Common items lost when moving house cost us £202


By leaving behind things like step ladders, stashed cash, keys and plant pots, the average person stands to lose £202 for being forgetful when moving. That totals around £2.37 million in lost items each year!

TV remotes, phones, keys, glasses and shoes are all some of the most commonly misplaced items in our homes. In fact, the average person is so good at losing random things that we spend roughly 140 days of our lives searching for them. Considering it gets worse when we’re flustered or stressed, those of us preparing to move house are at even higher risk of misplacing precious items.

One-Third of Brits Feel More Forgetful

In 2020 research showed lockdown and working from home had made us slightly more forgetful as a nation, with 5 in 10 people admitting to losing around two personal belongings a week.

Smartphones and other small electronics are the most commonly mislaid items around the home. Face masks also made it into the top 10, along with wallets and car keys.

Items people lose most often around the house

Smartphone 40%
TV remote 30%
Car keys 30%
Glasses 29%
Pens 24%
Headphones/earbuds 14%
Mask 14%
Wallet 13%
Phone charger 12%
Hair ties 11%


Fortunately, around 12% of the time, our lost items turn up in the fridge or the bin. Moving house is a different story, however, as forgetful Brits often leave behind enough small things to rack up a small fortune.

Top Items that Get Lost in a Move

Most people experience major strain during a move, with many admitting they’ve lost sleep due to moving house stress. Stress, fatigue and last-minute planning can lead to forgetfulness, which is why many families often lose or leave behind household items.

We spoke to Lyndsey Wallbank, MD at Pickfords, to find out which items are most commonly forgotten, misplaced or left behind during a move.

Misplaced Item Average Cost
Ladders £69
Plant pots in the garden £15
Keys £8
Money hidden in a ‘safe spot’ £110


Tips for Staying Organised During a Move

Fortunately, removal companies have systems in place to help prevent customers from losing and forgetting items, which is why it’s a great idea to get help from professionals and ensure you have a moving house checklist. Here are some more useful tips to help minimise lost and forgotten possessions.


  • Make a checklist: Write up a list that tells you all the items going into a box and which room that box should go into at the new house.
  • Go room by room: Pack one room at a time, and only move onto the next room once the last one is completely packed up. Don’t forget sheds and cupboards!
  • Label everything: Mark every box clearly on the top and sides. Be sure to include any special warnings like ‘Fragile’ or ‘This side up’ to prevent breakages.
  • Collect your cables: With so many electronics in the average home, it’s easy to lose track of power cords, cables and chargers. Pack each cord in a zip-lock bag and tape it to the corresponding item – that means no confusion when the time comes to unpack.

Lost and Found

You’d be amazed by some of the unusual things that get left behind by homeowners during a move! New occupants around the UK have found far stranger things than ladders and potted plants upon moving in. For example, one Plymouth man found a Medieval sword in an old well hidden under his home’s floorboards! Other finds have included antique Bibles, lost wedding rings, first-edition books, creepy doll’s heads, a drawer full of googly eyes, and last but not least, a collection of taxidermied tigers!

Move with Shared Ownership

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We used a list of most commonly misplaced items from Pickfords and assigned an average cost to each one based on easily accessed online shopping prices. We then multiplied this amount by the number of property transactions in the UK in 2020.