Is there any time in one’s life more stressful than moving house?

Possibly giving birth. For that, there’s a long slow build-up then a crescendo of pain that’s over in a matter of hours, maybe a day or so, but you end up with someone small and adorable who you can take home and love for ever more.

Moving house hurts right from the start.

It begins with the painful decision. To sell or not to sell?

The market’s gone crazy, the house has gone up, it’s time to downsize and move on. Buy somewhere smaller, reduce debt, tick a few places off the bucket list, explore other options. Like raising miniature cows. (They do really exist, as I’ve only recently discovered.)

But oh help me God, there’s the packing up and moving.

If you’ve lived in the one place for a number of years, you’ll know the depths of your cupboards, the dark recesses of the garden shed, the space under the spare bed, where stuff can be stored. Because it’s worth keeping and you can’t bear to throw it away.

I’ve kept most of my daughter’s artworks from when she was a tiny tot at school. She’s 23 now and I just can’t bring myself to toss them, even though I haven’t gazed on any of them for almost 20 years. There are hundreds and hundreds of CDs which I haven’t got around to digitally transferring and I can’t bring myself to toss them either.

There are books lining several walls and though I read most things online these days, they’re like old friends with whom I can’t bear to part.

It’s not so much the giving away and getting rid of things that’s hard. It’s the decision-making. To keep or not to keep? Maybe I’ll just whack it all into storage for a while and sort it out later.

In my inner-west suburb of Sydney, there are five massive storage facilities. People like me pay rent on storage units for an average of nine months. And then we get sick of paying the rent, open up the storage unit and either give everything away to Vinnies or chuck it out anyway. Thus having wasted a goodly sum of money. Or provided income and employment opportunities for this burgeoning sector.

Sarah Gould is the Manager of Storage King, Balmain. She says the majority of people – about 80% – store household goods in their storage units.

Though when she worked in the western suburbs, there was the occasional drug raid at her self-storage facility, one of which netted a large supply of cocaine and saw Sarah testify at a subsequent court case. Another of her customers lived and died in Canada. She was ordered to open the unit and sell its contents. It was full of pornographic magazines.

At Balmain, her longest-term customer has rented a unit for 26 years. Apparently, he’s storing personal items.

She’s seen someone store an ultralight aircraft in one unit, coffins in another but she only sees the stuff when it goes in and comes out.

I’m worried that a storage unit for me will be like my own Hotel California: “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

So I’ll just have to be brutal. I’m sure it’ll hurt a bit at first, and then with the passage of time, it won’t hurt at all and I won’t even miss the book on Provence, 1970, or that CD of the songs of Paul McCartney sung by other people.

And having lightened my load, I can set about finding out what sort of gear I’ll need for the raising of those cute little cows.