Monday, May 31, 2010

Things that don't age well

I'm a saver by nature. I learned at an early age to put some of each paycheck aside. I save mementos from visits to other states and countries. And I always save room for dessert.

There are a few things, however, that should be used, used up, and never saved:
  • Pharmaceuticals: Prescription drugs should not be shared with others or saved for the future. Several moves ago (my own and in helping others), I developed the habit of checking expiration dates. It's surprising how much old and questionable medicine can accumulate -- and how many people have stories about reactions and rashes from expired drugs. So...what's the best way to dispose of old drugs? Flushing is not the answer. The EPA and FDA advocate similar disposal methods, designed to keep drugs out of both the water supply and the hands of those who would abuse them.
  • Wedding gifts: When I first married, the only glasses I had were the crystal ones I received as gifts, and so I used them on a daily basis. My mother was shocked. But I've been no less shocked to find beautiful, well-kept china, crystal, and other expensive items in the homes of elderly relatives -- rarely, if ever, used. Some were in the original packaging, decades after receipt. After 30 years of my own marriage, I've come to the conclusion that the Queen is never coming to visit, so there's no reason to save the crystal for company. Use and enjoy everything.
  • Spices: Another of my wedding gifts (again, 30 years ago), was a fully stocked spice rack. I thought I was set for life. Not so. The McCormick spice company recently ran a series of educational/promotional ads about spices and their expiration dates. The pictures they used told the whole store: if you have these in your cabinets, they're wayyyyyyy old.

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