When the food in your fridge goes bad, you know it. The pungent smell (or fuzzy texture!) is a telltale sign. But most items don't come with an expiration date. We keep using them and using them when we might be better off giving them the old heave-ho. These six household items are at the top of the list:
- The pillows on your bed: The place where you lay your head every night sees a lot of action (we're just talking about sleeping, not to mention other activities). If your sleep's been fitful, your back's been hurting or you feel like you've been suffering from more allergies than usual, the culprit could be right under your nose. I put a 2 year time limit on pillows. Want to freshen yours? See Home Remedy: Put Your Pillows In the Sun.
- Your towels: Especially if you shower every day, your towels probably get a good workout. Not to mention frequent encounters with the washer and the dryer and they might be looking a little sad. Think of it as an opportunity to give your bathroom a bit of a facelift. Donate old towels to your local animal shelter and you've not only treated yourself but your furry friends. I put a 2 year time limit on towels.
- Your toothbrush: Do your toothbrush bristles stand up straight and neat? You're good to go. If they show any sign of splaying, it's time to shop for a new toothbrush or brush head. It's commonly accepted that toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 to 6 months.
- Bath mat: This small piece of fabric probably get even more wear and tear than your towels. I put a 2 year time limit, tops, on my bath mat.
- Cosmetics & makeup brushes: Wash your brushes and applicators every two to three weeks using mild soap and conditioner and they should last up to two years. Mascara should be replaced every three months, especially if you wear contact lenses. Everything else should probably be tossed after two years.
- Spices: If your food has been tasting a little bland lately and you find yourself reaching for the salt shaker with increasing frequency, the culprit could be the age of your herbs and spices — most lose their pungency within six months. Visit The Kitchn for more details on storing these flavor enhancers to keep them at their best.
Image: The Eastside Home Tours: A Spectrum of California Color