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UK households hoard the equivalent of 11 Wembley stadiums of clutter

Press release: 07/06/2011

  • Over one million Brits have belongings hoarded in storage units outside the home[1]
  • 'Warehouse of mum and dad' store £2.4b worth of their adult children's belongings[2]
  • One in five people storing goods for relatives or friends

Hoarding Brits are housing 47.5 million cubic metres of clutter[3], the equivalent of 11 Wembley Stadiums. Clothes, books and sports equipment are some of the most common items kept in our homes that have not been used for over a year, according to new research from home insurer LV=.

Collectively there is nearly £50 billion[4] worth of clutter filling UK homes with people storing even valuable items such as jewellery, power tools and audio equipment, in their lofts, sheds and spare rooms. One in ten householders estimates they are stockpiling over £1000 of stored belongings, while a third (35%) say they have never added up what their boxed up goods are worth.

It’s not just our own possessions that we’re hoarding, with a fifth (22%) of us currently storing items for friends, family, partners and exes. Over half (52%) of these are parents who say they are running 'the warehouse of Mum and Dad' - storing items for their grown-up children, despite many of them moving out years ago and even owning their own homes. One in twelve parents say they frequently ask their grown-up children to remove their old possessions to no avail, while a fifth say their kids were well into their late twenties and early thirties before they removed their last possessions from the family home. This is despite the fact that the majority of standard home insurance policies do not provide cover for other people’s belongings, whether they are relatives or friends, that are being stored.

While some parents take umbrage at their adult children's liberal use of 'the warehouse of Mum and Dad', others admit they enjoy looking after their kids’ possessions. One in five parents (21%) still views their child’s old bedroom as belonging to their child, despite them having moved out of the family home years ago. One in eight (12%) say they enjoy the nostalgia that keeping their children’s possessions brings.

Our hearts are ruling our heads, it seems, when it comes to de-cluttering our homes. Six in ten (62%) hoard possessions because they think they’ll need the items in future, while over half (56%) say sentimental value stops them having a clear out.

For one in twenty hoarding Brits, one solution is to store unused goods at another location – either at someone else’s home or in a commercial storage unit. One in eight (13%) of those using commercial units trust them with over £1000 of goods, yet only a quarter (28%) are covered under their current home insurance policy. One in twelve away-from-home hoarders have no home insurance at all. LV= is one of the few home insurers that can arrange insurance for goods stored at commercial storage premises to be added to a home contents insurance policy.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said "Our research shows that we are a nation of hoarders, packing our homes with possessions that we just can't bear to get rid of and even though we rarely use these items, we would miss them if they were damaged or stolen. Our advice to householders storing these often valuable belongings is to talk to your insurer and ensure you have adequate insurance in place."



Notes

Item

% of people who have these items stored

Clothing, shoes and accessories

59

Paperwork

57

Photos, frames, holiday souvenirs

55

Old school books, school/college/university work

47

Toys and games

43

Newspapers, magazines, books

41

Jewellery

38

DIY items and tools

35

Soft furnishings

34

Crockery and cutlery

34

Christmas decorations and equipment

32

Sports/outdoor equipment

32

Home accessories

31

Kitchen equipment

29

Electrical goods, computers, audio equipment

26

Garden equipment

18

Musical instruments and equipment

18

Baby equipment

15

Furniture

13

White goods

5

ICM interviewed a random sample of 2023 adults aged 18+ online between 18 – 20th May 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

LV=

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,500 people, serves over four million customers and members, and manages around £8.0bn (as at 31 December 2010) on their behalf, via LV= Asset Management (LVAM). We are also the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider. www.LVAM.co.uk.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com.

ICM interviewed a random sample of 2023 adults aged 18+ online between 18 – 20th May 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk

[1] According to the ICM research, 2% of people who store unused possessions say they use storage facilities in a storage unit away from their home. This equates to 1,089,000 people.
[2] According to the ICM research, 52% of people who are storing items for someone else are storing possessions for their adult children. This equates to 5,259,000 people. The average value of the items stored by parents (for their adult children) is £456 per individual. Therefore parents are storing £2.4 billion worth of their children’s belongings.
[3] According to ONS figures from 2009, 17.5m UK homes are owner occupied, 4.5m are rented (social sector) and 3.8m are privately rented = total 25.8m homes/occupants. 93% of sample is storing items in their home that they have not used in the last 12 months: 93% x 25.8m homes/occupants = 23.9m homes/occupants.
Mean average of volume of goods stored = 1990.8 litres, or 1.9908 m3 (6.3 x Ford Focus boot capacity).
23.9m x 1.9908m3 = 47,580,120m3 = equivalent to 11 Wembley Stadiums. The new Wembley encloses 4,000,000m3 inside its walls and under its roof (source: wembleystadium.com/Stats-and-Facts).
[4] 93% of sample is storing items in their home that they have not used in the last 12 months: 93% x 25.8m homes/occupants = 23.9m homes/occupants. Mean value of items stored = £2,053. 23.9m x £2053 = £49,066,700,000.