Schedule Consult   Call

How Old Is That?

How old is that?!

There may be pockets of chaos in your home that would yield the space they occupy if you simply asked: ‘How old is that?’ Let’s take a quick look at a few of my favorite areas straight from the pages of my new book The 8 Minute Organizer: Easy solutions to simplify your life in your spare time.’  The great thing about considering the age of an item is that you get the ‘permission’ you seek to toss it without having to experience guilt, indecision or regret.  Are you ready?

  1. The Medicine Cabinet

We pay a small fortune for prescription meds, which makes us feel like we must hold on to them forever.  Unfortunately while we’re being what we consider to be good stewards of the drugs they are in turn growing old and ineffective in our medicine cabinets. Take a peek and check dates.  If you feel the date is a guideline not the real expiration date call your physician for advice.  When it comes time to dispose of your pills, don’t toss them down the drain or flush them down the toilet.  Return them to your pharmacy for safe disposal that will neither harm the environment nor put innocent creatures at risk.

  1. Make up

Ladies, I know it hurts to toss these expensive treasure (especially our mistakes) but our make up doesn’t in fact last forever.  I asked one of the executives at Jouer Cosmetics here in Los Angeles how we could tell when it was time to toss.  Here are three of her insider guidelines:

  • Mascara once opened needs to be tossed after 6 months.  If it’s sealed you can safely keep it a few years.
  • Wet lip-gloss and liquid foundations last a maximum of two years.  If you see separation of ingredients any time before then toss it early!
  • Powders including eye shadow, blush can last up to five years.  You should try them on your skin to see if the ingredients are holding up.

You will find all of Sarah Garcia’s guidelines in The 8 Minute Organizer as well as One Year to an Organized Life. Sarah was generous and taught me how to decipher the codes you frequently see on products.

  1. Groceries

Take a minute to peer into the frozen tundra of your freezer and check expiration dates on frozen food items. Be sure you identify all of your frozen entries with the date and type of food. How long do different products last? Here’s a government website that will give you the skinny on frozen meat storage:

While you’re in the kitchen check the expiration dates on your canned goods.  And before you leave this room peek into your refrigerator and see if the opened bottles of food items are still viable or growing mold.  Better to find out now than the moment you need them for a recipe!

  1. Toys

No, toys don’t come with expiration dates but very often parents don’t want to admit the passage of time and hold on to items that junior and his sister haven’t touched in years.  Make another child happy and get a tax deduction for your next return. April will be here before you know it and you will be so grateful you were clever and cleaned out your family room. Junior and his sister will no doubt be grateful they have more room for the items that currently interest them.

  1. Writing Tools

Just about every home I enter has a massive collection of pens, Sharpies, highlighters and other special ink based tools.  The problem is these collections dry out over time and just clog the space. Check out your existing collection and whittle it down to a sensible few.  Be sure every person and area has a tool and a spare. Consider donating the overflow to a school or day care center. And the next time you’re at a big box store and tempted by a big package of pens ask yourself if this purchase is a classic example of  ‘penny wise, pound foolish’

Spare Time Organizing ~

That’s what The 8 Minute Organizer is all about. Not sure you have that occasional spare 8 minutes for home organization?  Time yourself the next time you’re on line.  I bet the total number of minutes will astound you.  Set a timer when you next long on for fun and relaxation. After 10 or 15 minutes, steal away for 8 minutes that will change your home environment, raise your self esteem and give you room to breathe!  Who would say ‘no’ to that?

Regina Leeds
‘The Zen Organizer’

Regina Leeds is a New York Times Best Selling Author, Professional Organizer. Get more home organization tips from Closet Factory’s exclusive home organization guides

Similar articles from Regina Leeds:

Spring Cleaning with a Purpose, Part One – Tips by The Zen Organizer

Disposing of Old Electronics


Schedule a free design consultation with a designer.

Each of our custom organization systems is completely personalized and begins with a complimentary design appointment.

Schedule a Consult
What should I expect?

During the consultation you and a designer will discuss your wish list, desires, and project budget, with the aim of designing an organization system that will:

  • Turn your dream into reality
  • Organize you efficiently
  • Create space for everything
  • Maximize the space
  • Create optimum visibility
  • Display your personal items
  • Add value to the home
  • Harmonize with the décor