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5 Things Marie Kondo May Want You To Hold Onto

The Queen of Tidying Up had us all deep-diving into the things we own and whether they spark joy – and ridding our homes of anything that didn’t.

Then Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, took over Netflix and had us getting rid of items to a strict schedule with the 30-Day Minimalism Game – where you throw out one thing on the first of the month, two on the second, and on and on until you hit day 30 and are officially free of nearly 500 bits and pieces.

Yep, there’s no doubt everyone’s all about minimalism right now. But it turns out that in our efforts to declutter, we might actually be tossing some treasures that are useful – maybe even life-saving (and no, we’re totally not overstating that!).

Sure, it’s cleansing to throw away piles of random crap you haven’t looked at in years, but these are a few things that could be worth keeping out of the rubbish pile…

1. Baby Teeth

Okay, it might be too late to hold onto your own baby teeth, but if you’ve got kids, this one’s for you. Like umbilical cords, baby teeth contain certain stem cells – and if stored correctly in a cryopreservation facility, these stem cells can be extracted to potentially treat diseases in your children (or other family members) in the future.

2. Your Free Bowel Cancer Test

All eligible 50- to 74-year-olds will receive a free, easy, hygienic at-home bowel cancer screening test from the Australian Government every two years. This test helps spot the early signs of bowel cancer when successful treatment is more likely. Bowel cancer takes the lives of more than 100 Australians each week, so keeping – and using – this is a no brainer. If you do throw it away, or if your kit has expired, you can get a new one -- contact the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Information Line on 1800 118 868, and have your participant number or Medicare number ready to get it sorted quickly.

3. Your Old Glasses

Whether your prescription’s changed, you’ve switched to contacts or gone all-out with laser eye surgery, having old pairs of glasses hanging around the house is unnecessary and kiiind of annoying. But instead of throwing them in the rubbish (they cost a bit, after all), give them a second life by donating to a charity that delivers repurposed specs to developing countries for people who can’t afford glasses. The gift of good vision sounds pretty good, right?

4. Medication

We’re not saying you should hang on to unnecessary meds, not for a second, but old pills and potions aren’t garbage bin-friendly. And before you think, “Yeah duh, flush them down the toilet” – hold up a minute, because that’s not the right answer either. Technically, old meds are considered hazardous waste, so you shouldn’t just send them into the waterways. Check the expiration dates, and if they’re past (or even if you just don’t need the rest of those pills anymore), take them to the local chemist – they have access to secure disposal bins to make sure they’re disposed of in a totally safe way.

5. Empty Pill Bottles

And on the topic of medication, if you’ve finished your script and it happened to come in a bottle (and a little bit of casual DIY’s your jam), this trick’s kind of cute: find a rock that’s bigger than the lid, glue it to the top, and pop your spare house key in there. Screw on the rock/lid, dig a little hole the depth of the bottle in the garden, “plant” it and bam: you’ll never get locked out of the house again.

For more information visit bowelcancer.org.au