Hoarding: The £50 Billion British Tradition
11th May 2018
We all do it. It's basic human nature to cling onto things we don't strictly need any more. Everyone's got that groaning bookshelf full of paperbacks we'll never read again or still-sealed box of random junk that came with us from our old house. Children's toys, gimmicky fitness equipment we spotted on a shopping channel at 3am – it's these little accessories that really turn a house into a home. Or, more likely, your garage into a bomb-site.
According to researchers, the UK really is a nation of compulsive hoarders. Between us, we've got an astonishing £48 billion worth of unwanted junk cluttering up our homes. That's almost £1,800 for every household in the country, on average. Whether it's for sentimental reasons or simply because we don't know how to go about it, we just never seem to throw anything away. Here are just a few of the things we apparently can't live without:
For many, this is a point of principle. Those of us who grew up before the digital revolution still cherish the pulped, dead tree as a medium for information storage. At least we never had to worry about our childhood copy of The Hobbit getting infected with an electronic virus.
Almost a third of us have a collection of old family favourite board games cluttering up our shelves. The games industry's changed a lot in the last few decades, but those battered boxes of Scrabble boards and Trivial Pursuit cards are here to stay.
We know how it is. That old telly might fit into the kids' bedroom one day, if we ever get round to clearing it out. While we're at it, it'd be insane to chuck out those old remote controls, too. Where would that leave us if we ever remembered what they were for?
Yes, obviously, no one actually needs a sandwich toaster. But think about it – what if Noel Edmonds or the Queen came by and demanded a toasted sandwich? You'd look pretty silly then, wouldn't you?
Yes, these probably fall under the electronics category if you want to get technical about it. Seriously, though – does anyone actually know how to get rid of an old computer? Round our way, we just stack them in the loft as extra insulation.
Turning your clutter into cash
One thing to consider in all this is that you might be able to turn some of that old clutter into cash. In some cases, you might even find you've been sitting on a minor goldmine for years without realising. Remember that £1,800 average we talked about at the start?
Well, a single copy of 1985 console game Ice Climber has been seen selling to collectors for that much on its own online! Anything from comics to consoles could be worth some pretty decent cash if you can bear to offload it. The next time you find yourself complaining about your lack of storage space, maybe take a quick browse through the eBay listings to see what your junk's worth. Just try not to be tempted to buy other people's while you're there.
While we're on the subject of money you didn't know you had, have you checked if you're due a tax rebate for the cost of travelling to work? The new tax year started on 6th April and if you haven't checked since then, you really should. Our average first time claim is £2,500. Check if you're due a refund now. Don't forget if you start selling online, depending on how much money you're making, you may need to file a tax return. We can do that too!