3 Major Places Hiding “Expired” Items That You Need to Declutter Now

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With all the things that come into your home, a good amount needs to be taken out, especially the ones that directly impact your health and safety. The items that are no longer safe to use or consume should be decluttered to make way for new and fresh things. 

Let’s spend the day taking care of “expired” things — but of course, there’s more to it than looking at a date on the back of a package. You may have to do a little more research on your items before decluttering.

Day 7: Clear expired things from all over your home.

For today’s assignment, we’re going to clear out expired items in one area of our home: the kitchen, bathroom, or the place where you keep your cleaning supplies. (You can also do all three if you feel like it!) 

This is perhaps the trickiest section you’ll tackle because what’s deemed “expired” in the kitchen will vary. After all, you can’t just depend on the “expiration date” on a package. 

That’s why when considering what food items to declutter, you need to factor in what you see, smell, and research. You’ll want to research how long an item can last and the signs you should be looking for to know if it has gone bad. You’ll also want to look at and smell it before tossing. Anything spoiled should be immediately removed. One commenter on a previous Cure post suggested FoodPrint as a resource to understand the difference between “sell by,” “best by,” or “use by” labels, too.

You’ll be looking in the fridge, freezer, and pantry for expired goods and making your decisions as to what can stay, needs to be tossed, or should be donated. You can also move items into the freezer to free up fridge space. 

Once all is said and done, take this as an opportunity to assess your current food waste situation at home. Did you have a lot of things to toss? Maybe it’s time to not buy an item because you never use it. Give this some thought and consider these ideas, too. One commenter on last year’s Cure post shared that they keep a calendar in their pantry to keep track of “expiration dates” so that they can plan and use those foods before then.

Several expired products could be hiding in your bathroom. Medicine and beauty products are big offenders, especially all those travel- or trial-sized extras you’ve picked up but have never used. Most packages have a “PAO” (period after opening) symbol on the bottom that looks like a small jar and includes a number that represents the number of months you can use a product after opening it so that it is safe and effective. Medication loses efficacy too, so be sure you are disposing of this correctly, following the instructions of the FDA

Whether your cleaning products are in one central location or spread out across your home, spend some time going through them to make sure they are still good to use. Yes, cleaning products expire, including disinfectants, bleach, and even laundry detergent, and lose efficacy over time. Proper storage is important when it comes to your cleaning supplies, too, so be sure you are keeping them in a cool and dry place. 

No matter if you removed one item or swept through all your stuff, I hope you’re feeling good that you eliminated one bad thing from your home for good.

PRO TIP: Looking for more expired items to declutter from your home? Take a look at smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and your collection of batteries, as all of these items have expiration dates. 

What was the most surprising thing you found while decluttering expired things from around the home? Share it with us in the comments below.

More ways to participate in the January Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.

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