Saturday 29 November 2014

Poll shows home is where the hoard is

Clutter an issue - yet people hang on to things they rarely, or never, use
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 28 Nov 2014

DO YOU gripe about cramped living spaces, but still keep clothes that have not been worn in years, or school notes from decades ago?

More than half (56 per cent) of people polled in a recent survey said their homes are cramped, but four in 10 admitted to holding on to things they rarely or no longer use. Old photos, gifts, keepsake items and memorabilia were the most hoarded items, kept by 64 per cent of respondents.

Nearly half of those polled said they still keep clothes which they no longer wear, because they are out of fashion or are too small.

About four in 10 said they felt "stressed" about clutter at home.

The survey, commissioned by self-storage company Extra Space, polled 1,000 people aged between 25 and 65. They lived in different housing types ranging from one-room Housing Board flats to landed property.

Extra Space, which released the survey findings yesterday, said it wanted to understand the space constraints in a typical household.

"The accumulation of belongings for the average family comes at a higher cost than most people think," said Mr Kenneth Worsdale, chief executive of Extra Space Self Storage Asia.

"Our ambition is to encourage every family in Singapore to live in a more positive, less cluttered environment."

About two-thirds of respondents said they store items at home which they had not used for more than three years. Nearly half said they had never decluttered their homes.

A closer look at the survey findings by age and gender threw up some interesting statistics.

Most (79%) of the respondents aged 40 and above still keep their school assignments.

Project administrator Linda Leaw said she still keeps a thesis paper which she did more than 15 years ago. "I want to remember the work I did," said the 44-year-old. "I feel very proud that I had a good grade for these projects."

Men are just as sentimental - 59 per cent, compared to 66 per cent of the women polled, said they keep nostalgic items such as old photos and gifts. Men aged 55 to 65 find it the hardest to let go of their belongings - such as sports equipment, photos and broken electronic gear.

Mr Ang Chee Yam, who owns a construction company, stores photos, souvenirs bought overseas and school materials which may still be relevant to his job.

The 60-year-old declutters his terraced house two to three times a year, clearing away old clothes and magazines. He said: "If you like to keep a lot of stuff, no matter how big your house is, you'll still feel that your house is cramped."

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