One Thing You Can Definitely Get Rid of Today, According to a Professional Organizer

published Jul 16, 2021
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Home Edit inspired pantry makeover

Let’s be honest: When you first get started, organizing and decluttering can feel like an extreme sport. As you sort through packed cabinets, drawers, and closets, it can be hard to tell the difference between what you need and what you don’t.

Fortunately, according to professional organizer Rashmi Patel of RushMeHome, one simple question can make this process of elimination a bit easier: “Is it expired?”

Patel’s advice is simple: If it’s expired, throw it away. She previously told Apartment Therapy that, when working with clients, she’ll ask them how often they look into their pantries and come across expired products and foods. Identifying this habit can be a huge step in reclaiming your cabinets and moving toward sustainable organization.

In order to avoid simply tossing a bunch of food, which can feel wasteful, consider doing regular pantry checks for items you thought you’d use but aren’t so you can donate shelf-stable foods before they reach the expiration point.

Patel personally knows the power of clearing this kind of room, because her own home’s biggest challenge was the kitchen pantry. “As much as I wanted to have a walk-in pantry with all the space for everything, this house didn’t have that,” she explained in her house tour published earlier this year. “So I took the space we did have and use it to the best of its ability. I realized in the process that I can use other cabinets we do have for other items that are not used as frequently.”

Consistently getting rid of things that are no longer usable is a great way to save space and cash. “You see exactly what you have and what you need,” Patel explained. “This way you are saving money by not overbuying items you don’t need.” Because how frustrating is it when you purchase something new in the store just to find that you’ve got the same thing sitting at home?

Store-bought products typically have a predetermined lifespan, and that’s about how long they should live on your shelves. has a FoodKeeper app that explains when to eat specific foods for freshness and quality. A label maker or even masking tape can also be super helpful here: Use labels to keep track of exactly what you have and to remind yourself when you stuck something in storage, whether in the pantry, fridge, or freezer.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: One Thing You Can Get Rid of Today, According to a Professional Organizer