1) Sunscreen: Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean you should pack away the sunscreen. It protects skin from the sun’s burning rays all year around. But has it expired? The product should be stamped with an expiration date somewhere, usually at the bottom of the bottle. In general, it can last a year or two. But if you’re unsure how old your sunscreen is, and you can’t remember when you bought it, the safest bet is to ditch it.

2) Bedding and towels: In preparation for colder weather, many people pull out flannel bedding and reorganize their linen closet. Take advantage of this fall cleaning habit and sort through your linens. Home experts say the rule of thumb is to have two sets of sheets for each bed, and a couple of sets of towels per person. Keep sheets and towels that are in the best condition. Old sheets can be used as paint drop sheets (so keep a few for that). Other sheets in decent shape could be cleaned and donated to a shelter.

3) Summer shoes: Give summer footwear a good once over. Is it time to throw them out? Or, if they’re good for another year, wipe them down if they need it and pack them away. If you went the whole season without wearing them, and they’re still in good condition, it’s a great idea to donate them.

4) Swimsuit: If swimsuit colours are faded from sun exposure and the fabric is worn and stretched out, making it look saggy, then it’s time for a new one. Throw out your old suit, and go model a new one!

5) Summer sports equipment: If you have old, broken down or unused soccer balls, tennis rackets, golf clubs, etc. kicking around, here are a few options:

  • Some sports stores have buyback programs – perhaps golf clubs or a decent tennis racquet can be exchanged for an in-store credit.
  • Sell products online. If you bought a bicycle a while ago, but never ride it, post it online. Sites like kijiji.ca and craigslist.com are a great place to sell used items. Facebook often has local groups for selling or swapping items too.
  • Donate equipment. Contact local churches and after school programs to see if they could use the equipment. If the equipment is not being used anymore because your kids have grown up, you might also contact a family with younger kids – they may be thrilled to have the equipment.

6) Magazines: If your collection of magazines has gotten out-of hand, sort through them and purge. Consider donating old magazines to hospital waiting rooms, a senior residence or an after-school program where they can be used for crafts. Put any extras into the recycling bin.

7) Makeup: Keeping makeup for too long is a bad idea. Old mascaras, eye shadow and other products can spread bacteria and other nasty toxins. While most cosmetics don’t have expiration dates on the packaging, smell is a good indication the product is too old to use (if a product smells ‘off’ or stale, toss it for sure). Consistency is another indication (if gloss is goopy, nail polish is separating, or mascara is super clumpy or dry, ditch it). In general, mascara has the shortest life (three months), while powders last for two years; cream products like shadows, blushes, foundation, and concealers last about 12-18 months; lipstick and lip liners last for about 1 year, and lip gloss for around 18-24 months.