03 August 2015

Le grand ménage — spring cleaning in August

Well, we did it. Just because you live in a beautiful part of France doesn't mean you don't have to take care of the mundane tasks in life. I'm talking about cleaning out the garage. It's a space that inevitably fills up with stuff over the years.

The weather is hot but dry. They're saying that this afternoon will be blazing hot here in the Loire Valley. We'll get what we can get done during the cooler morning hours. Over the weekend, we dragged out the things we want to keep and put them under the old carport out front, where they'd be protected in the event of a rain shower.

When we moved into this house 12 years ago, the garage was already full of junk. That first summer, we emptied it out and took a carloads of stuff to the recycling center — la déchetterie — across the river in Noyers. But we also decided to hold on to a lot of things because we weren't sure what we might need or want out of all the junk.

We emptied the garage another time since then — we can't remember exactly when. But it was time to do it again. I already took a carload of stuff to the déchetterie on Saturday, and yesterday I filled up the car again for another run over there today. A lot of the stuff we're throwing out is old cardboard boxes and plastic bags.

A lot of other stuff will go to the French equivalent of the Good Will store, which is called Emmaüs [ay-mah-YUCE]. There's a store — it's a complex of stores, really — over in the town of Romorantin, 20 so miles east of Saint-Aignan. Old light fixtures, a brand-new never-used left-handed guitar, three or four jackets and raincoats, a big old suitcase, a computer and a couple of old monitors, a step ladder, and on and on — it's stuff that has to go but that might be useful to somebody else.

So there you have it. That's how we spent our weekend (or at least the mornings). At first, Bertie watched suspiciously as we emptied out "his" house. Then yesterday he slept peacefully in the garage as we worked. He'll be reassured when he sees us start moving stuff back in today.


  1. "It's a space that inevitably fills up with stuff over the years."........
    Garages, attics, barns...
    they all have a "stuffmagnet" built into them...
    when you start cleaning them out....
    you look at something and say...
    "why did we buy this?"
    or even... "when....?"
    and there are times when you pick things up and look at them...
    and then at your partner...
    one of you will say "what is that?"
    If the other one says anything along the lines...
    "I've no idea!"....
    then it doesn't belong to either of you and fell in from G-Space...
    out there.... in another garage....
    there is someone frantically looking for that item...
    Paul has been looking for that " brand-new never-used left-handed guitar" for ages!

    Bertie was just making sure that you didn't throw out his "matter transporter"...
    If he came back in and slept peacefully in there... you obviously didn't!
    All cats are aliens... they spend their lives watching...
    and often controlling...

    NB: Some of us are still using Access 97!!

    1. Tim, we had plenty of those "what the hell is that" moments. As for Access, we don't use it at all, whatever the version. I'm steeling myself for the installation of Windows 10, though.

  2. All that space is a blessing and a curse. At least you are trying to keep up with it. I seem to be motivated to clean out only just before we move.

    1. You are right about the blessing vs. curse thing. We're pretty pround of the work cleaning and getting rid of and squaring away of things over the past three days. We've never lived in one place for such a long time (12 years now) and sometimes you just have to pretend you are moving before you can get these things done.

  3. Inspired, but not motivated enough to do the basement cleaning we need to do. I must say, though, that Fisher Price toys almost 40 years old, have held up well. Legos, too. They do the job on weekend visits from the grandchildren. There are tons of things to go; we'd need to get all 4 of the kids here to sort out what they want to keep and then get them to actually TAKE it away. Last time we sorted out, everything went back into our basement.

    1. Well, if you have room for it and it gets used periodically, I say keep it. I don't believe in throwing things out for no reason. We have taken two big carloads of stuff to the recycling center, and now another load is packed into the car to be taken to Emmaüs this week. We too put a lot of the stuff we hauled out right back into the garage when the cleaning fit ended!

  4. Okay, I've got to know the story on why you have a never-used, left-handed guitar? Which one of you is left handed? Who thought he'd take up guitar?

    1. judy, moi. I thought about taking guitar lessons just before we decided to move to France in 2002. I bought a guitar on line. I'm left-handed. I've never used it (except for embarrassingly silly blind strumming).

    2. Oh, and I have a "Guitar for Dummies" book down in the garage. LOL

    3. Ha! I tried guitar in high school, but my fingers could barely reach to make the chords.

  5. Your technique was good, hauling it out and then returning just what you wanted to keep. Someone will appreciate a left handed guitar for sure.


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