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5 Things around the house to throw away

Parting with a stack of junk mail is easy, but getting rid of household items—maybe even ones you use every day—can be tricky. Some have ambiguous expiration dates (wouldn’t it be nice if bed pillows came stamped with one?), and others might hold sentimental value but, at some point, they become clutter and they’ve got to go.

Take away stress by decluttering your life

Here are five items around the house that you might be hanging onto, but should throw away today:

VHS tapes

Don't worry, you don't have to part with precious footage of Christmas 1987 completely. If you have home videos on VHS tapes that are taking up room in a closet or basement, convert them to DVDs and pitch the originals.

Companies like California-based ScanMyPhotos.com will convert your VHS tapes to DVDs for less than $20 per VHS tape. The service excludes professionally produced television shows and movies due to copyright laws, so stick to home movies.

Pillows

Did you know that bed pillows have a lifespan of two to three years? In that time, they accumulate dust mites and bacteria that are harmful to people with asthma and allergies—and, let's face it—just the thought of those things is gross. Pillows often get flat and lumpy over time, too, and could be contributing to nights of bad sleep.

When you start fresh, remember to cover pillows with protective cases that zip shut—the extra barrier keeps pillows healthier and free of stains.

Makeup

You know the drill: You become obsessed with a certain hue of lipstick, but when the seasons change or you find a new favorite and the old lipstick is banished to the bottom of your makeup bag. Cosmetics don't last forever, so it's time to toss those old or forgotten products.

Here's a sampling of cosmetics and how long they last before they expire: mascara, three months; liquid foundation, six month; lipstick, one year; eye shadow, two years; perfume, two years; and, nail polish, one year.

Paint

If you've been careful about storing unopened cans of paint—keeping it in a cool, dry space where it isn't exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures—you can expect a shelf life of about two years, maybe a little longer. Get rid of any noticeably older cans, especially if they've been sitting in a garage that's vulnerable to temperature swings.

Visit Earth911.com to find a local place that will properly dispose of the paint.

Bras

The lifespan of a bra varies from brand to brand. Simply put, it's time to retire a bra when it's no longer doing its job. Go through your lingerie drawer and honestly evaluate your bras. If the elastic straps have slacked, the underwires are poking into your skin, or the padding/lining has become lumpy, then it's time for a replacement.

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