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The clothing we hoard could stretch to the moon

Britons  could be hoarding enough clothing they no longer wear to stretch to the moon - and it’s the Welsh who feel most guilty about it, says a study by Barnardo’s.

A YouGov poll has revealed that people across the country could be holding on to more than 640 million items of clothing which if placed end to end would comfortably stretch to the moon..

A survey of almost 4,350 men and women found one in 20 (5%) people have more than 40 items of clothing tucked away in wardrobes and drawers that they no longer wear.

In Wales 269 people were quizzed and of those hoarding ‘pre-loved’ clothes in Wales, 23% admitted those items were worth a total of £200 or more. Almost a third (31%) have 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 the hoarded clothing is potentially worth over £760 million.

The survey estimated that women in Wales have an average of 13 unworn items and men 12 items worth £106 and £95 respectively. More than half of respondents (51%) confessed it was because the item no longer fitted them.

The Welsh are most thrifty with just 3% saying they considered an item of clothing to be ‘old’ when they had worn it between six and 10 occasions, compared to 5% across the UK. But 52% admitted to feeling “guilty”, “embarrassed” or “wasteful” about their unworn clothes, compared to the UK wide figure of 40%.

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, almost 17 million in Wales.

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