A journalist named Hussein keeps 200 pens without ink in a cabinet drawer.
A lawyer named Laila keeps a broken television set, bought at the time of her daughter’s birth, under a table.
A housewife named Afaf keeps old plastic containers for storing food in the kitchen.
Old cameras, forgotten travel bags, a broken mixer, a favourite phone – in Egypt, having “karakib”, or clutter, is a national habit. It is found on rooftops and balconies, in family homes and on noisy streets.
“We as Egyptians are fond of clutter,” says Laila. “I think it is a popular legacy. People like to keep old things along with new things. We’ve liked clutter since colonial rule.”
In some homes, owners keep expensive mementos of days gone