@julian I did actually use git stash then git pop and my whole template was broken for some reason. I didn't spend enough time to figure out if it was caching issues as there's only like 3 lines I changed in 3 files so it was quick to recover from, but I was thinking for the future.
I did rename some of the categories to use them - however - my forum is only using 4 right now.
I'd suggest that the NodeBB install only come with 1 or 2 pre configured categories if you won't allow deletion of any existing ones. Can I delete them from the redis database in the meantime? They are all indeed empty.