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Britain’s unworn shoes could stretch around the world

15th September 2016 Print

There are so many unworn or unused shoes in British households that put heel to toe in a line they’d stretch all the way round the world.

Piled on top of each other all the CDs and DVDs we don’t listen to or watch would stretch 7,641 miles into space.

Broken down, the average Brit currently owns 53 items of unworn clothing, 36 CDs and DVDs that are never played, and seven pairs of unwanted shoes.

Liberating ourselves of unwanted clutter in our homes could free an entire room, for new uses.

The study, commissioned by Oxfam, exposed the staggering amount of unneeded stuff the nation own and revealed clothes are most likely to be cluttering up our homes, followed by CDs, books and toys, totalling 143 unused items stashed away in a typical household.

It also revealed one in 10 Brits have never thought about donating their unused items to charity. This is despite almost half of us commonly commenting on the clobber in other people’s houses and losing items among the stacks of stuff we own.

Four in 10 of the respondents admitted they’ve not really thought about the amount of space that could be liberated by a good clear out, which the research showed could free floor space equivalent to an entire room.

Oxfam commissioned the study to launch its campaign asking the public to donate unwanted stuff to its shops.

Andrew Horton, Oxfam Trading Director said: “There are about 27 million households in the UK, and if each one has 143 unused items, we’re talking about more than three billion CDs, DVDs, homewares, accessories and clothes cluttering up a mind-blowing amount of space! Our homes are too small to deal with this.

“Donating clutter to your charity shop is a great solution for everyone. Not only does it liberate precious floor and storage space in our homes it also raises money for people who really need help.

“An average bag of donated stuff – like clothes, books, music, DVDs and homewares – can raise enough money to help two vulnerable families buy desperately-needed food in an emergency. Or buy five buckets specially designed to keep water clean and disease-free.

“There are so many ways your unwanted stuff could fight poverty with Oxfam – which is why we urgently need your donations.”

According to the study, the unused CDs and DVDs in each house would cover a floor space of 13.48 square metres, equivalent to a main bedroom in an average house.

When it comes to our wardrobes, the research revealed there are 3.8 billion items of unworn clothing lying around, which could take up as much space as a guest bedroom.

When asked what they’d do with the liberated space, four in 10 said they’d leave it empty and enjoy it. Redecorating and converting the space into a home office area was also a popular choice.

Those who are still hoarding their clutter are doing so for various reasons. Two thirds of Brits are keeping unused items ‘just in case’ they need them again. Thirty-four per cent said they keep some due to sentimental value.

Three in 10 said they have clutter because they can’t spare the time to try and sell it all.

Andrew Horton added: “What many of us don’t realise is how easy it is to donate unwanted items to charity.

“Oxfam has almost 660 shops up and down the UK. So it’s simple to drop off your stuff at one of them. They all desperately need good-quality donations of clothing, homewares like cutlery, crockery, linens, curtains and rugs, books and music and accessories including bags and jewellery. It’s satisfying to unburden yourself of the clutter other people are looking for and will love.

“Oxfam relies on the generosity of the British public and their donations are incredibly valued and appreciated because we turn them into cash to help people struggling with poverty and in desperate circumstances across the world.”

This weekend Oxfam is launching a nationwide donation drive to encourage the public to clear out their clutter, liberate their lofts, banish buckling bookshelves and free themselves from stuff by donating to their local Oxfam shop. Find out more at

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