Skip to navigation

press releases

Select Topic:

Select Year:

Select Month:

Select Nation:

UK map

Brits hoard enough unused clothes to stretch to the moon

Release Date: 27 Mar 2017

Britons could be hoarding more than 640 million articles of clothing that they no longer wear says a study by Barnardo’s.

Placed end to end these items would comfortably stretch to the moon, analysis based on YouGov polling data reveals.

A survey of almost 4,350 men and women aged over 18 across the UK found one in twenty (5%) people have more than 40 items of clothing tucked away in wardrobes and drawers that they no longer wear. For women, it is almost one in 14 (7%).

Of those hoarding ‘pre-loved’ clothes, more than a fifth of all respondents (23%) and a quarter of women (25%) said they were worth a total of £200 or more. Almost a third of all UK adults (32%) has bought clothing they have never worn.

Launching Barnardo’s spring campaign to encourage people to donate unworn clothing to the charity, Roy Clark, Director of Retail and Trading, said:

I'm astounded at the results of this poll. Those millions of unworn items languishing in people's wardrobes could easily be converted into vital funds to help disadvantaged children and young people.

We have 720 stores across the UK which are a crucial source of the funding that we need to run services for the UK's most vulnerable children, young people and families. By having a spring clean and donating to your local Barnardo's store, you'll be making a huge difference to your wardrobe and to the lives of others.

Industry estimates suggest clothing in charity shops retails at 15% of its original purchase price, meaning this amount of clothing potentially worth over £760 million.

The survey found one in 20 (5%) of those aged 18-24 no longer wore an item of clothing because they had been previously pictured wearing it on social media. However, almost half of respondents (49%) confessed it was because the item no longer fitted them.

One in 20 (5%) said they considered an item of clothing to be ‘old’ when they had worn it on between six and 10 occasions and 4 in 10 women (40%) admitted to feeling “guilty”, “embarrassed” or “wasteful” about their unworn clothes.

The analysis of YouGov’s polling data was carried out by Professor Allan Brimicombe, a statistician at the University of East London. He calculated that women in the UK have 365 million items of unworn clothing – 57% of the total.

Professor Brimicombe said:

We were very happy to provide some fun analysis for Barnardo’s. The results from the YouGov data were really quite amazing, but from my own experience of a recent spring clean of my wardrobe, I can say this estimate is probably a little conservative.

« Back to press releases