Daily Life, Kenya
Comments 2

Waste Not, Want Not

I try to not be a wasteful person. (Yes, I’ve started hoarding. However, that is entirely different.) I try my best to not waste food. I try very hard to not buy more than I need. I hate clutter. I’m a minimalist. I truly believe that less is more.

I’m not perfect, but I try—and I try to improve upon all that. I know it’s a process and that I can keep getting better at reducing wastefulness. Having a housekeeper has made me better at it.

There are certain items that I’ll throw away, thinking that there is no more use for them. My housekeeper will fish those items out of the trash and ask if she can please keep them. She’ll ask if she can keep some of the things that I put in for recycling.

This has made me look at my “garbage” differently. I think a bit more about whether I should really get rid of something. I think more about whether someone else can make use of something that I no longer need (even though I would have previously thought otherwise).

At first I felt strange doing this. I felt as though I was passing along discarded things and that it would be insulting. It’s not at all. It’s more a matter of, “hey, I don’t really need this, but I thought you might have a use for it. Let me know if you want it.” If she wants it, she’s very happy to have it (whatever it is) offered to her. If she doesn’t have a use for it, she’ll pass and there is no harm done.

What types of things are these? They range from old mops, to slightly leaky buckets, to old bottles and containers, any kind of bag, and more. The most interesting item was an iron board that would no longer remain standing up. Who could use that?

Well, she asked if she could have it because maybe she could find someone to fix it. Indeed, in Kenya, you can get nearly everything fixed. I gave her a lift home the other evening so she could get it back to her house and then see if she could get it fixed.

Will she be able to have it repaired? Who knows. The point is that she won’t discard it until she’s certain she (and no one she knows) could have any use for it.

It’s a good lesson for those of us from “developed” nations who are surrounded by a throwaway culture. Nothing should be wasted.


  1. I completely get this. For years now, I have left anything that might be remotely of use our house helper next to the bin rather than in it and anything I’m sure will be of use is bagged up and given to her directly.

    Liked by 1 person


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