do you find it difficult to toss out outdated items?

ronbreNovember 20, 2009

I know if you have an organizing problem, sometimes, you are going to get outdated food, spices, makeup, cleaning products, colognes, etc.

Do any of you find it hard to throw them out..even if they are outdated more than a couple of years??????

Do you tell yourself..they are still good, and keep them in your cabinets, and still don't want to use them, cause you didn't use them for those 2 or 3 years that they got outdated?

You spent money on them so you don't want to throw them out?

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oh I used to keep things like that telling myself it cost such and such so I cant throw it out. Then when I started decluttering properly I got rid of those things. I just had to tell myself if Im not going to use it I should just get rid of it once and for all because no matter what it cost it was no use to me and that made it easier to just toss it. You just dont miss those type of things once they are gone because they just sat there forever not getting used anyway

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:05PM
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Aside from drugs I have very little if any really outdated stuff. I learned long ago to quit buying perishable stuff that I wouldn't use.

But really, keeping stuff that's really old and unusable is worse than tossing it. If you toss it, it's gone and forgotten. If you keep it, then everytime you see it you're reminded of the money you wasted on it.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 4:46PM
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I don't have that problem. I tend to keep stuff I think I might use to organize something else!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:26PM
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ok what about so called NON perishable boxed macaroni or potatoes or you keep them past the "best if used by " date?

just wondering..some do..and use them later..and some don't..remove them immediately after that date.

i know the stores say that they can be used after the best if used by date..but how long after should you keep them?

i know some people will keep them for years after that date..some won't keep them after that date..and some say a month or so is fine? just wondering what other people think about that and how you handle the best if used by date.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 11:14AM
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Here's a helpful website about how long food can be stored.

Here is a link that might be useful: Still tasty

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 3:58PM
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I dont normally use food after the use by date, it might still be ok, or not, but it could be stale but I dont waste it. It goes in the compost bin. I find it easier to throw out food if I know it's going somewhere useful instead of seeing it as being wasted. I just have a thing about getting sick from old food so the whole time Im eating it I'll be thinking along the lines of what if I end up with food poisoning lol. I know it's unlikely but I just start worrying about it but I dont feel guilty because Im feeding it to the compost and the garden eventually.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 8:34PM
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Yes, the compost pile is definitely your friend if you have outdated perishable items in your pantry. It makes it seem like less of a waste if you toss it into your compost, especially if you also like gardening and can see what a difference it makes when a plant is fed compost.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 10:42PM
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And I just learned another lesson on this today. I made a pumpkin pie from scratch that called for cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The last time I made pumpkin pie from scratch was last Thanksgiving. I knew I hadn't used these bottled spices (even if I keep them in my freezer) in at least a year.

Well I know how expensive spices can be so decided to risk it and used an extra amount of each since I remember that the guide is that you shouldn't keep dried spices longer than 6 months or they lose their strength (forget whether they will kill you or not).

Anyway, the pie was rather bland and I'm pretty sure if the spices had been fresh, it would have been a lot better. Was it worth the time it took to make the homemade crust and mix the eggs and condensed milk and measure the spices, etc., etc (and take it to the destination where we had thankgiving which wasn't at home)? NO, definitely not.

I'm tossing these spices. Won't be buying any more until I need them and when I do, I'm going to Whole Foods to the bulk section where you can buy spices by the tablespoon full (and they aren't too expensive that way either). Live and learn (again)!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 10:52PM
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I tell myself that throwing stuff out is cheaper than hiring a professional organizer (who presumably would tell me to throw stuff out, too).

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 1:35PM
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Absolutely! I switched to all natural cleaners a few years ago and I still have all the old cleaners. Won't ever use them again but I can't bring myself to toss them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 8:25PM
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ebear, thank you for your honesty, i think if most people were honest they would admit to having a few things in their home past their expiration dates..

also that site that socks posted was very informative.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:29AM
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If I use it, I keep it. Many of the "outdated" stuff is nonsense--I wore little makeup for years, so it always lasted longer than it was supposed to, and I didn't get a dread disease. (The reasoning behind tossing makeup is completely spurious, btw. If it's going to breed dangerous bacteria, it will in a matter of days, not years.)

If I don't use it, I toss it. Even if I do use it, if it's cheap and I ended up with more than I'll use in 5 years, it's gone. :-)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 12:35PM
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Yes, I hate to toss stuff in the trash. Clothes, furniture, bedding, etc. I can give away and it feels good. But old make up, lotion that I never used, that kind of stuff is hard for me to toss. I stopped wearing cologne because so many people are sensitive these days, but I never tossed it. (Two bottles, not a whole shelf.)

DH does the cooking and buys the food, and we have rice, beans, etc. in glass jars that he has had forever. It does not go bad, but I have been after him to use it and not buy so much next time.

We have a small house, but for the past four years, we have been doing a glacially slow remodeling. So things are not all in their proper places. Brought a new dryer lint brush a few months ago and found the old one last weekend. So we tested both (comparison) and the old one is going to the thrift store.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 10:30PM
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Hi, Ronbe and others. Yes, I have a hard time getting rid of the things you mentioned, and others. A really helpful lady who has a website is Flylady. She has written a book on organizing, as well as losing weight, and she has an internet radio show. If you have organizing problems, and problems cleaning, getting rid of things, she will really help. I know I sound like a commercial for her, but she really has helped me get rid of things. I'm not a hoarder, but still, have weird quirks about things. Her website is . She talks about born organized people (BO) and sidetracked home executives (SHEs) - (there were 2 sisters in the '70s who had written books about SHEs).

Anyway, if you are like me, my house is not gross, but I never could figure out how other people kept their houses so neat & still had free time. I always would do sporadic marathon cleanings. It turns out you don't have to do that. Born organized people know this, and do a little at a time, on a schedule or their own system that comes naturally to them.

Again, I know I sound like a commercial for her, (I'm not!), and I don't work for her. I just found this thread while posting/looking at the flooring thread, and thought I would share.
Good luck to anyone who is not that organized & feels embarrassed about it. You are not alone.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:36PM
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I like the expiration dates on things. It's like having someone standing by me and saying "Get rid of it already!"

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 9:47PM
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I've had trouble getting rid of books. I have too many and don't need them all. The other week my daughter asked me a medical question. I told her I had a book just on that medical condition. When I picked it up, I looked at the date of its copyright. It was 1983! So, I now look at the date of the book as a guide for those where updated information is important and can finally let them go with no guilt.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:36PM
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Even paper products don't last forever. My mom had an old roll of toilet paper stuck in the back of a closet(remember when it came in colors, back in the '70's?) It sat there for probably 30-maybe close to 40 years. I happened to find it. I opened the package and the paper was extremely dry and dusty, not soft. It was no longer useable.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:05PM
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New to this forum- Hi! Usually hang out in home decorating or kitchens.
I have no problem getting rid of stuff. Goodwill trips are quite frequent these days. sometimes I sell stuff on ebay or cl.I used to hang on to stuff, but got tired of trying to find places to put things. NO more.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 6:42PM
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My Mom went thru her pantry shelves and found all kinds of out-dated canned goods. She didn't want to use them, or donate them to a charity, so she put the regular filled cans directly in her trash. She said "Those garbage men have such awful language." LOL.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:38AM
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My husband's parents have a cottage "up north." I got tired of all the old food in the refrigerator and pantry. It was years out of date, but how could I make "the others" deal with it? I got little circle stickers in bright colors. I stuck one on every food item, right on the lid if possible. I wrote the expiration date, or at least purchase date if known. My MIL said it was very clever of me to do that, yet she has never used any of the stickers herself. I make it my job whenever I visit. And the three-years-out-of-date peanut butter disappears after a while. Making everyone who uses the place aware of how old the food is getting means that they have to see how much they are throwing away. I don't know if they have learned anything, or developed any new habits. I just don't want to be the one who has to haul away all the trash.

I don't put stickers on my pantry items at home. I figure, I use up food fast enough that it isn't a problem. But maybe I should try it on myself, at home.

The other day, my husband didn't want to let me throw away some skin lotion that is a year out of date and starting to separate. It smells different than it used to. I'll pitch it when he's not looking. I found some other travel size tubes of skin lotion that smelled really awful. I had no trouble pitching them!

I recently pared down my toiletries. It's my FLY-Lady-style project for January. Give it away if I'm not going to use it. I had three styling aids that were hardly used. My sister was happy to take them, along with some extra hair brushes. (How many do I need?) So now I am down to two shampoos and one tube of hair gel and one small tube of silicone conditioner. That's all I need to take care of my hair, along with one brush, one comb, and some hair clips & rubber bands. It feels nice to pare down.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Well i agree with the "books" mention..although I don't think they are really "outdated" ..they can get out of date.

i gave away a huge bag of diet books..if they didn't work in 38 years they aren't likely to start working now

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 5:38PM
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