Schedule An Expiration Date Day!

So often people tell me that they “just can’t throw anything away”. For these folks we start the de-cluttering process with a warm-up exercise. I call it “Theme Organizing” where we start with a particular theme and organize it throughout the house. One idea is the expiration date theme. Most people who are in the can’t-throw-anything-away category will still be able to part with an item once it has expired. To start, go through each room in your house looking for the “easy throw out” expired items. Since organizing leads to more organizing, before you know it, your eye is noticing other things in your path that have also served their shelf life and are ready to be tossed or given away. Folks who start out as “I can’ts” quickly find themselves saying, “I can”! Here are some sample expiration date items and places to find them:

  • Refrigerator – just how old is that no fat, no carb, no cholesterol, no sugar, no taste cream cheese? Might as well check the dates on the mayonnaise, eggs and salad dressing while you are in there.

  • Kitchen cabinets & pantry – now that winter is over, check the dates on those baking items that did not get much use in prime baking season. Check cans, boxes and bags for the telltale expiration dates.

  • Medicine & vitamins – old medicine is a must throw away item. While you’re in the bathroom, check on those 1/4 bottles of shampoo and conditioner that were pushed aside when something new came along. Use them up or just get rid of them. And wherever you keep those vitamins, why not take a look to see if they are old news by now too.

  • Film & batteries – yeah that both of these items are dated now. Out, out, out with them.

  • Coupons – the item looked good in the circular but the coupon never made it out of the coupon holder. How about all those store sale coupons for Linens & Things? Don’t be so fast to throw those away because the store will accept them even if they are expired. (And you thought I wanted you to throw everything out. Not true at all.)

  • Unused gift certificates – sometimes the store, restaurant, salon etc. will still honor these. It’s worth a quick phone call to find out. If they say no, then let it go.

  • Catalogs, magazines & newspapers – last year’s catalogs probably have old pricing and items that are out of season. Don’t worry, if you throw this away they will send you another. Keep in mind that expired can also mean “I haven’t read them in a reasonable amount of time” and it’s old, outdated information by now. Out with it.

  • Old schedules – school, social, etc. They are passed their prime. Don’t worry; there will be more plays, concerts and activities next month.

Hope these suggestions will get your organizing juices flowing.

Statistic: 12% of all products purchased by consumers are never used and are eventually discarded. Parting with home items and office supplies isn’t easy. If you need gentle support to decide what to keep and what to throw away, call Susan Lovallo, CT professional organizer.

A professional organizer for more than 15 years, Susan Lovallo, CPA, CPO, works with individuals and businesses to help them declutter, simplify and establish or streamline systems. Whether you are organizing your home, business, or financials, the result is greater productivity with less effort, providing more time to enjoy life. Clients appreciate Susan’s easy and effective solutions and financial expertise, as well as her patience, compassion and sense of humor.

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