Matt Heath: Five ways to move house with less pain

Publish Date
Tuesday, 2 April 2019, 7:45PM

You only truly realise the amount of stuff you have when you try and move house. I'm not talking valuable, meaningful or practical stuff. I don't have any of that. No, like most of you, my stuff is worthless, space-filling junk.

On moving day, crap explodes from cupboards, drawers and out from under the beds where you've hidden it. You're not allowed to leave it, hide it in the walls or set fire to it, so you have to move it. Which sucks.

I've learned some hard lessons across this past week of shifting. So here's my one moral and four practical tips for a healthier, happier and more sensual moving day.

1. Pretend it's a workout

Moving house is sweaty, it hurts, it's horrible, you hate it and wish you weren't there. It's just like going to the gym. Tough but good for you. Relocation is a lot of cardio and even more strength work. The only difference between moving out and working out is your mindset. Tell your brain it's fitness and it'll believe you. Suddenly, you're not shifting, you're shredding. Having said that, any health benefits will be nullified by the inevitable finger crush, toe smash and life-long back injury that comes with any move.

2. Throw everything out

People think moving is about boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape. But these things should be your last resort. The initial focus must be skips, rubbish bags, wheelie bins, refuse transfer centres and bonfires. Chucking and tossing are your friends.

There will be things in your house you've moved five times and used once. It's time to move them to the dump. Ninety per cent of your clothes are repeats. Most dudes buy the same shirt over and over again. The rest of your clothes are either uncool or too small. You're not going to suddenly get skinny and start fitting the pants you did when you were 19. You don't need 27 versions of the same boring T-shirt. So get rid of all of it.

3. Lay off the booze the night before the shift

Shifting is painful enough with a clear head. Adding any kind of hangover to the mix is self torture. You don't want to be down on your hands and knees getting the last bits of Lego out from between floorboards while dealing with pulsating temples. Obviously, you should celebrate hard once you're all moved in. But only a fool adds dustiness to a shifting situation.

4. Don't pretend you'll sell it on Trade Me

You will never get round to flicking your junk at the new place. That item will be with you until your next shift and the one after that. Dump it. If it's worth something, give it to a charity shop. Good people give good stuff to charity shops. Bad people give rubbish. No one wants your copy of The Da Vinci Code with the front and back covers missing, your 1998 Mr Bean calendar, your 35 PS1 games in the wrong covers or your scratched Baha Men greatest hits CD. Give it or bin it because you'll never get around to selling it.

5. Friends don't ask friends to help them shift

They may never forgive you for ruining their day off work. Worse, they may expect you to help them next time they move. That could lead to more shift days you're obliged to be involved in. If you have the money pay professionals to help. If not, it's an immediate family thing only. Friends don't ask other friends to help them shift.

Shifting your house is both an exciting and punishing time. A new life awaits you. A huge pile of worthless crap from your old life holds you back. So start early, pretend you're at the gym, throw everything out, be kind to the Sallies, lay off the sauce 'til you're in and never ask your friends for help. If you follow these simple rules shifting house could be up to 1 per cent less arduous and annoying than it would otherwise be. Good luck.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission