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Your Place: Throw out old containers, food and makeup

I often think about old things I'd like to be rid of - like about 40 years between me and my early 20s - but that's not possible until they invent a time machine.

I often think about old things I'd like to be rid of - like about 40 years between me and my early 20s - but that's not possible until they invent a time machine.

Now AARP, which knows old, is offering suggestions on the five old things you need to throw away during your spring-cleaning exercises this year.

Piled-up plastic containers. Years-old plastics can leak harmful chemicals into food. Recycle them and buy a new set.

Expired canned food. It doesn't last forever. Vegetables and fruit expire in slightly more than 18 months.

Moldy makeup. After a year, makeup should be replaced because of bacteria buildup that could cause infections.

Old dried spices. After five years, most spices lose flavor, so dumping more on won't help. It won't make you sick, but for more flavorful food, get some new spices.

Pathetic pillows. Pillows older than 18 months contain fungi, dead skin, and dust mites that can aggravate allergies, asthma, and sinusitis. Try this: Fold your pillow in half and squeeze out the air. If it doesn't spring back, it's too old.

I wonder if folding a person in half will accomplish the same thing.

By the way, your chewing gum loses its flavor on the bedpost overnight.

Question: My showerhead gets a coating of a pink-colored substance.

I soak it in a bucket of water with bleach, which removes it, but it soon recurs.

What is this and is it detrimental to my health?

Answer: One online source contends that the pink-colored grit is calcification caused by hard water and that soaking it in water and bleach regularly is what you have to do.

Yet "The Plumber Who Cares" website - Fogarty & Fogarty in South Carolina - talks about the pink stain or ring that "develops at the water line in the toilet, around drains, in the tub/shower area and in bathroom drinking cups."

This is caused, according to the website, by an airborne bacteria known as serratia marcescens. The airborne bacteria thrives in moist environments, which is why it is commonly found in some bathrooms.

Bleach doesn't allow the bacteria to form, and drying wet surfaces after use will prevent the bacteria from growing, TPWC says.

Serratia marcescens is commonly associated with urinary tract infections.

That's what I have been able to find out. I'm neither a microbiologist nor a chemist, so perhaps someone with more expertise will be willing to provide some answers for us.

From Apartment Guide, some tips for keeping clutter in check.

If you haven't worn that piece of clothing in a full calendar year, chances are that you won't. Give away the clothing you haven't worn so you can clear out space for those pieces that you do.

Don't be afraid to rethink your entire closet/storage space layout. It may seem overwhelming starting from square one, but oftentimes a full reorganization and layout upheaval can yield big results, and you may find space where you least expect it.

Not everyone switches out their closets seasonally, but if you're hard up for storage, you absolutely should. Summer is almost here, so pack away those bulky coats and free up space to display your summer sandals or other accessories.

It's tempting to fit as much as possible in any closet or storage compartment, but that is usually what makes a space look more cluttered - no light. So, keep your clothing stacks to a reasonable height, and reevaluate the items you choose to keep to, well, keep it light!

Helpful de-cluttering aids like shoe racks, belt hangers, and scarf bins are the perfect way to keep things organized and clean - it's also a great system to ensure you know what you have.