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Old make-up

Old make-up
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Toss mascara after three months and products with SPF after six. For everything else in your make-up bag, a one-year expiration is an easy rule of thumb, says Novak. “It wouldn’t harm you necessarily – although it could, or cause blemishes,” she says. Write the date on a product when you open it so you don’t forget. Don’t feel the need to hold on for a full year though – throw out products as soon as they change consistency, colour or scent.

Plastic shopping bags

Plastic shopping bags
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Yes, those plastic grocery bags can come in handy, but that doesn’t mean you should keep an endless stockpile. Take a moment to calculate how many you actually use in a typical week. “Do the math,” says Richmond. “It’s what I use when clients are struggling with volume.” Add a pad of five or so to that number to give you a bit of wiggle room, she says.

Readers share 30 ways to save space at home. 

Reusable bags

Reusable bags
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Reusable bags are sturdier and more eco-friendly than standard plastic grocery bags – if you remember to take them along. Chances are, you’ve bought extras when you forgot yours at home. “Some of those bags are crumply and crinkly and don’t fill to the top,” says Novak. Keep your go-tos and toss any with designs you don’t love, she says.

Learn more ways to give plastic use the flick. 

Gift bags

Gift bags
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Don’t hang on to every gift bag you receive, just because you might reuse it in the future. That big stack just makes the bags more likely to wrinkle and look used. Keep just two generic bags each in small, medium and large sizes, says Novak. “Steer clear of occasion-specific bags,” she says. “Keep pretty bags that could do for just about any gift.”

Worn-out bath mats

Worn-out bath mats
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It’s time to finally let go of that old bath mat with the rubber backing peeling off. “We act like we’re going to use it again,” says Novak. Toss it in the bin – we guarantee you won’t miss it.

Outdated magazines

Outdated magazines
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When a pile of magazines gets bigger and bigger, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll actually get to each one. Toss any that are older than four to six months, suggests Richmond. “There’s something fresh and new to read instead,” she says.

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Gift wrap

Gift wrap
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Only keep gift wrap with generic patterns that could be used for birthdays, holidays and everything in between. “When they’re occasion-specific, you wrap one gift and have metres of gift wrap that you can use maybe one other time during the year, and it’s unrolling and getting crinkly,” says Novak. Donate the rest to a children’s librarian or art teacher, who can use the gift wrap in art projects, she suggests.

Loofahs

Loofahs
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You might not think of them as having expiration dates, but loofahs, bath poufs, and body brushes can harbour bacteria. They’re tough to clean, so you might as well replace them. “They’re usually not so expensive that you can’t just pick up another one and keep skin blemish-free,” says Novak.

Single socks

Single socks
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It’s fine to hold on to an unmatched sock for a bit while you wait for its mate to show up, especially if all your socks are the same brand and style. But a drawer stuffed to the brim with single socks is a waste of space. “Take that space and translate it to something else, like a sweater or a pair of jeans,” says Richmond. “You’re taking up valuable real estate with a bunch of little things.”

Alternatively, here are 65 absolutely brilliant uses for old socks. 

Expired medications

Expired medications
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Drugs lose potency over time, so scan your medicine cabinet for any expired bottles. “Now is the time you want to find out your cold medicine is out of date, rather than when you need it,” says Novak.

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