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Sentimental Brits are hoarding old toys, clothes and even mobile phones to act as ‘memory triggers’

A survey of 1000 households carried out by one of the UK’s leading storage companies found that Britons preferred to keep hold of certain items rather than disposing of them or selling them on.

The most favoured items were those with a strong emotional bond or link to childhood – 80’s and 90’s toys in particular featured heavily in the survey of ‘nostalgia storage’: Scalextric, Star Wars figures and the humble Rubiks Cube all scored heavily as the nation’s most treasured toys.

It is estimated that from birth through to the age of 16, Brits accumulate around 154 toys with statistics showing that on average, we each keep around 3 of these ‘heritage toys’ as a keepsake.

Electrical equipment and portable media is beginning to feature more prominently on the list of hoarded goods: VHS and Betamax tapes, music cassettes and old vinyl records all hold special places in our hearts, as too do old PC’s, Walkman’s and mobile phones, which were 8th on the countdown of nostalgia items we can’t throw away..

Auxiliary storage sites are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and are being used as a form of time capsule for cherished childhood souvenirs and mementos to which people feel a special attachment. Alongside our wistfulness toward best-selling toys which are the number one nostalgia item we’re also suckers for our favourite outfits (2nd) royal memorabilia, which came in 5th, and even dusty old mobile phones.

 It is suggested that items which carry a strong emotional significance: a box of matches from the restaurant of a first date, for example, or a fading family photo, help an individual build a physical representation of a lifetime’s experience. Mobile phones are quickly becoming the new Barbie doll or Millennium Falcon figurine, as people are beginning to attach the same representative qualities to these functional devices.

 Do you still treasure your first mobile phone or MP3 player? Have you got an old brick which you just can’t bring yourself to throw away? One of the UK’s leading mobile phone recycling companies, Fonebank, were surprised by the survey, director Olly Tagg said, ‘ People may be less inclined to cling on to their old phones if they knew how much they were worth. We recycle all types of old mobiles at Fonebank, even if you think yours is a worthless relic, it’ll still be worth something!’

While sentimental Brits may not be willing to part with old photo albums or love letters, money saving experts believe these nostalgia storage sites could be a potential Aladdin’s Cave for those who are prepared to adopt a more ruthless attitude toward their belongings.

‘The average Brit upgrades their mobile phone every 18 months’ continued Tagg, ‘Instead of squirreling away the old one, why not sell it? Mobile phones aren’t the same as space hoppers or train sets; they remain useful and desired long after we’ve finished with them.’

In our increasingly austere times, Brits may be persuaded to dip into these treasure troves and take advantage of sites such as Fonebank or eBay to cash in on their hoarded memories. 

1. Nostalgia toys, first edition comics and brand memorabilia ranging from modern day Harry Potter collectables to "old skool" ranges from Star Wars, Rubiks Cube, Barbie and Scalextric

 2. Favourite outfits that no longer fit.

3. Photos of family and friends from Christmas and summers gone by

4. Royal memorabilia

5. Special edition newspapers and tribute magazines

6. Wedding dresses

7. Music cassettes, VHS and Betamax tapes and vinyl

8. Electricals including first mobile phones, old PC's and Walkmans

9. Love letters from ex-boyfriends and girlfriends

10. Greetings cards and birthday cards from the 80s to today.

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