Livewire - January 17, 2014

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By Jacqui Morley

The Ghost of Christmas Past does not wear a white shroud or rattle chains.

It is clad in a box gathering dust in a corner of the kitchen. Or up in the attic awaiting reincarnation as a gift for next year.

It may be a mixer, blender, coffee bean grinder, or one of those strange things which slice fruit you never buy for people you never see - except at Christmas.

We all hoard £400 of clutter in terms of untouched goods and gadgets, according to a survey commissioned by needaproperty.com. Books, DVDs, sports equipment, sandwich makers, food processors, coffee machines and other household gadgets top the list.

“Only £400 worth?” said Betty Tomlinson, 83, of North Drive, who admits: “I’ve got a coffee grinder I’ve never used, two slow cookers and a microwave. I’m the old fashioned type.”

Great-grandma Betty says white goods are her nemesis but she’s been able to pass the worst clutter culprits along the family chain.

“Most come from my oldest son who lives in Australia and always orders online - I’ve had cameras I don’t use, e-book readers, coffee makers, all sorts. I can pass them on because he only visits every three years.”

Daughter Rebecca Holdsworth of St Annes admits one “posh” vacuum cleaner from two birthdays back is gathering dust in its own right - tucked under the stairs. “I just don’t like it, the design frightens me,” says Rebecca. “My husband bought it but I don’t crack on I never use it. I hope he doesn’t read this. I’ll have to hide the paper.”

Raymond Crichton, 72, a charity shop volunteer of Grange Park, says several unwanted gifts have already been donated to the shop - including by him.

“The silliest thing anyone bought for me was a mince cookbook. If you don’t know how to cook mince by the age of 72 it’s a poor do. And one of those expensive coffee making machines, pods and suchlike. It was ridiculous. I use a cafetiere. It tastes as good and is cheaper. I flogged it to my young neighbour who likes that sort of thing.”