A pink taxi

A pink taxi

August 11, 2011

Vide Grenier

French call it Vide Grenier, whose literal translation is Empty the Attic, but it actually means Garage Sale. The French mention the provenance of the sale of kitsch (attic), the Americans prefer to mention the location of the sale of junk (garage).

I love the luxury of storage, otherwise called grenier on top and cave in the basement of the French speaking world's homes. I have both in Geneva and I therefore store family possessions, call them hand me down effects, or junk.

Who doesn't hate spring cleaning? Dusting the cobwebs, finding piles of unused possessions, waiting to be reused. Who has the time to listen to retro cds? I concede that I was happy to find each and every album by Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and by Madonna. But who will ever listen to Lisa Stanfield or BuddhaBar 2001? I know the French classics by Lamartine or LaBruyere may come to use for my kids but I stress the MAY, because it is most probable that they will read extracts of those books or other books by those writers. When will I ever bake cupcakes again? So why keep the cook book for cupcakes? All these books and CDs must go.

Indeed, there is no better thing than cleaning one's drawer, closet, pantry, garage, cellar, attic or garage. When you put things in storage, it is because you "think" you will use them. Instead you hold on to them, they just get old and then you throw them away.

On the other hand, I believe in hand me down clothes, toys and children's books. The ideal thing is to hand them down immediately, to the relative or very close friend. I often give away clothes when my child has not even outgrown them, because the opportunity for my nephew to wear it is now. No sooner have they outgrown their favorite toys that they hand it themselves to their cousins.

Storing always requires "weeding" which means constant differentiation from what is used, what is sentimental and what has become junk because it was a silly purchase in the first place!


  1. We're moving house and doing lots of packing. We'll be doing lots of spring cleaning. 3 years worth! In 2011, there are virtual garage sales where one call sell unused possessions.

  2. In my days there was no notion of garage sale,because it was not the generation of affluence days.The minute the handy me down is triggered,the item is worn out and is not worth selling.Toys were so rare and expensive,that they would stay in use until they break..Even newspapers and magazines would be read so many members of the household ,that whatever remains stays to clean mirrors and glass.The only electronic gadget would be the huge and prized radio in the middle of the sitting room that would last until the last bulb inside it is worn out.Those were the days my friend when the age of consumerism would require getting rid of the mountains of unnecessary purchases

  3. Your entry inspired me to look through my record collection. I have lots of cool classics. Really cool ones! But I also have some silly summer collections (dating back to 2007). Lol! And the sad part is these summer collections are expensive and in EUROS! The question is do you keep them? Don't summer songs usually expire after the summer? I'm only holding on to them for sentimental reasons: 2007 was the year I met my wife.