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8 Things You Shouldn’t Kondo

woman looking at orange t-shirt
Written by Carolyn Albee

So you're ready to Kondo your house? With the KonMari craze sweeping the nation, it's no wonder you're thinking it's time to "tidy up." But wait—what if you like your stuff? You're not the only one having reservations. Just ask Jennifer McCartney, author of The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, who says, "Throwing out all your belongings isn't a viable way to properly be alive."

We're all for being organized, but when it comes to certain items, we're with Jennifer: We think some things are made to keep. Whether you store it or upcycle it, here are 8 things you definitely shouldn't Kondo.

1. Clothes

upcycled white t-shirt
Image via Rachata Teyparsit/Shutterstock.com

Face it—your closets are packed with things you will never wear again. But that doesn't mean they don't have value: They can make you the most popular relative during the holidays. Trust us, you'll want to save that '70s AC/DC concert T-shirt and Louis Vuitton luggage set for your nieces and nephews. What if all you have is your old, beloved college sweatshirt or a faded pair of jeans? Upcycle them into a tote bag or a yoga mat bag. You may not yet be at the level of Bea Johnson of Zero-Waste Living, but we think you're well on your way.

2. Books

books on a white shelf
Image via Carla Nichiata/Shutterstock.com

Myth: Marie Kondo hates books. Truth: If you love books, you can keep 'em! To Kondo correctly, you just need to make sure they truly have value to you. If you've got a ton of books and can't quite bring yourself to get rid of them, you can easily turn them into something useful. A few of our favorites include a tablet case, a storage box, or a lamp (for those experienced DIYers). Whether or not you "wake them up" first is up to you.

3. Childhood toys

close-up pile of toy soldiers
Image via Oak Nakrub/Shutterstock.com

If there's one thing that's definitely made to keep, it's childhood toys. Passing down classics like dolls, toy cars, and stuffed animals is a great way to keep meaningful items in the family. Another reason to stay in touch with your inner child: Many toys gain value over time. Your kids or grandkids will definitely be glad you saved your action figures and vintage video games if they're worth some cash (plus, they're just plain cool). Our blog lists a few other collectibles you should put in storage.

4. Furniture

woman refurbishing a chair
Image via JFs Pic S. Thielemann/Shutterstock.com

Don't let KonMari convince you to throw out that rustic kitchen table or run-down armoire that's been sitting in your garage for years. It's called "shabby chic," Kondo! And it's a DIYer's dream. There are a ridiculous number of furniture upcycling ideas out there, but this video covers a few easy ones. Once you've reached "expert level," check out our blogs on upcycling pianos and creating cool furniture out of pallets. The only limit is your creativity.

5. Precious metals

silver sugar bowl with spoon
Image via AlexussK/Shutterstock.com

Gold bullion and great-grandma's wedding rings aren't the only precious metals that are made to keep. If you have trophies or medals, they're worth saving to remember your accomplishments—and could be worth money, too. Silver is one of the most common precious metals: You probably own it as jewelry, dinnerware, or coins. Gold, silver, and bronze typically don't lose value, and can last a lifetime. Before you confront your stuff, thank it for its service, and send it on its way, learn about how easy it is to properly store precious metals.

6. Mom and dad's old stuff

old typewriter and camera on a table
Image via StudioByTheSea/Shutterstock.com

Sometimes, you end up with things you never meant to collect. But that stuff just might have meaning: your childhood cookie jar, or grandpa's typewriter. Don't Kondo yourself into a corner when it comes to keeping "nostalgic stuff"—you might find that even if you don't want it now, you'll regret throwing it out. What about stuff you really don't want? Before you donate it or trash it, get it appraised. You could be the next Antiques Roadshow contestant who finds out grandma's porcelain figurine is worth a fortune.

7. Wine

upcycled wine bottle vases
Image via Joanna B/Shutterstock.com

Does wine spark joy? Of course it does! But it also takes up a lot of space in your fridge. And unless you're in the 1%, you probably don't have a wine cellar. CubeSmart offers wine storage in select cities, so you can free up your fridge and keep your vino at the perfect temp. And don't throw away those empty bottles, either. Learn how to turn your first-date wine bottle into a keepsake candle holder or bird feeder in our post on upcycling wine bottles.

8. Holiday decorations

woman holding box of holiday decorations
Image via perfectlab/Shutterstock.com

A hundred boxes of decorations stacked precariously in your garage probably don't bring you joy—but putting them up every year might. What's a Christmas lover to do? Luckily, holiday decorations are the perfect item to put in storage. You can find storage tips for decorations on our blog. And if you do want to pare down your collection, you may have some stuff that's worth money. Those little ceramic table-top trees, full-size aluminum trees, and certain ornaments all skyrocket in value around the holidays.

What things will you keep during your "tidying up" process? Let us know in the comments.

Header image via Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.
Carolyn Albee

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About the author

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.

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