People in Northern Ireland including Ballymoney, could be hoarding more than 17 million articles of clothing they no longer wear, according to a study by Barnardo’s.
Placed end to end these items would stretch from Belfast to Los Angeles, analysis based on YouGov polling data reveals.
Forty per cent of people from Northern Ireland admitted buying clothing they have never worn with 47 per cent admitting to feeling guilty, embarrassed or wasteful about their unworn clothes. Almost a quarter said their unworn clothing would be worth £200 or more.
Launching Barnardo’s spring campaign to encourage people to donate unworn clothing to the charity, Barnardo’s NI Director Lynda Wilson said: “I’m astounded at the results of this poll. Those millions of unworn items could easily be converted into vital funds to help disadvantaged children and young people.
“Barnardo’s NI has over 30 stores across Northern Ireland including one on Main Street, Ballymoney which are a crucial source of the funding that we need to run services for the 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 is 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.
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.
The analysis of YouGov’s polling data was carried out by Professor Allan Brimicombe, a statistician at the University of East London who 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.”