expiresThe term ‘shelf life’ is really when a product expires, or an expiration date. According to Wikipedia – ‘An expiration date or expiry date is a previously determined date after which something should no longer be used, either by operation of law or by exceeding the anticipated shelf life for perishable goods.’

All perishable products have an expiration date.  Fresh and frozen food products have them, but also other products like vitamins, first aid products and makeup include expiration dates. The idea is to use up the product before it expires. The implication is that the product is no longer safe.  That is not necessarily the case according this online article on NPR.

This post is not to debate whether a product is, or isn’t safe to consume, or use after it expires. There are other situations where product expiration dates can be useful.  Shopping and downsizing are examples of those situations as shown below.  If you have examples of other situations where expiration dates are useful, please share them in the comments below.


Everyone loves to save money, especially when shopping for everyday essential items.

Many people have memberships to discount warehouse stores. These stores are popular because they sell in bulk.  You typically get a better price when you buy in bulk.

The trick here is to check expiration dates before you buy more than you can consume before the product expires.  If you end up having to discard some of the product, you’re actually losing money.


Most of us have things in our homes that we don’t love, need or use.  Our things accumulate over the years, and we get to the point where we don’t really notice the excess.

At some point however, we will have a need to downsize. Maybe we need to move to a smaller home and the excess has to go. Or maybe we just have too much stuff and find it difficult to navigate.

Whatever the reason, it can be overwhelming to determine what to keep and what to discard.  That’s where expiration dates come in handy.

Use them as a determination for what I call ‘no brainer’ items to discard.  You don’t have to think about expired products, just let them go to reduce the amount of your belongings.