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Borderline Hoarder…Stash it or Trash it?


Tired of clutter? Don’t know what to pitch and what to keep? And by Pitch I mean SELL at Cornbreads Garage Sale.

YEAR-OLD PRESCRIPTIONS – TRASH ‘EM. It’s not like a wine cellar. They aren’t getting better with time. With antibiotics, shelf life is even shorter. They’re prescribed for a specific condition for a specific period of time, so when you’re done, toss them.

OLD MAGAZINES – TRASH ‘EM. You keep telling yourself you’re going to look at them. You’re lying. Rule of thumb on reading: Give weeklies 1 month and monthlies 3 months.

6-MONTH-OLD FROZEN CHICKEN – STASH IT. Uncooked pieces can last 9 months in the freezer before the fibers start to break down and the taste fades away. Cooked ones only make it to 4 months. In theory, the chicken could last forever at zero degrees, although most home freezers don’t keep things that cold, and most people don’t have cravings for 27-year-old frozen chicken.

YEAR-OLD SPICES – STASH ‘EM. If you haven’t opened them, you can get up to 2 more years from them before the air gets in and the oils start to evaporate. Keep them at room temperature, which means as far away from the stove as you can.

2-YEAR-OLD RUNNING SHOES – TRASH ‘EM. They actually should have been ditched a year ago. Shoes last for about 300 to 500 miles, with the midsole being the first thing to break down. After that, if the tread is still intact, you can get another 6 months for general walking and sitting on the couch.

6-YEAR-OLD LEFTOVER PAINT – TRASH IT. After about 2 years, oil-based paint settles too much to be mixed; latex can grow mold and harden. But if you’re thinking of doing some touch-up, remember that color fades over time.

ONE SOCK – STASH IT. We know what you’re thinking: It’s a sock, not a kidney, so why keep it? Because old socks can be used as shoeshine rags (use the toe portion to spread the polish, then turn the sock inside out to buff). They can also make smelly shoes less stinky. Try this trick: Fill a stray sock (or two) with kitty litter, baking soda, or tea leaves, tie the ends closed, and place the socks in your shoes when you’re not wearing them.

6-MONTH-OLD E-MAILS – TRASH ‘EM. Unless you need it for something essential, such as a project at work, no e-mail needs to live longer than 1 month. Open it, read it, and either delete it or save it to a folder-just get it out of your inbox.

JUST-EXPIRED OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN MEDICATION – STASH IT. When it hits the expiration date it’s still 90 percent as potent as it was originally. So if it’s midnight and your head is pulsating, swallow what you have, as long as the pills still look like pills and there’s no vinegar smell.

YEAR-OLD SUNSCREEN – STASH IT. That bottle has another 1 to 2 years of life. After that, the concentration breaks down-slathering on more won’t compensate.

4-YEAR-OLD CANNED VEGETABLES – TRASH ‘EM. While they have a longer shelf life than the latest Brittany Murphy movie, the canning process doesn’t offer up eternity. After a year, the cans may be viable as paperweights, but they’re tasteless as dinner.

WIRE HANGERS – TRASH ‘EM. Take your stash back to the dry cleaners to be reused and torment other people. If you can’t let go completely, keep one for its best use: It can substitute for a plunger and unclog a toilet.

3-MONTH-OLD WATER BOTTLE – STASH IT. As long as it’s still holding water, it can stick around. Keep it clean and dry when you’re not using-water is a welcoming environment for bacteria-and it’ll be fine when you’re using it.