This expanded availability can be a good thing and a curse at the same time. After all, isn’t part of the reason for moving to Mexico to simplify your life?
Live Like a Mexican
Although it may be hard to imagine, life becomes a lot more simple when you don’t have a bunch of “stuff” to lug around, clean and maintain. Living like a Mexican is a much simpler life style with more emphasis on relationships and activities than what brand of dishes or silverware you have. The only reason to bring something to Mexico is simply because you really enjoy using it.
When you are weeding out your things to get ready for your move, a good rule of thumb is: If you haven’t used something in a year or more, sell it or give it away. For instance, although your beautiful, crystal punch bowl with matching cups looks beautiful in your cherry wood armoir, when is the last time you invited over friends for punch? If the answer to this is 1990 for your sister’s baby shower, sell it.
That being said, when ever you relocate, there are essential items you are going to need such as new bed linens, curtains, ect. Mexico has all these essential things. They may not be the brand names and quality you are use to, but you will not have to dress in a curtainless window.
It’s very expensive to move big pieces of furniture. It is much less expensive to hire a carpenter to build your wood furniture locally. Simply print out a picture or cut it out of a magazine, and the carpenter will be able to make it for you at about half the price the retail store offers it for. Not only will this be less expensive, you give a local a job and make a friend in the process!
Curtains, Bedspreads, Tableclothes
You can have just about anything you want sewn for you if you live somewhat remotely. Material stores are pretty plentiful and again, you can give a local a job and make another friend.
Mexican mattresses are sized differently than U.S. mattresses, so your U.S. sheets will not work down here unless you are able to buy a U.S. mattress at Sam’s Club or Costco. These places also sell the U.S. sized sheets to go with the mattresses.
Get Over Your Need For Domestic Gourmet Gadgets and Foods
My recommendation is to try to bring down what you can as far as quality pots and pans that you use regularly but eventually you are going to have to get accustomed to cooking Mexican style with their utensils and ingredients.
It is going to be very difficult to find the gadgets for, and the ingredients for, cooking the way you are use to. As far as I know, there are no Williams and Sonoma’s or Pampered Chef’s in Mexico.
On the bright side, you really do forget that you ever needed those specialty items or ingredients to begin with….or at least you can remember them fondly with a big sigh.
This is about the only thing I recommend stocking up on before you come and re-stocking when you back to visit. It is very difficult to find the products you are use to. If you like really good shampoo and lotions, bring enough to last 3-4 months so you have time to either find them here or find a local product you like just as much.
Drug stores are everywhere, even in very small towns. YZA, Union, Similare, Chedauri, San Francisco, Sams Club and Costco all carry a wide variety of drugs. It is very rare a prescription can not be found, but you may have to go to different pharmacies to pick them all up. The prices of most drugs are often much less than in the U.S. or Canada.
Shopping Is A Treasure Hunt
There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the locale of stores. Anyone can put up any type of store almost anywhere they want to. Therefore, it takes a little while to get to know where things are located.
Unless you are moving to one of the larger “developed” urban areas like Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Merida, Cuernavaca or Mexico City, the likelihood of finding everything you need in one store, or even one shopping center, is very low. Plan on searching for your treasures.
Consistent inventory is also not the standard. One week, the thing you really need is there but the next week, when you are ready to buy it, it’s gone….and it may never come back. “Opportunity Shopping” should be a Mexican Urban Dictionary term.
What Are The Big Stores?
However, there are a few stores that are a little more consistent with their inventory and quality and since you are going to need the essentials when you get here, no matter how hard you try to lighten your load, below is a list of the bigger stores in Mexico:
- Liverpool – The largest high-end chain in Mexico with locations in Merida, Cancun, Chetumal, La Paz, Villahermosa, Puerta Vallarta, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Morelia, Veracruz, Guadalajara, and Mexico City (80 locations total with plans to open 40 more by 2015). Liverpool locations.
- Sears – La Paz, Cancun, Plaza del Carmen, Mexico City, Merida, Cuernavaca, Queretaro and dozens of other locations (in more populous areas, there is frequently more than one location, and there are 87 locations total). Sears locations.
- Costco – Mexico City, Guadalajara, Queretaro, Puerta Vallarta, Morelia, Merida, Cuernavaca, Cancun and Puebla. They have 32 locations in 29 cities. Costco locations.
- Sam’s Club – Villahermosa, Veracruz, La Paz, Merida, Cancun, Cuernavaca, Queretaro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla, Morelia, Chetumal, Cozumel, Cuidad de Carmen (Campeche) (again, many of the larger cities have more than one club, and there are dozens more cities). Sam’s Club locations.
- Pier One Imports – For those of us addicted to decorating from the Pier One Import chain, there is good news! As an affiliate of, and outlet in, Sears stores across Mexico, Pier One outlets can be found in Veracruz, Merida, Cancun, Queretaro, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla and 17 other locations. Pier One locations.
Simplify Your Life
When trying to decide what to bring to Mexico, only bring what you can’t depart with. You can find everything you need in Mexico….even if you can’t find everything you want.