Portable Homes

Hundreds of thousands of Brits are using their motors as portable homes, with 45% of motorists admitting that they are using their cars as storage for their belongings and valuables, according to new research from Carfused.com.


The research can reveal that the most popular items being stored in vehicles are shoes (49%) and clothes (44%). Other popular items being stored in people’s cars include those you may expect to find, such as car seats (36%), sat navs (29%) and mobile phone chargers (21%). However, other weird and wonderful belongings found in Brits’ motors include:

  • Chainsaws
  • Music Stands
  • Roller skates


As a result of this excessive hoarding, motorists are now carrying on average, £217 worth of goods in their car – with nearly one in 10 (9%) saying they store items totalling more than £500 in their car. With many Brits seeming to have everything but the kitchen sink hoarded in their cars, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that one in six motorists (17%) have even felt comfortable enough to sleep in their vehicle overnight.

Hiding Places

And motorists aren’t just using their vehicles as mobile wardrobes and make-shift beds – they are also using their cars as hiding places for presents and shopping. Nearly a quarter of motorists (23%) admit they store shopping in their cars so that people don’t see what they have bought, whilst a similar number (25%) claim they will hide Christmas presents in their motors.

When it comes to hiding presents and shopping in their cars, women are more likely to squirrel things away – with more than a quarter (27%) of women admitting to it compared to 18% of men. And while you might think this conforms to type, women are more likely to store items in their car anyway – nearly half (48%) of women use their cars to store items compared to just 41% of men.

Dumping Ground

When it comes to Brits using their cars as a dumping ground for different items – from presents to chainsaws – more than a third (37%) of Brits say they store items in their car because they are never sure when they will need things when they are out. More than a fifth (22%) say they don’t have anywhere else to put them wand more than one in 10 (12%) say they store things in their car that are too big to keep in the house. Despite many Brits storing their belongings in their motor, only a quarter (25%) of those who do so say they worry about the items they leave there. In fact, more than two-fifths (43%) say they don’t see a problem with it, as long as their items are hidden away.


However, this blasé attitude to using a car as a storage unit can have serious consequences, as opportunistic thieves can take advantage of the situation. According to the findings, a quarter (25%) of Brits have had their car broken into. And, of those who have fallen victim, more than two thirds (69%) saw items stolen from their vehicle. The most common items to be stolen from a car was the CD player (27%) with CDs (26%) not far behind. Nearly one in seven (14%) saw clothes stolen from their vehicle whilst just one in 10 (8%) saw their satellite navigation system pinched. Bravely, of those who have had their car broken into, more than three quarters (76%) said they continued to store items in their vehicles after the incident.

Inherited Stuff

This propensity for Brits leaving their belongings in their car means that, when it comes to buying and selling used cars, some Brits are getting more than they bargained for. More than four-fifths (85%) of Brits have bought a used car and more than one in 10 (12%) of these said they found the previous owners stuff in there. These items included:

  • Sportsbag with dirty clothes
  • Tools
  • Satellite Navigation System
  • Passport
  • Jewellery
  • Brass Knuckles

Lost Property

And nearly one in 10 (8%) of Brits who say they have sold a used car said they have left some of their possessions in there when they sold it. These included:

  • Binoculars
  • iPod
  • Portable DVD player
  • Shoes
  • Walking boots and track suits

Kate Rose, Carfused spokesperson, says: “For many Brits, their car is an all-purpose machine, getting them to and from work as well as to their leisure activities and everything in between. It’s no wonder, then, that people are treating their cars as an extension of their houses, storing whatever they can in there. With the average value of items stored in Brits cars being £217, it’s a worry that many are selling cars with their items left behind.

“When it comes to buying and selling used cars, Brits need to take greater care to clean out their vehicles. They could be unwittingly short changing themselves by leaving high-value items in their cars when it comes to selling.”