Homeowners today would rather hide their mess as new research from The Co-operative Insurance reveals that cleaning is dying out, with a quarter of modern households struggling to manage an hour of cleaning each week (25%). Today’s home-makers no longer see cleaning as a priority with those aged (45-54 years) most likely to keep abreast of their chores, cleaning for an average of five hours and four minutes per week compared to those aged 25-34, who only manage three hours and 58 minutes.

Homeowners in the East Midlands were the messiest and least likely to do household jobs themselves such as vacuuming and tidying, while those in the South East were the most house-proud, undertaking almost two hours more cleaning per week than those in the East Midlands. 

In addition to struggling with the housework, the findings reveal that almost half of homeowners (49%) have a specific hiding place for clutter to keep it out of view when visitors drop by.  The top spot for hoarding junk was in the spare room (39%) with the loft a near second (31%). 

Other popular locations for dumping rubbish in included in the garage (19%), or shed (14%).  More than one in 10 questioned admitted stashing their jumble anywhere it would fit (11%) and a small number confessed to hiding belongings behind armchairs (4%) in their children’s room (2%) or in their car boot (3%).

Despite housing the family junk, the loft was seen as the least important room in the house to keep tidy, with almost half of those questioned (47%) giving it the lowest cleaning priority.  And while the bedroom is often seen as a sanctuary from the hassles of the day, almost one in eight (12%) felt that this was the least important room to keep fresh and dirt-free. 

The kitchen topped the list of places likely to be kept the most hygienic with  more than half (57%) saying it was the most important room to keep on top of, yet almost one in 10 (9%) were least concerned about making sure their utility room was spotless, even though this is often just an extension of the kitchen.

Of those that rarely clean, one in five preferred to pay someone else to do it (20%) and 19% said they didn’t keep things spic and span because they didn’t want to use cleaning products.

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “The research shows that a people are hiding their rubbish away, but over filling areas such as a loft or boiler cupboard is a potential cause of fires.  Having too much stuff could also hide other problems, such as mould or leaking pipes.  It is vital to make sure that your property, including outbuildings such as sheds and garages is properly maintained. Gradually occurring damage caused by lack of general maintenance can result in a claim not being covered.

‘’We sometimes deal with claims for accidental damage to ceilings caused by a misplaced foot in the loft as a result of trying to find suitcases for the holidays.  Whilst cleaning and tidying isn’t everyone’s idea of fun,   there is a serious side to keeping on top of general clutter. Items obstructing stairways, halls and doors could be a hazard if you and your family need to leave the house quickly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or flood.”