to supply valuable real estate to items past their prime that are no longer of use to anyone. Follow this guide and begin tossing, donating, shredding and recycling the items in your home and office that have met their expiration dates.
Clothes, boots & shoes
You might be holding onto some clothes and shoes because, once again, you don't know how long you should keep them. I've held onto clothes and shoes well past their usefulness: when they didn't fit, itched, scratched, and no longer projected the image I was trying to project.
I've now established some guidelines for how long I keep clothes and shoes: How Long to Keep Clothes & Shoes
Records, papers and financial documents (including tax records)
Food and leftovers
Food is something you *really* want to be clear on the expiration date once it goes into your refrigerator or freezer. I like to store food in Pyrex glass containers, and I label them by writing on a masking tape with a sharpie pen.
- This food storage container is perfect for storing portion-sized soups, stews, casseroles, rices and more.
See also: What to Do with Food so you can use it before it goes bad.
Make up & cosmetics
Whats the shelf life of your make up and grooming products? Sometimes it's very tricky to tell since makeup and shampoo often don't come with expiration dates. Here is a guide.
Newspapers and magazines
This is a huge source of clutter for me! I like to hang onto my Saturday and Sunday new York Times well past their expiration dates. Here are my self-implemented guidelines:
For the weekday newspaper, recycle these every single day, meaning you keep it no longer than 1 day. As soon as the next one arrives, the old one goes in the recycling bin. If there's an article or recipe I'm interested in, I tear it out and put it in my In Box.
For the thicker weekend edition, I keep these for a week.read more about How I Manage Mail & Paper
Sneakers for excercizing (like how long to keep running shoes)
Holding onto and using sneakers for longer than you should can lead to injury. Also, old sneakers tend to get pretty gross after you've run or walked in them for a while. Here's how to tell when it's time to upgrade your kicks.
Spices and herbs
I remember a few years back, Mark Bittman of the New York Times said to throw spices out after one year, and then everyone told him that was too soon. I'm sticking with a year rule, just to be safe.
If they have an expiration date, throw them out when they reach that date, but most don't, so look for these these 3 signs it's time to toss the shampoo:
- Turn Color
- Changes consistency
A good rule of thumb is to keep toiletries fora year and then buy fresh ones.