Kenya, Nairobi, Daily Life
Comments 10

Hoarding

hair products

I’ve always been a minimalist, certainly never a hoarder. Then I moved to Nairobi. Everything changed.

The hoarding started before I moved here. I needed to make sure I had enough of everything I need. Clothes, shoes, makeup, toiletries, my preferred brand of tampon, you name and I stocked up on it.

It got worse once I arrived. I was told that if I saw something I liked, then I should get a few. So, I started to buy in bulk. Then I experienced a shortage first hand.

Nakumatt (sort of like the Walmart of Nairobi) ran out of the sediment collector part for our water filter. This needs to be replaced every 4-6 weeks. We always had a few (like 2-3) extra on hand. But they ran out for about six weeks and I freaked out.

We were okay, but once they restocked, I began hoarding a ton. I now have somewhere between 30 and 35 of these filters, enough for at least a couple years. I don’t have a photo of that. You’ll just have to trust me on it.

The featured photo for this post shows my collection stash hoard of conditioner and other haircare supplies. It’s a mix of things from the US as well as items I’ve found here. There are some skincare products too, like 6 bottles of micellar water.

I make no apologies for the hoarding. It’s a necessary evil. I can no longer get just-in-time deliveries. I can’t rely on a store to have what I need. I need to stock up like there’s no tomorrow, or like a New Yorker does when there is news of a snow storm (even though it will just be flurries).

It still feels weird to hoard, but I’m getting used to it. I’ve decided to think of it as a new cultural adjustment.

If you’re interested in reading about how other ex-pats are adjusting in Africa, click on the image below.

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10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Waste Not, Want Not | nyc2nairobi

  2. Pingback: A Day At The Hub | nyc2nairobi

  3. reluctantmemsahib says

    that looks like my bathroom cabinet … I buy obscene volumes of toiletries every time I leave the Outpost. And spend obscene amounts in Boots et al. Most recent trip – to Cpt – saw me return with 8 tubes/bottle of eye gel/drops/tears … all in a bid to remain bright eyed I suppose? Or because of the omnipresent fear I will run out before I get someplace where I can restock … so I live in a permanent state of under stocked or over expired?

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  4. I am the world’s worst hoarder since living here in East Africa. Though lately I’ve been working through my supplies slowly, forcing myself to chuck out stuff that is now over 5 years past its sell by date (random sun screen and insect repellent bottles included)! I’ve been to the recently opened Carrefore supermarket a couple of times and feel like a 1950s housewife who has just discovered frozen, ready made foods (which – finally -are not too prohibitively expensive). Now feeding the fam with frozen eclairs, ready made creme caramel/chocolate mousse, already grated gouda, frozen pizzas, cooked prawns, fruit tarts – you name it. I think I might be going a bit housewife crazy…

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  5. You do exactly like most of us do in Nairobi. My stuff arrived in March from Europe and you don’t want to know how many bottles of cosmetics, cleaning products and medicines was transporting! I was ashamed of myself! When I arrived in Nairobi people around me gave me this one piece of advice: if you see something in the supermarket that you need badly (not local production), don’t think it twice, get at least 5 items because if it happens to be out of stock, you will not get it before at leat 6 months… At the begining I just thought they were making fun of a newbie like me, but some months ago the cat’s litter happened to be out of stock in almost all Nakumats and Chandaranas in town (only chains selling litter)… I have two indoor cats! I was in total panic and I spent the week checking every single outlet in town, I finally found some stock in one of them and I took litterally everthing, with more than 40 kg of cat’s litter at home I said to myself this cannot happen again! 😉 So yes, sometimes it is VERY necessary to have the “hoarding attitude”! 😉

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  6. I was so guilty of this in India & Ukraine! I would haul massive suitcases back with me from the USA stuffed with diapers, peanut butter, dog poop bags (yep, could not even find those in my previous posts!), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and on and on. Here in South Africa, as Clara (yep, the other ex-pat Clara in Pretoria!) wrote, there is a bounty of almost everything, so my hoarding has quieted a bit. But maybe I should start stocking up to prepare for our next post??

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  7. Oho yes, hoarding and expatting (particularly in Africa) go hand in hand. Agree with Clara that you can get most things here in SA, but when we lived in Nigeria, I’m not even sure you could call what we did hoarding, it was more like stockpiling. From loo roll, to yeast, to tinned goods – if it appeared on the shelves, you bought the lot.

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  8. Ha – your cupboard looks very much what mine used to when I lived in the Caribbean! Here in South Africa the shops are wonderful, the chemists/pharmacys better even than back home (apart from a few “ladies” items…) so I don’t need to hoard shampoo etc. However I have now taking to hoarding chorizo instead – I couldn’t find the proper stuff anywhere when we first arrived and then it appeared in Woolworths for a while before disappearing again so now I always buy two or three of them at a time when I see them 🙂 . Thank you for linking up with the first ever Stories from Blogging Africa

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