A couple of my clients got a rude awakening recently when they discovered that their backup stash of hosiery — which they had stored in unopened packages for years — had gone beyond its useful life. In one case, it was a full drawer of unworn pantyhose. In the other, it was dozens of unworn knee highs.
I have previously written about the lamentable fact that clothing does not come with an expiration date the way drugstore items do. (See my earlier post, Why Vegetables Are Better Than Clothes). Many of us think that if we buy something and don’t use it right away, it will still be usable at some point in the future if it’s stored with care.
This is not always true. You can’t expect things to last forever. Some materials disintegrate over time. And keeping them sealed in their original packaging doesn’t make any difference.
Did you ever stretch out an old garment with an elastic waist, only to discover that it stays stretched? It is due to the oxidation of the rubber, and this is what happened when my clients and I tested their pantyhose and knee highs. In some cases, the elastic left sticky residue on our hands when we tested it. One pair of black knee highs even turned my hands black! (It took several hand washings over the course of the day to clear that up.)
Think about all of the storage space that you are devoting to items that you are not currently using. If you think you are saving them for future use, you had better go back and check them and make sure that they are holding up. It’s not just hosiery. It is not in the best interests of manufacturers for them to create items that last forever. They want things to fall apart so that you buy new things!
What are you storing in your house that will not stand the test of time?