Moving house has brought out some hitherto unused skills. I'm sure that the (80% ?) of the brain that is unused in humans tends to hide useful abilities that are only required under certain circumstances.
In this case, it's the uncanny (and frankly worrying) ability to move piles of crap from one side of a room to another without throwing any of it away. However, to get to this stage, you have to have formed the piles of crap in the first place.
The best part of living in a house for so long is that you begin to designate storage areas for the hiding of the aforementioned crap. It's an implicit rule amongst all residents that, when visitors are imminent, everything that is currently on the floor is immediately scooped under the nearest bed or lifted into the highest cupboard.
With moving house, this process is reversed. All the designated storage areas have their contents exhumed and thrown on to the floor. The intention is to filter through the contents and only retain the most vital items.
Our filtering process is as follows:
1) Form pile of crap.
2) For each item in the pile, ask the questions: a) Do we really need this ? b) When was the last time we used it ?
3) If the answers are: a) “No” and b) “Ages ago” then place the item in the “throw” pile otherwise place it in the “keep” pile.
4) Repeat until the original pile has been sorted.
Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that we have formed two, slightly smaller, piles of crap. What should happen is that the “throw” pile is immediately transferred to the dustbin. The “keep” pile is placed into some storage vessel ready for the move.
No process in the world (however well thought out they maybe) factors in human emotion.
We have to add a step 5) which basically allows us to go through the “throw” pile and return each item to the “keep” pile on the basis that it's a good example of X where X can be “baby's first words” or “when I was a student”. Insert your own conditions.
I tend to be a bit more ruthless than my plus one (watch the Doctor Who episode “The End of the World” for that reference) so our filtering uses another two-stage process where the “throw” pile is created but I get to filter it before step 5) takes place.
So, we now have lots of piles of crap around the house that we're taking with us ready to be hidden when the first visitors arrive.