Declutter These Expired Goods In Your Home Now!

image of parking meter wither the word expired written boldly in red

Full disclosure, I detest cluttered anything. I have always preferred open space to stuff. If an object isn’t functional or exquisite it does not get in my home. Not many duplicate items here because I have never found a need for things like a dozen wood spatulas.

My kitchen cabinets and pantry items are in order and my junk drawer is not filled with junk. 

I learned there are other expired goods in our homes other than expired food and medicine cabinet contents that we need to be aware of.

The changing of the seasons seems a good time to me to get rid of the stuff from the previous season I did not use. As I snuggle in for the winter season I decided it is a good idea to check these things. I am giving myself until Thanksgiving to go through the list. Yikes! Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away!

Decluttering

There is more to the decluttering process than just throwing out old broken junk. Yes, getting rid of the myriad lid-less plastic containers used for leftovers is a good start as is tossing expired perishable items. Decluttering can be a fresh start too. Getting rid of unwanted items and chipped coffee mugs is easy.

When it comes to all the meaningful sentimental items we have things get a little tricky. Here is where we learn decluttering is a perfect opportunity to look at what got us into this mess. Clutter, study after study concludes, can be directly linked to our physical and mental health.

I would enjoy very little peace if I did not live in a clutter-free and clean home. Since it is my preference I have fewer items in my home than some, because I find it easier to keep my home in good shape this way. 

I don’t find it necessary to have a bazillion cleaning supplies because I find vinegar and water clean most things. Home storage spaces are sparse in my home so I don’t have to deal with lots of out-of-sight, out-of-mind clutter.

There is a designated area for everything in the entire house, so it has been a long time since I have had to go on a hunt for any given item I need.

Where did all this clutter come from?

We have habits so ingrained we don’t even think consciously about it our actions much of the time. Here are just a few of the reasons we are drowning in a sea of clutter.

Overspending- shopping for recreation

Procrastination– I’ll do it next week.

Trouble with the decision-making process – should I keep it or toss it?

Unresolved emotional issues- I was poor growing up and have a scarcity mentaity

​Some folks suffer mental health issues and need professional help.

Expired items

There are expired goods in the different areas of your home and vehicles to check out. The first thing to do is check your potentially expired physical object for the often well-hidden expiration dates.

Car booster seats 

Car seats for children usually expire after 6 years. The expiration date is usually found under the seat or on the frame of the seat.

There is no government regulation that requires expiration dates on car seats in the USA. NHTSA suggests to buy only new car seats.

A good car seat can be pricey. Yes, a child’s safety is priceless. If you can’t afford a new car seat check your state’s website. Some states and children’s hospitals offer free car seats to families in need. Some of the requirements may include a letter from your healthcare provider.

Check out the Free Baby Car Seats program across the USA.

Smoke detectors.

Look at the back of the alarm for the date of manufacture. It is recommended moke alarms should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture. Combination smoke carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced after 5-7 years.

Fire extinguishers 

Thankfully I have never had to use the fire extinguisher I keep in my hot shop (glass melting studio).

The thing about fire extinguishers is they can become depressurized over time. There is not an expiration date on fire extinguishers, though there is often a manufacturer date generally on the bottom of the canister.

6 and 12-year service maintenance is recommended because stuff breaks down such as the rubber o-rings that helps seal the valve and cylinder connection. Rubber can crack and break down over time so it is important to have this replaced at the recommended times.

Because I seldom read the user manuals that come with things I had no idea we are supposed to check these things from time to time. Don’t worry, the good news is, you can check your fire extinguisher right now.

Look at the date of manufacture on the nameplate, and if it’s still recent and the gauge reads in green, it is most likely still in good working order. However, I am not a fire safety expert. I found researching this subject interesting and possibly life-saving. 

I have read from a few different sources the ‘test button’ is not an accurate test and can lead to a false positive. So keep this in mind too. Fires are nasty and I want to do everything within my power to insure against fire.

Bicycle helmets

A combination of 22 states, including the District of Columbia, and about 202 localities do require a rider to wear a helmet.

The consensus seems to be there is no official expiration date on bicycle helmets though I have read compelling information on why we may want to replace a helmet. The degradation of foam and glue is one reason the integrity of the helmet is compromised.

As for helmets that haven’t been compromised or damaged, they, too, should be replaced every three to five years. There are a lot of things that degrade over time, like the foam and glue used in the helmet. Your body oils, sweat, and UV rays also take a toll on the material.

It is said that after five years, a bicycle helmet is for sure compromised and not offering the intended level of protection. If you ride a lot, consulting with an expert or replacing your helmet every three years may be a good idea. It is also recommended to replace bicycle helmets after a crash.

I found bicycle helmet information in Consumer Reports without a paywall, pretty interesting.

Pepper spray

Knowing pepper spray expiration dates and how to maintain it is essential for those who carry pepper spray for self-defense purposes.

Most pepper sprays will have an expiration date stamped on it.

Pepper sprays generally have a shelf life of two to five years. Experts recommended storing the spray in a cool dry space.

Not sure how this would work out if you are traveling alone across a hot desert in a questionable area. Just kidding! Border patrol confiscated my pepper spray at the Canadian Border years ago!

Medicines

Find the expiration dates on each container of medicine.

When thinking about expired medications, don’t forget about your pets medications. Shame on me!

I stupidly did not realize my pup’s dry eye medication had an expiration date on it. Simon’s eyes need daily drops to treat a dry eye condition and I just figured I was supposed to replace the drops when the bottle was empty.

I learned that Simon’s daily eye drops had expired and was causing the infection! Talk about feeling guilty!

Paint

I have lots of old paint around the house. You can tell if paint has gone bad by the smell and texture. A rancid or sour-smelling paint means your paint has gone bad. In particular, the smell of bad paint is similar to sour milk. Other indicators of expired paint include a lumpy or chunky paint consistency.

The approximate average lifespan of paint:

Latex paint 2 – 10 years

Acrylic paint 2 – 15 years

Chalk paint 1 – 5 years

Milk paint, mixed from powder form 1 – 7 days

Batteries

Battery expiration dates are usually found on the uppermost section of the cells, near the battery type (AA, 9V, etc.). Look for a white box with the BIUB (Best If Used By) year printed within it

Alkaline batteries can last up to 10 years if stored properly. There are so many different kinds of batteries and each battery has different capacity loss during storage. If you are really into the subject of batteries I recommend visiting Battery University.

Hydrogen peroxide

I never gave hydrogen peroxide a thought. This product is relatively unstable and decomposes quickly. Hydrogen peroxide can last approximately 3 years in a sealed container, however once you open the container, it starts to break down.

You might be surprised to learn that it’s only effective for 1 to 6 months once the container is opened. To know the effectiveness of your hydrogen peroxide sprinkle some in the sink. If it sizzles it is still good.

Bleach

According to Clorox, undiluted household bleach has a shelf life up to one year from the date the bottle of bleach was made, if stored properly. Here is how to read the date code on the neck of a bleach bottle.

Other products like running shoes, sunglasses, and bug spray that may not be as life-threatening may also have suggested expiration dates.

So there you have it! A list of things to consider when making your decluttering checklist. Happy decluttering! And remember, decluttering one object a day will leave you feeling 365 objects lighter at the end of the year!

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutter-er and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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