Expiration Dates

Expiration Dates

Let’s talk about expiration dates. Whether you believe in expiration dates or not, if something is expired in your home, you aren’t using that item enough for it to be kept. Most things take months, if not years, to expire. If you don’t use it by its expiration date, then it’s taking up unnecessary space in your home.

Here are a few examples:

  • Toiletries/Makeup have a shelf life of two years at the most.
  • Canned goods last roughly 2-5 years.
  • Fresh meat in the fridge can last up to 1-5 days; in the freezer, meat can last 4-12 months.
  • Pantry items typically last 3-9 months.

My rule of thumb as a Professional Organizer is that if your item is expired, it has far less to do with the item no longer being safe for use, rather it is taking up valuable real estate in your home. If most products take months, if not years to expire, this is an indicator that they are not being used frequently enough or at all to warrant keeping.

When going into my clients’ homes, I often see multiples of the same item. This goes beyond backstock. Repetitive items indicate an issue of not knowing what we own. When things aren’t organized or have a home, we run the risk of buying multiples, not realizing we already have the item tucked away. Out of sight, out of mind! This is when I see items expire. When we can’t find what we need right away, or are in too much of a rush to thoroughly search, we buy more and more.

It’s important to store food items in a clearly visible location. Turntables are great for corner spaces where access is limited. Stacking canned goods on tiered stands allows for better visibility. Decanting spices into glass jars with clear labels will help you keep a better track of inventory.

Expiration dates are important to a Professional Organizer, and they should be to you too. It shows us that the object is taking up space where a more valuable or frequently used item could go. We often see clients overwhelmed with the amount of items they have in their home, the lack of space for things that are important, and the inability to find what they need when they need it. You’d be surprised how much these issues can be solved by a simple purge of unnecessary and unused products.

When organizing your space, first and foremost, check your expiration dates. This will eliminate clutter, relieve that sense of overflow and crowdedness in your home, and perhaps most importantly, take a huge mental load off of you!

Emily Grindell
Emily Grindell

Mar 18, 2024 • 2 mins read