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"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank Lloyd Wright

How About a Date?

Running a successful household these days can sometimes be like trying to manage a 3-ring circus. Having been a property manager for 20+ years forced me to get organized and to really keep track of household maintenance tasks that I never used to think much about.  One important lesson I learned was to write a date on anything and everything I replaced, fixed or maintained.

5 Household Items That Deserve a Date

When was the oil last changed in my car?  When did I last check/test the smoke detector batteries?  How about the furnace filter? There is so much to keep track of in a home!  Make it easier on yourself by labeling and putting a date on a few items.  I've listed five types of items that I keep dates on in my home:


Remote batteriesLabel maker

In today's world, batteries are needed for a vast array of items: from remote controls and smoke detectors, to flashlights, toys and much more.  I realize that most batteries may come with a "Best By" date on them, but whenever I change out batteries I always put the date they were installed on them.  This is especially helpful for smoke detectors and rechargeable batteries. Use a label maker to affix a date that can be easily read. By the way, NiMH batteries should last approximately 2-3 years. Replacing your smoke detector batteries twice a year (what is recommended) will avoid the annoying battery chirping that seems to always happen at 2 am!

Furnace and Water Filters

Furnace filterWater filter

Make a note of the date when you change your furnace filter.  You can write it on the filter itself or put a Post-It note near the furnace to remind you when it's time to change it again.  I also have a label on the outside of the furnace to remind me of the filter size.  Changing the filter regularly will enable your furnace to run more efficiently, while also helping to and prolong its life.

Amazon offers a feature called "Subscribe & Save".   I use it to order many regularly-used household items - including furnace filters and water filters.  I have a package of two, scheduled to be delivered to my door every six months.  The prices are reasonable and it saves me a trip to the hardware store.

Canned Goods

Expiration on bottomExpiration on top

Most canned goods do have expiration dates printed on them but the date is often on the bottom of the can and many times too small to be read easily.  Mark the expiration date on the top with a Sharpie marker so it's easier to see.  When shopping, make sure to check expiration dates on the cans.  And, next time you grab for a can of soup in your pantry, use the first one that is about to expire.


MascaraDate your makeup

Makeup doesn't normally have an expiration date but once you open mascara and begin using it, the clock starts ticking.  Makeup - especially liquid and gel eye makeup - can easily become contaminated with bacteria.  WebMD suggests replacing your mascara every three months.  Use a fine-tipped Sharpie pen to write the date the makeup was opened and throw it away when it's past its prime. No need to risk a painful eye infection.

Refrigerated Items

Label leftoversActivated charcoal

Identify leftovers and when they were made with a piece of masking tape (which comes in fun colors) and a pen or Sharpie. 

Baking soda in the refrigerator helps to keep odors to a minimum.  Write the date on the box large enough so it can easily be read.  And because baking soda is relatively inexpensive, replace, at regular intervals, the old box with a new one.  Or, go a step further and use activated charcoal instead of baking soda. 

These are just a few ideas for putting dates on household items.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  Please visit our social media pages (see links at the top of this page) to join in the discussion!