8 things you can throw away right now – so you can keep your books

January is a classic time for cleaning. With the symbolic power of New Year looming large, domestic gods and goddesses across the land are bringing in a metaphorical and literal new broom, readying hearth and home for a happy and prosperous 2019.

So it was for tidying guru Marie Kondo, on her new Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – a step-by-step guide for New Year’s Resolutioners looking to declutter. The show was going down a storm. Until, that is, Kondo advised viewers to clear out their book collections…

Twitter was not amused, and nor are we. Here’s a few other items to get you started with your clear-out, that won’t involve throwing any of your books out.

1. Anything you bought on the internet and hate

Everyone has at least one incident of breathtaking online naivety. “That nylon onesie looks really good on that mannequin” we might think, or “that Brussels sprout flavoured gin must be nice if someone gave it four stars”. Inevitably the item arrives and we learn our lesson. It’s an essential part of growing up.

You do not, however, retain these items for years to come, in an effort to convince yourself that you made a good decision. To learn from a mistake, you must first accept it…

2. Clothes that don’t fit

The more you want an item of clothing to fit, the more keeping it will torture you with what might have been. Nip this one in the bud before you have time to get attached.

And no, the possibility of future children does not change things. By the time they’re your size, they will not want decades-old hand-me-downs.

3. Odd socks


Either pair up your odd socks into avant-garde, I-don’t-care-what-society-thinks party pieces, or accept that one sock cannot live without the other. Time to make like Romeo and Juliet, and finish the job.

4. Expired makeup, medicine, and food

We do understand how this happens. However out-of-date it is now, that lipstick cost day’s salary, and surely it makes sense to hang onto that best-before-2015 bottle of hearburn remedy ‘just in case’?

Expired food… well, let’s brush over that one, but none of these items are getting any younger. Grit your teeth, and purge the lot.

5. Out of date technology


Nostalgia should be something you feel – not something that takes up most of your wardrobe. Walkmans, VHS tapes, Sega Dreamcasts – a lot of old tech doesn’t age well anyway, and on the off-chance that it’s still working you’ll marvel at how much better today’s alternatives are.

Try to be realistic. You’re not going to spend vast amounts of time and money fixing your brother’s old N64, and if you did you’d probably remember that the controllers made your hands hurt within minutes.

6. Old toothbrushes

Why do you still have these? Seriously, why? Yes we know they were useful for unblocking the drain that one time but eww.

Medical professionals advise changing your toothbrush every three months – instantly if you’ve been sick. And bin it – don’t just stick it back in the pot.

7. Birthday cards

Birthday cards are intended to wish the recipient a Happy Birthday. When it is no longer your birthday their use has expired, so into the recycling they go! And no, you can’t put them out again next year so it looks like you have more friends.

8. The endless bits and bobs

Michael McIntyre does a well-known sketch in which outlines his so-called ‘man drawer’. It contains all the random bits of bric-a-brac we don’t need but can’t quite bring ourselves to discard. Dead batteries, defunct instruction manuals, old Allen keys, mysterious wires, takeaway menus, and a Nokia from the 1990s – all these things find a home in the ‘man drawer’. The solution is simple: Bits and bobs go in the bin.

- Press Association

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