Cleaning Out the Garage: What to Do With Old Household Products


It was ‘clean out day’ outside in our Mom’s garage recently. A local household hazardous waste drop-off event was coming up soon, and we wanted to take advantage of it, and get rid of a bunch of old household products.

We had been eyeing various older items in the garage for a while, wanting to declutter, and thinking about what could be gotten rid of at the drop-off. When stuff is just setting around and not being used any longer, it just clutters up the space.

You may ask ‘What is household hazardous waste’? They are products that should not be disposed of by being put down your drains, or placed in the garbage can. The list is very long, but it includes household items that have reached the end of their shelf life, or those that a homeowner has no use for any longer. Things like: paint and stain, used paint thinner, lawn and yard chemicals, certain cleaning solutions, used motor oil, opened bottles of motor oil and other auto fluids, old gasoline for yard equipment, florescent light bulbs, batteries, and much more.

It’s best to call ahead to make sure what the drop-off will accept. Local drop-off events through the year may be set up to accept only specific items on that day. Many communities will have several drop-off events scheduled through the year. These events will disposed of the products safely and properly, and recycle things that are recyclable.

You never know what you'll find while sorting through the clutter. We found this empty old vintage can that we decided to keep, that someone had saved from years ago to store something in.

 

Shelf Life of Household Products

How’s your ‘shelf life’ knowledge for household products? Do you know how long to keep an unopened bottle of motor oil? Or how about a can of paint? We found this site that has a lot of info regarding the topic of shelf life for household items that we found helpful.

During the process of cleaning out the garage, which then led to include the basement, we came to the conclusion that if we had some doubt about whether an item’s shelf life had expired and had concern about it’s future performance (like a 5 year old can of stain), we would place it in the box to be taken to the recycling drop-off event. We felt that if you are going to put a lot of time and hard work into a home improvement project, you wouldn’t want to use an old product on it if you’re just not sure of how it’s going to perform in the long run.

Also, we thought it would probably be helpful if we were to mark the date when the product was purchased, and when it was opened, right on its ontainer. It could take the guess work out of the equation later.

We boxed all the items to be taken to the drop-off so that it would keep the back of the car clean should there be a leak or spill. We slid a cardboard carton inside a mid-size plastic trash can bag before placing the items in the carton – that way the carton had plastic on the inside and the outside.

 

Finding Local Drop-offs

We suggest searching online for events in your area – search for ‘household hazardous waste drop-off’ and include the city, county, and state where you live.

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