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The household tasks we need help with the most

How independent are you around the home? Are you capable of cooking up a storm in the kitchen, keeping rooms spick and span and taking regular meter readings? How about fixing broken appliances, doing DIY projects, and assembling flat-pack furniture?

With sales in household goods stores across the UK hitting over £34.6 billion, and £7.2 billion in decorating and DIY stores1, it’s clear that we love to keep our homes in great shape. Whether that’s keeping on top of the cleaning or tackling home improvements. But how many of us feel like we can confidently tackle these tasks ourselves?

We carried out a survey** to see how many people turn to family and friends for help around the home and the reasons we struggle to carry out tasks ourselves. Read on to see how you measure up compared to the rest of the country, and whether you seek help from the same people.

Most of us ask for help around the home

A lot of us – nearly seven in 10 – actively ask for help around the home – whether it’s from friends, family, neighbours or professionals.

So how old are we when we stop asking for help? It’s probably a lot older than you think, with the highest number of respondents saying they stopped asking for help with tasks at the age of 46. 

Residents of Bristol are the most likely to ask for help, with just over 85% saying they actively ask. At the other end of the scale, it seems those in Leeds, Cardiff and Southampton are more likely to try and tackle problems around the home themselves as they had the lowest percentage of residents who ask for help around the home.

If something goes wrong at home 15% of us would go straight to a professional, but the vast majority would call our spouses.

Parents also tend to help out with a lot of problems: we’re most likely to go to them for DIY, followed closely by plumbing issues and electrical work.

If we break it down by age,  25-34-year-olds are more likely to call their dad for help around the home, whereas those over the age of 45 rely on their spouses. 

That’s not to say that we don’t rely on our neighbours too. Just over 20% of Brits said they’d ask their neighbours and friends to help move heavy furniture. And other respondents said they’d ask neighbours to look after their dog, collect newspapers and put the bins out when they’re away.

Despite it sometimes being the cheaper option to ask for help from people we know, there are some tasks best left to the professionals. Almost seven in 10 (62%) of us would prefer to call a professional for electrical work rather than asking family members or friends.

Over four in 10 Brits have never been shown how to carry out everyday upkeep and maintenance tasks in the home

Almost two-fifths of Brits feel they’re not capable of doing things around the home by themselves, which is why they ask for help. And a quarter (26%) ask for help for fear that they might accidentally break something.

Common reasons for asking for help Percentage of Brits who agree
I haven’t ever been shown how to do the task properly/ I need someone else to show me before I attempt it on my own 42%
I don't feel capable of doing things around the house on my own 38%
I’m worried that I would break something 26%
To save money calling a professional / I don’t have time to spare 19%

The tasks we struggle with the most

Unsurprisingly, we seem to struggle the most with tasks like plumbing issues (44%) and electrical work (40%) whereas DIY tasks (38%) were the third most common tasks we ask for help with followed by painting and decorating (32%).

Rearranging (29%) and assembling (25%) furniture often requires a second pair of hands, so it’s no surprise that most of us called our friends or family for assistance with building things like flatpack furniture.

So, if you’ve been struggling with your wardrobe assembly or concerned that you’re perhaps too old to be calling on your parents or friends for help, don’t worry – because it turns out most of us do it too.

Whether you’ve recently moved into your new home, or have lived there for years, one of the most important things you can do is take out contents insurance. Of course, while no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, it’ll give you peace of mind if your possessions are damaged, lost or destroyed.

Brought to you by the home insurance experts at


1 Source: published in January 2022.

**Consumer poll of 2,002 adults who own their own home conducted by TFL in February 2022