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Apr 13, 2021
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Many of us have used our extended time at home as a time to sort through storage boxes and part with things we have since deemed unnecessary (goodbye extensive Beanie Baby collection). But there are a few items you may have overlooked while decluttering. Things you wouldn’t normally think about tossing out, but probably should. Here’s a list of a few items you may want to re-evaluate to ensure they haven’t reached the end of their useful life.

Extension Cords And Power Strips
Surprised? Power strips and extension cords are designed to handle only so much electricity. A good rule of thumb is if your product came with a warranty and the warranty has expired, it’s probably time to look for a replacement. For extension cords that have been stored in garages or outdoors for numerous seasons or repeatedly dragged on rough ground, take a close look to make sure it’s in good condition and the protective coating isn’t wearing down.

Paint ​
We know how hard it can be to settle on a color and when you find the perfect shade you want to make sure you remember it. Paint typically has a shelf-life of up to five years, depending on the type and how it’s stored – if you must store paint, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry space and place a piece of plastic film on top before you replace the lid, this helps keep moisture out. If you decide it’s time to get rid of expired paint, check your local disposal procedures as you should never throw it in the trash and it isn’t typically curbside recyclable.

Weatherstripping
Since air leaks can make up to 40 percent of a home’s heating and cooling losses, efficient weatherstripping is key to help keep your home’s energy costs down during the hot and cold months. The best way to check your weatherstripping is to take a lighter and hold it an inch from the stripping. If you see any movement of the flame, it’s time to replace your weatherstripping.

Cleaning Products
Over the past year, we’ve all accumulated a lot of cleaning products. It’s important to know cleaning supplies can degrade over time and lose their effectiveness. In addition, the plastic containers they’re stored in may also eventually affect their formulas. If you’ve had a cleaning product for over two years, it’s time to ditch it. If you’re thrifty and make homemade cleaners using bleach, keep in mind that bleach loses its effectiveness very quickly once diluted – even in a single day.

Batteries
Batteries come with an expiration date located on the packaging, as well as on the battery itself. An expired battery may still work, but it will likely not perform to its full charge as power continues to decline beyond its expiration. When storing batteries, keep in mind that optimal storage conditions include keeping them room temperature.

Fire Extinguisher/Smoke Detectors
While you’re checking on or replacing any other expired items in your home, give these a once-over to confirm they’re still in operating condition; it only takes a few minutes and may help save your life. Fire extinguishers should be recharged every six years and replaced every 12 years, at minimum. Smoke detectors themselves should be replaced every 10 years, while the batteries should be replaced every six months when clocks are reset for daylight saving time.

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