Every household occasionally has things that really should be thrown away. The fruit salad gets forgotten in the back of the fridge until it has started growing an impressive collection of mold. The old, broken remote sits on the coffee table for months before anyone remembers to toss it in the trash. CD’s that no one has listened to in years and movies that no one is interested in ever re-watching gather dust, and almost every closet has a few items of clothing that are tucked in the back just in case they are ever needed again. The day they are needed never comes.
This ordinary sort of clutter is irritating, but not particularly harmful. No one is going to accidentally eat the month old fruit salad that is fuzzier than the family cat. The dead remote simply sits there, and while those CD’s take up room, they are not hurting anyone. This is what most people think of when they think of things that need to be thrown out. There are some ordinary household items, however, that may be doing you serious harm. Below are 5 things you need to throw away for your health’s sake;
1. Anything Expired
It seems like common sense to throw away anything that is past its expiration date. You would be amazed, however, how many people keep things long after they should be thrown away. Some of the things people are the most likely to keep around past their expiration date are makeup and food that has an exceptionally long shelf life. Makeup is not edible so most people do not realize that it has an expiration date at all. That said, it does, and when the minerals and dyes in the makeup start to break down, they can harm your skin. Makeup brushes and sponges also need to be disposed of regularly as they can hold long expired makeup or harbor harmful bacteria.
People rarely check the expiration dates on food that has a long shelf life. Unfortunately, however, your favorite brand of peanut butter does not last forever. Go through your cabinets and throw out anything that is expired. Pay special attention to non-perishable foods like canned goods, granola bars and peanut butter. They last for a long time, but they will not last forever.
2. Anything With Artificial Sweeteners
Those diet sodas that you think you can keep drinking while still losing weight need to be tossed in the garbage can A.S.A.P. So does the Splenda and those supposedly sugar free sweets. Most of those items are packed with artificial sweeteners which are arguably worse for you than foods and drinks that simply contain sugar. Artificial sweeteners tend to increase your cravings for sweet things, but since they interfere with the body’s satiety hormones, you are likely to overeat when you indulge. Some artificial sweeteners also have been known to kill off the bacteria in your digestive tract that is necessary for good gastrointestinal health. This can lead to a depressed immune system, worsening or unstable moods and other issues. Artificial sweeteners also take twice as long to clear your system as sugar, meaning those cravings and sugar high stick around longer as well as making them more likely to interfere with your sleep habits. Lack of sleep then leads you to crave even more sugar.
3. Anything Old and Porous
Sponges cost very little. It costs even less to wash washcloths and shower gloves. Yet people insist on leaving porous items damp instead of letting them dry out after every use. This means that you have items sitting around your house that are filled with small, dark, damp holes which are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi. Then, when you either take that sponge and use it to wash your dishes or take that loofah and use it to wash you body, you are simply taking all that bacteria and rubbing it either across the plates you eat off of or across your body.
If you have any sort of old sponges or loofahs, you need to throw them away as soon as possible. They are likely teeming with bacteria, fungi and other unpleasant things that enjoy dark and damp areas. Do not keep a new sponge forever either. Throw out sponges and loofahs regularly. Shower gloves and washcloths can be granted a longer life if they are washed and dried regularly. In this case, have a couple of wash clothes or pairs of shower gloves and rotate them regularly so that none of them remain damp for very long.
4. Any Dead Running Shoes
You have probably heard that cleaning out your closet is a good way to lower your stress levels and simplify your life. If you are getting rid of things, however, you should start with your shoes. Old shoes have the potential to actually cause you physical harm by messing up your stride. A screwed up stride or stance in turn can affect your ankles, knees, hips, spine and all the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves in between. The worst shoes to hold on to past their prime are running shoes. Running shoes are expensive, so many people keep their old ones as long as possible. Those old shoes, however, are lacking in padding and support. They are, quite frankly, not doing you any good anymore. Instead, you are putting a heavy pounding on your joints that is not necessary if you simply replace your old shoes.
5. Any Old Contact Lens Cases
Why would you put anything dirty by your eyes? Your eyes are arguably your most important sense. The vast majority of the information your brain takes in every day is visual, and the modern world is not set up to cater to those who have vision problems. So, why would you put anything that might have bacteria or even mold spores in your eyes?
If you wear contact lenses, you are probably doing it without realizing it. You might well keep your lenses spotless and wash your hands vigorously before handing your lenses, but how often do you replace your contact case? The answer is probably “not often enough.” Old contact lens cases can begin to harbor bacteria and even develop a layer of mold. When you soak your contacts in that case, you are letting the lenses you press against your eyes absorb all that gunk. This can result in eye infections and, in the worst cases, permanent damage or loss of your vision.