The Spring-Cleaning season is upon us—the perfect time of year for getting rid of clutter. Very few things in life are meant to last forever, and storage space is precious. Now is the time to get your cleaning checklist together and make a plan to get rid of all those unnecessary items that you’ve accumulated in the past year or more. If you need some cleaning inspiration, here are 10 items in your home you need to throw out ASAP.
1. Food Storage Containers
Tupperware is great for food prep and storing leftovers. But plastic food storage containers are meant to be disposable. That plastic will break down over time, and that can cause chemicals to leach into your food.
It’s time to toss any plastic food storage containers that are warped, discolored, or cracked. You should also get rid of containers that have a missing lid, as well as single-use food packaging items like margarine tubs and peanut butter jars.
Before you throw out your containers, check the bottom to see if they are recyclable. If it has the triangular recycling logo with a number 1 or 2, your local recycling center will probably take it.
2. Eye Makeup
Eye makeup usually contains basic preservatives to help keep it fresh. But after about six months, those preservatives will wear down or be overcome by bacteria. If you have old mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner, or any other eye makeup product sitting in the bottom of your purse or makeup bag, it’s time to throw it out.
3. Household Cleaners
Household cleaners and disinfectants are good for about two years. After that, many of the ingredients will start to break down, which will reduce their effectiveness. If you don’t remember when you purchased that bottle of cleaner that’s sitting underneath the kitchen sink, it’s probably time to toss it.
It’s safe to pour water-soluble products like stain removers, detergents, and all-purpose cleaners in liquid and powder form down the drain with running water. When it comes to products that contain hazardous chemicals—like oven cleaners—it’s best to contact your local waste disposal center for guidance on throwing them out.
If you still have bottles of sunscreen in your house that you used last summer, throw them in the trash. Over time, the protective chemicals in sunscreen will break down. Which pretty much takes away its ability to block out damaging sun rays. You should be tossing your sunscreen after every summer.
5. Worn-Out Sneakers
Athletic shoes may be pricey, but they have a shelf life. Experts say that athletic shoes can handle 300 to 500 miles of running or walking. Or, 45 to 60 hours of aerobics, basketball, or tennis. The midsoles of some athletic shoes can deform and compress unevenly, and that can cause an alignment change of the foot. Which can lead to injuries.
6. Cooking Oils, Herbs, & Spices
Over time, light and heat will break down oils and spices and make them less flavorful. This means you should be storing these items in a cool, dry place. But even with optimal storage conditions, herbs and spices will start to lose their distinctive aromas and go stale after about a year.
Expiration dates are important when it comes to oils. A bottle of olive oil can last up to two years. But, you should always give any type of cooking oil a quick sniff because that will tell you everything you need to know. If an oil is no longer good, it will smell rancid.
We should also mention that single spice and condiment packets should also be tossed, no matter how long they’ve been in your kitchen junk drawer. If you haven’t used them by now, chances are you never will.
The lifespan of a toothbrush is about three months. Brushing your teeth two to three times per day will wear down the bristles, and that reduces their effectiveness. At the start of every new season, change your toothbrush. If it’s electric, you should still replace the removable head every three months.
8. Opened Nail Polish
Once you open a bottle of nail polish, you have about a year to use it before it starts to evaporate or separate. Storing nail polish in a cool, dark place is ideal. But no matter where you keep it, nail polish belongs in the trash bin once it becomes thick and discolored.
9. Cardboard Boxes
If you have a stack of moving boxes or shipping boxes from all of your Amazon purchases laying around, get rid of them immediately. Cardboard boxes can attract moisture and pests, like cockroaches and earwigs.
10. Scratched Non-Stick Pans
The coating on old nonstick pans can flake into your food—especially if you’ve been using cooking spray. If you have scratched nonstick pans, it’s time to toss them in the trash and get new ones.
It’s also a good idea to get rid of pots and pans that you don’t use, but don’t throw them away. Donate them to Goodwill or an organization that could use them. Otherwise, they’re just taking up cabinet space.