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The Expiration Date of Your Stuff

about minimalism

Most of us are good about following the expiration date of food items, but what about all the other stuff we own? Most of the things we bring into our homes are only useful for a period of time, so we should regularly take inventory and get rid of items that are past their prime. Here are some things you may be hanging on to that have outlived their usefulness.

Greeting cards - Greeting cards are truly a temporary item. They serve one purpose: to convey a greeting. Once their message has been received their lifespan is complete and they can be recycled. By all means keep a few that are truly meaningful, but let go of the rest.

Makeup - You might not be aware that cosmetics have a lifespan, but through use they get contaminated with the bacteria found on our face and hands (yuck) and should be replaced regularly. Here are some guidelines for when to trash your makeup:

Mascara and liquid eyeliner - 2-3 months Lipstick and lip gloss - 1 year Foundation and concealer - 1 year Pencil products (eyeliner, lipliner) - 2 years Powder products (blush, eyeshadow, face powder) - 2 years

Toiletries - Similarly, products like shampoo and lotions degrade over time and especially once they are opened and exposed to air and moisture. Some products simply lose their effectiveness while others (like creams in jars) get contaminated with bacteria. Check the labels for a jar symbol containing “12M” or “24M” to indicate its lifespan in months, or use these guidelines:

Sunscreen - 1 year Acne and anti-aging products - up to 1 year Shampoo and conditioner - 2-3 years Lotions and moisturizers - 6 months for jars, 1 year for pumps Toothpaste - 2 years Deodorant and soap - 3 years

Magazines and newspapers - Our subscriptions tend to pile up if we don’t make the time to read them. Try to only keep the current issue and one previous issue on hand, and when the new one comes the oldest needs to be recycled. If you find you toss several issues without reading them, unsubscribe. You can always re-subscribe if you find you miss it!

Hobby supplies - Any hobbyist knows how easy it is to accumulate supplies faster than you can use them. Your tastes and style change over time and you have probably lost interest in a lot of the older items in your stash. Go through your supplies once a year and toss anything that you wouldn’t pay money for today.

If you found these tips helpful be sure to subscribe to the Pretty Neat weekly email! You'll get a short and sweet message each week with my best advice for a more beautiful and functional home. Click here to sign up, and you'll also receive my FREE guide: How to Get Rid of Stuff!

Make it fab!


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