In a pile of papers marked “surveys you really should get rid of” I came across one from RatedPeople.com. The survey, which drew responses from 1,000 people, claims that 73% of us admit to having a drawer full of miscellaneous junk and 52% describe their homes as cluttered. A room designated as a home study or office is likely to be the repository for most of our unwanted stuff.
Paperwork is top of the list (47%). Often sentimentality gets in the way of any innate urge to clear the decks with old birthday cards coming top of the list of personal items we are loath to part with (39%). Embarrassment is another reason for hoarding – we can’t quite get round to disposing of those kind gifts from friends and relatives for which we have no earthly use. Perhaps our innate fear is that they will call round and express surprise that you are not wearing/displaying that gift they spent at least two nano-seconds selecting.
Despite the fact that there are many repositories for clothes and shoes we no longer have use for – charity shops, recycling bins etc – we still take up valuable storage room with them, the survey found.
The pace of technological change is such that our living space has become a graveyard of obsolete gadgetry – old mobile phone chargers (39%) – it is astonishing but true that you can usually lay your hands on the charger for your previous mobile more easily than the charger for your current model – old VHS video tapes (36%) – does anyone still use a video recorder and, if not, why hang on to the things? – and other gadgetry (39%) feature high on the junk list.
In the days pre-austerity when people used to holiday abroad – remember those days? – you used to come home with pockets full of small change which you were unable to change back up into sterling. Resisting the temptation to give the illusion of being generosity-personified by loading them into the nearest charity collection box, you are left with piles of coins (23%). Still with the current health of the Euro, my advice is to hang on to them – we may yet see the reappearance of the drachma, peseta and lira!
I suppose being reluctant to part with stuff is part of our psyche and, goodness knows, our TV programme makers find our preoccupation with hoarding a rich seam to mine. I always found moving house regularly was a good way of getting on top of what I accumulated. Now I have a more staid existence, I am sure I am as guilty as the next person of hanging on to stuff unnecessarily. Perhaps it is time to change – disposing of surveys like this will be a small but significant step.