Nothing lasts forever, but that doesn’t stop certain people from holding on to stuff for way too long. While they may avoid being labeled a “hoarder,” their cabinets, shelves, and closets are stuffed to the brim with things that should’ve been thrown out months before.
You may be surprised by all the items that you keep using after the recommended period. Grab some garbage bags and get into the cleaning mindset: trashing these 20 items (probably in your house right now) might improve your health — or even save a life!
1. Pacifiers: Babies might not like this, but parents should switch out pacifiers every couple months. Otherwise, the latex will start to crack, or the pacifier will become a hotbed for germs if your child becomes ill.
2. Skillets: Flipping a pancake is already stressful enough, so don’t make it any more difficult. Replace your non-stick pans every six to twelve months, and there will — hopefully — be fewer kitchen disasters.
3. Power strips: We all juggle a thousand devices these days, and that means we juggle a thousand charging cables, too. To prevent fire hazards, test out your power strips every couple years to make sure they can handle a plethora of cords. Your phone will thank you.
4. Bug spray: Anyone can slap away a single mosquito, but an entire swarm is another question. But don’t rely on that old bottle of bug spray. It actually loses its potency as time goes on. Only the newer stuff will help keep the itch away.
Aurora / Svetlana Bahchevanova
5. Couch: Be honest. How often do you actually clean your sofa? If you own pets, grime will overrun your couch after several years, and if you sit frequently, it’ll sag and be less comfortable. High-quality furniture lasts longer, so a pricier sofa is likely worth the investment.
6. Bike helmets: Smart cyclists always take measures to protect themselves. Not only should you wear a helmet, but you should also buy a new one every once in a while. They often sit in your garage and bake, and high temperatures make helmets less resilient.
Flickr / Chris Deatrick
7. Fire extinguishers: Most of us hope to never have to put out a fire, but in the event that you need an extinguisher, you’d certainly want it to work. For proper fire safety, service it every couple of years and consider replacing it every twenty.
8. Yoga mat: While you’re busy finding your center, tons of bacteria are finding their way into the grooves of your yoga mat. Rotating new mats into your routine helps prevent nasty infections like athlete’s foot.
Flickr / Sandy Moynihan
9. Toothbrush: Even if you brush your teeth twice a day just like the dentist says, it might not be doing you any good if you’re using an old brush. After a couple of months, the bristles wear out and become home to all kinds of microscopic gunk.
10. Hairbrush: To keep your ‘do looking fresh, definitely clean out your brush every week and consider getting a new brush each year to keep your mane really fresh. It should be noted that any hairbrush works perfectly as a pretend microphone, regardless of age.
11. Makeup: Even the bravest beauty queens out there can’t lean on one cosmetic forever. Each item has a limited shelf life, after which it’ll be less effective. Additionally, you should absolutely toss out makeup after applying it to an infected area like a cold sore.
12. Passwords: It’s not just physical items you need to replace. To ensure your security online, experts recommend that you update your computer passwords every couple of years. That way, you can always stay one step ahead of identity thieves!
13. Sponges: Though it’s one of the handiest cleaning tools around, your sponge can do more harm than good after a couple weeks. You can boil it in hot water to eliminate bacteria growth, or just throw it out! Make sure you don’t nail anybody in the face with it, though.
14. Water bottles: It’s a safe bet to stock up on bottled water in case of emergencies, but the plastic caps actually start to deteriorate after a couple of years. Its chemicals start to bleed into the water — so you should probably avoid old bottles (you can still stack them into a fort)!
15. Tires: Without regular tire inspections, your car is at a high risk for accidents. If you notice bald patches on the rubber, then it’s definitely time to switch. But you don’t have to toss the tire out in the garbage — maybe it could make a nice swing?
Flickr / Marilou Goodwin
16. Running shoes: Exercising is the bee’s knees, but make sure you’re using the right tools. For running shoes, you’re best off grabbing a new pair every 300 miles. After that point, your shoes won’t provide the same support, and you risk all kinds of injury.
17. Refrigerator: When it comes to cleaning out your fridge, it’s best not to wait until it’s a biological hazard. If you have the finances, you’re best off buying a new refrigerator every ten or so years. Newer energy-efficient models might even save you on your power bills!
18. Pillows: Sleep is important, so don’t underestimate the value of a good pillow. Upgrading to a new one regularly will prevent a build-up of dust mites and provide better support for your neck and back. Sweet dreams!
19. Washers and Dryers: Quality appliances can last up to ten years (and provide your cat with countless hours of entertainment). But after that, they tend to develop serious mechanical issues or become unable to effectively wash the stink off your clothes.
20. Spices: Are you a proud citizen of Flavortown? As you would expect, salt, pepper, and other seasonings in your cupboard won’t necessarily go bad, but they do lose their taste over time. Rotate fresh spices into your kitchen and keep your recipes as tasty.
Flickr / heydrienne