How Long Should you Keep Household Items - Our Guide

One of the biggest reasons why people have so much clutter in their home is because of the unknown timeframe on how long to keep household items. Since there are no expiration dates on many of our random items, chances are you’re most likely going to hold on to them longer than you should. If you want to have a neat and organized home clear of purposeless objects, it’s important to first understand how to disassociate yourself with feeling like you need to keep everything you have.

If you’re ready to start clearing out the clutter but have no idea where to start, below let’s take a look at certain household items and how long you should keep them before getting rid of them.


Clothing Items and Accessories

Most people have a hard time getting rid of their clothes, especially women. To get started, you should pull out the clothing pieces, shoes, and accessories that you have not worn in over 2 years. While you’re doing that, make a pile of items that are stained or in need of repair. For those items that are stained or need repair, you should stop and plan when you will have them serviced. If you notice after 1 week you still haven’t attended to them, it’s probably time to let them go. For the other items you no longer have a need for, you can donate them, sell them or give them away to friends and family.


Food and leftovers

It is easy to disregard expired food in our refrigerators or pantries. Great thing is, it is not difficult to tell if your food items are expired or not, so this step is quite easy. Most fresh fruits, vegetables, and leftovers may not come with expiration dates, but you can keep track of this yourself. After a trip to the grocery store, place your produce into containers, write the date of purchase on a sticky note or a label, and place it on the container. This will help you keep track on when the items was purchased or opened and when it needs to go.

Below is an outline of the shelf life of common fruits and vegetables


You can do the same for leftovers - but you should eat them within 2 days. Dairy products can usually be eaten up to 10 days after purchase. Eggs can last for 3 to 4 weeks after purchase - and can be frozen!

According to, raw ground meats, all poultry, seafood, and variety meats should be refrigerated for up to 1 to 2 days. Raw roasts, steaks, and chops (beef, veal, lamb, and pork), refrigerated for up to 3 to 5 days. Cooked meat, poultry, and seafood can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. For red meat and fish if you don’t plan to use them right away it’s best to freeze them but you must eat them within 24 hours of defrosting.

According to the NHS, you can freeze meat for a long time and it will still be safe to eat, but the quality will decline so it's best to eat it within three to six months.

Cosmetic items

A MAC eyeshadow that cost $50 may be quite an investment, but it doesn’t mean that you should hold on to it for four years. Cosmetic items have expiration dates as well even though most people are unaware of this or choose to ignore it. Most mascara and eyeliners are best used within ninety days after it is first used.

Chances are that there will still be a lot of product left in the tube after a mere three months, but it’s best to get a new one as bacteria can build up in this product very quickly. Liquid foundation can last up to a year when kept away from sunlight and heat.

Most lipstick and lip glosses can be kept for six months up to a year before needing replacement. Makeup powder lasts the longest since you can use it for up to two years. That being said, if you detect a change in color or smell, discontinue use and throw it away.

Newspapers and magazines

Reading is a great activity, but it’s important to clear that pile of newspapers and magazines from time to time. If there is a particular article or photo that you’d like to keep, cut out the section and recycle the rest. There’s nothing wrong with keeping magazines around for a month or two, but as with newspapers because the quick turn around cycle, you should recycle them regularly.

If you’re looking for a professional organizer in Houston, TX to help make more space in your home or business, get in touch with Rescue My Space today. We’re always more than happy to help!