Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why toss out expired items?

I’m one of those weird people who likes to read organizing books and one thing that I noticed a number of organizing books consistently say across the board is to throw out stuff that is past its expiration date. This always puzzled me. I thought it was wasteful. The organizing books never give any reasons for this seemingly arbitrary rule.

I am happy to report that I now can give the reason behind that bit of advice.

“Throw away everything past its expiration date” sounds arbitrary because it IS arbitrary. But it serves several useful purposes. Organizing experts have dealt with many people who have farrrrrrr too many of everything that they have been holding on to for farrrrrrr too long, and it would simply take too much time and emotional-mental energy for their clients to painstakingly determine what stuff was still good and what stuff isn’t. In these situations, you draw an arbitrary line in the sand and just say, “Everything that doesn’t fit these requirements must go, no matter what.” This allows you to make lots of progress de-cluttering with little emotional-mental work needed to make decisions.

When I helped my mom de-clutter her medicine cabinet, we adopted this rule of tossing everything expired. De-cluttering then became a matter of checking the expiration date on the bottle. Too old, out you go. Easy-peasy, mac-‘n-cheesey.

This expiration date rule can also be used for make-up too.

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