The refrigerator can be a scary place for items that can easily motor on their own accord to the deep recesses of the back shelves. You don't need to remove the lid of these items to know their time to depart earth is long overdue. Check all the expiration dates of condiments, pickles, olives and dressings. If you follow any advice, please let it be this: if you are not sure, throw it away. Don't take any chances with your health.
I know it is a rude awakening when the garbage begins to fill with all the waste, but it is better than what can happen if you become sick from contaminated food. The only item worth saving is moldy block cheese. You can cut away the mold and wrap the remaining portion tightly in plastic film and cover with foil.
The next neglected category would be our seasonings and spices. Most of these might not have an expiration date on the package, so our only way of testing potency is the good old-fashioned sense of smell. These items won't have a rancid or sour smell if they are past their prime, but the intensity of the spice diminishes over time. Whole spices last from two to five years, while ground spices last six months to two years. For future purchases, mark the date purchased on the bottom of the spice bottle. Other spice mixes to check are the dry packet type such as gravy, chili, taco, soup/dip and dressing.
Next is the flour and grains. I have a habit of transferring my different types of grains to sealed containers. I store them in a cool dry place, with most in the freezer. Ensure your container seals tightly, as strong odors in the freezer can alter the flavor of the grains.
In addition to checking food expirations, you can use some for cleaning the rest of the house. Remove red juice on the carpet with salt. Allow salt to absorb the stain and then scrape away. Coffee stains disappear with club soda and non-stick spray removes gum from surfaces. Stubborn stains or smells on your hands? Scrub with a raw potato for stains and wash your hands with brewed tea and cut lemon to remove odors.
Checking our food expirations is a necessary chore. Just like cleaning, if done often, it can lessen the burden throughout the year.