5 Things to Toss This Spring
It's springtime, everybody, so you know the drill. Your house needs to lose some weight, not you. The good news is that your home doesn't need to diet; it just needs some TLC. So start hacking away at the excess in your home by disposing of these five sneaky items. Whether you know it or not, they're just wasting valuable space, health and/or sanity.
Pillows: Once you read this, you won't even want to keep your old pillows around. The lifespan for a typical bed pillow is two to three years. In that time, it accumulates dust mites, bacteria, mildew and fungus, all of which only grow worse with time and all of which can cause serious health issues, particularly for people with asthma and allergies. In fact, a British study found that the average used pillow has 1 million fungus spores, including species found in bread mold and on shower walls. While washing your pillow can temporarily relieve this, it does not solve the problem. If you're unsure of whether your pillow qualifies for the toss, then try this: Fold the pillow in half. If it stays folded, then it's definitely time for a new one.
Magazines: The average magazine is 9 inches wide and 11 inches tall, so there's almost 100 square inches of storage space being wasted (and that's only if you stacked them all in one pile). Remember in high school when you kept all those old book reports and homework assignments in a box in your closet, only to find at the end of the year that you had WAY too many papers on your hands? Well, that's your magazine collection now. I don't care how big a Cosmopolitan fan you are; you don't actually need to know the top fashion tips from fall 2008. If there are any articles or features that are particularly important to you, then clip them from the magazine and file them away. Then recycle the rest of the magazine, because it's just wasting space.
VHS tapes: Don't deny it: You still have a stack of VHS tapes in your entertainment drawer. Not only are they outdated and nearly useless with all modern technology, but they also take up a lot of space. Don't worry; you don't have to throw the footage out completely, but you should at least transfer your videos onto more modern and space-saving devices, like DVDs or hard drives. There are many companies that will convert your VHS tapes to DVDs for under $20, making the transfer not quite as painful. However, any movies that you own on VHS are excluded from this due to copyright laws. But really, do you need that tape copy of "The Last Unicorn"? Once you've completed the transfer of your home videos, toss those tapes out, stat.
Makeup: Whether you paid too much on it or not, it's easy to let that old makeup sit in the back of your cabinet or drawer for all eternity, all because it hasn't run out yet. Unfortunately, makeup does not last forever, even if you want it to, and that extra space in your bathroom could be useful for storing other things (like new makeup). The shelf life of mascara is three months, liquid foundation six months, lipstick one year, eye shadow two years, perfume two years and nail polish one year. I bet you that over half your makeup collection is beyond those life spans. I know you were obsessed with that hue of lipstick when you bought it, but keeping it now won't make that mistake go away. Throwing it in the garbage, however, will.
Paint: Paint is not, as many people believe it to be, everlasting. Even if you've been careful about storing unopened cans of paint by keeping them in cool, dry space where they aren't exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures, you can only expect a two-year shelf life. If there are any noticeably older cans of paint lying around in your shed or garage, then toss them. But don't put them with the other trash. Lead and other chemicals in paint can be hazardous, so visit Earth911.com to find local dispensaries that can properly dispose of your paint.
At the end of the day, your home should reflect your life this time of year: clean and refreshed. So take some extra time this season to put your home and your world together in a fresh and healthy way.