You'll never believe what people leave behind when they move

Hamster looking at camera

When you move house there's always a bit of toing and froing over what's going to be left behind. But while you may spend hours drawing up delicate agreements and arguing over whether the garden shed is really worth £500, a study has revealed that we overlook other things entirely. So when you move in, you could be for quite a shock.

In some cases, the movers leave a gift for the new occupants. The study, by London removals firm Kiwi Movers, found that seven out of ten people will leave a present - and that the most popular option by far is wine, followed by chocolates and flowers, meals for the first night, essentials and houseplants.

Those moving into a new home in Surrey are most likely to receive a gift, and those in Birmingham are least likely. And the average price of the gift is a very generous £22.

Some people don't stop at a gift. Some 60% leave useful takeaway menus and bus timetables, 51% leave paint, spare wallpaper or tools, and 48% do a deep clean of the property when they leave.


However, not all the surprises left by the mover are so pleasant. Some 23% left behind rubbish, 8% moved without bothering to clean at all, and one respondent even admitted to taking every single lightbulb with him.

Stripping the place bare isn't all that unusual. A recent survey by Anyvan found that 43% of people have moved into a home without light fittings or bulbs, while 23% found the toilet roll holders have gone, and 14% said doorknobs were missing.

Rightmove ran a competition for unusual moving stories in 2013, and heard from one woman who moved into a property to find that absolutely everything had been taken - including the doorbell.

Left behind

The National Association of Estate Agents said items are often left behind too. Some of the most common are the contents of the loft, phone chargers, and pets - which are taken but return on their own.

Other things left behind are decidedly weird. The Kiwi Movers study said one woman in London had been replacing the tiles in the kitchen when she found a copy of the Paris Hilton sex tape had been hidden there by a former occupant.

A man in Glasgow found a pair of glasses in the freezer, and a London author found an antique dentist's chair - which he sold on eBay for £700. Another couple found £300 stuffed behind the bathroom radiator when cleaning their new house in Manchester.

The Rightmove competition unearthed the story of a woman who moved in, and spent a night listening to a terrifying scratching sound in her bedroom. The following day the previous occupants arrived to say that their daughter's hamster had escaped during the move, and was probably hiding in the bedroom.

Another woman rented a property without viewing it. The landlord said he wouldn't be storing anything there - just the things hanging on the walls. She arrived to discover 87 clocks.

Meanwhile, a study by TV Licencing in October listed unusual objects left behind, including an undertaker's trestle, a potty, and personalised egg cups.

The house that hasn't changed in 50 years
See Gallery
You'll never believe what people leave behind when they move
John Collingwood has lived in the house all of his life.
He still uses the cooker his mother bought some 65 years ago, and the 1965 fridge.
Some things even pre-date him, with bathroom fittings from 1925.
The retired textile worker doesn't believe in throwing things away just because there's something newer and more fancy on the market.
He was reluctant to have central heating installed.
Collingwood with a collection of antique vacuum cleaners.
Rather than splashing his cash on entertainment, he still uses a wind-up gramophone and a radio from 1950.
The resurgence 1950s and 1960s style means that some of the items he has are in high demand - and he's been made offers on some of his period furniture.
He does have one newer item though!
This laundry room was originally an air raid shelter during WWII.

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