We’ve all heard that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and most of the time that’s true. “Upcycling” has become downright trendy, with people turning their dumpster-diving finds into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture for their homes. Likewise, repurposed, recycled and reclaimed items are a badge of honor among the younger crowd. The “waste not, want not” mindset behind giving items a second life as something new and unique is commendable and fantastic. Most of the time.
Then there are those things you should absolutely toss in the garbage without delay- things that are so gnarly that they can’t be repurposed by even the most optimistic dumpster-diver. Here are a few household items it’s almost never a good idea to hang on to when you’re organizing your home for spring.
Old cosmetics- If you are or ever have been female, or if you have lived with a female member of society at any point in your life, chances are you are familiar with the Mascara Conundrum. Though common wisdom dictates that a tube of mascara, an eyeliner, or any other cosmetic that touches your eyes should be thrown out once every three months to avoid contamination which leads to eye infections, few women have the heart to actually go through with it. For one thing, cosmetics can be quite pricey, with even the drugstore brands of mascara costing upwards of $6 per tube. Secondly, when you are faced with the possibility of conjunctivitis or the prospect of chucking your limited-edition plum eyeliner sample you received as a free gift with purchase, a good number of women will roll the dice and opt to keep the eyeliner. Hard as it may be, you really need to purge your eye makeup at regular intervals to keep your eyes healthy and infection-free.
Expired food- There are probably no people on earth who need to be told to get rid of their spoiled dairy, meat or produce- at least we hope not! However, dry goods and spices are another story. Since you don’t have to refrigerate these items, people can mistakenly think they never go bad, or that they should be able to keep just fine for indeterminate periods of time in your cupboards or pantry. This is not accurate- there’s a reason for the “use by” dates stamped on most dry goods and non-perishable items. It may seem like a waste to toss out unused food because of an arbitrary date on the box, but you’ll be glad you did.
Broken toys- As your kids get older, it’s natural to want to keep some of their toys as keepsakes or mementos, or even put them away in case they want to pass them onto their own children someday. Additionally, any toys that are still in good shape can be donated to charity so they can be enjoyed by other kids. But there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to keeping toys that are broken. Dolls without heads, trucks without wheels, or puzzles that are missing pieces all need to find their way out of your attic and into a garbage truck ASAP.
If you have any spring cleaning tips, including suggestions for where to toss unwanted items, let us know in the comments below.