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living in the suburbs sitting on top of garbage bin

What Nobody Tells you About Living in the Suburbs

Living in the suburbs? You probably already know about all of the things that go down in this pocket. But for a former city boy who recently moved to the ‘burbs… it’s a whole new world.

When I was renting in Richmond – about 10 minutes from the Melbourne CBD – I was spoilt rotten.

I didn’t even realise it at the time, but being so close to shops, bars, cafes and restaurants was setting me up for major disappointment later in life. Right now, I’m experiencing that ‘later’.

Not being able to afford to live to close to the city when I purchased my new home meant one thing; it was time to venture further out. And now that I’m in Reservoir (about 12km north of the CBD), we’re well and truly further out

But it’s not just close proximity to a social life that changes when you move to the suburbs. There are so many other new experiences you need to prepare yourself for. And nobody seems to warn you about it. So allow me to get you clued up!

what nobody tells you about living in the suburbs what night's bin night

You have to Put Bins Out… Yourself!

Shocking, I know! But when I was in Richmond the apartment complex had a communal bin area. I didn’t even have to worry about ‘bin night’; a term I had only seen referenced in TV shows and movies. A term that now dominates a day of my week, every week (will it continue forever?).

Truth be told, I thought it was cute and exciting to have three bins of my own when I first saw them. What’s not cute is laying in bed on a Friday morning, at approximately 6am, and hearing the garbage trucks drive past your house. What’s even less cute is realising you forgot to put the bins out the night before. Where will another fortnight’s worth of wine bottles go? 

These things called Birds and Babies…

One thing people who live in the city fail to tell you is that there will be noises outside of your home that penetrate your daily life.

Firstly, birds. Turns out they chirp a lot, squark a lot, and like to build nests in your home’s guttering. In Richmond I don’t recall seeing birds outside my window. When I looked out my window I only saw the people who lived across across the laneway watching Law and Order SVU and having drunken girl’s nights in. With karaoke. Always with the karaoke.

The other thing I hear quite often is the next door neighbour’s baby. Never heard that in Richmond. I assume people who live in Richmond can’t afford babies. Not babies and a mortgage, anyway.

melbourne coffee snob tea towel
Can’t be a snob in the suburbs when it coms to coffee.

Uber Eats don’t wanna to know You

Don’t like cooking? I’m not entirely fond of it either. But if you thought jumping on Uber Eats was your fast-track to sinking your teeth into a delicious sushi platter, think again.

Living in the suburbs means that you’re too far away for Uber Eats. Your choices are pizza or Thai. Maybe Indian if you’re lucky.

You are no longer spoilt for culinary choice when you move to the suburbs. This is why you best prepare your grocery list accordingly.

Your Weekly Shop is like Preparing for Doomsday

When you live in the city, or on the fringe of it, your weekly shop is for staples only. That’s because when you suddenly crave a small (but probably large) tub of Ben & Jerry’s, there’s a 7-Eleven or convenience store a short stroll away.

When I was living in Richmond, there was a service station across the road. But now, the closest service station is a 15 minute walk away – across train tracks!

With this in mind, the weekly grocery shop is like preparing for doomsday. As if I’m about to be locked in an underground bunker for eternity, I buy everything Aldi has to offer and then some. Just in case.

funny doormat with got wine text from dont be a doormat
Ensure you stock up on wine at all times.

Train Stations: You gotta use them

There was nothing better than walking the 20 steps to the end of my street in Richmond and getting the tram down Chapel Street.

Now I have to take 300 steps to the train station. One that’s certainly not winning a design award anytime soon, and one that the local youth like to tag.

That’s another thing about living in the suburbs; the graffiti is definitely graffiti. There aint no street art/wall mural scenario going on. It’s all people’s gang names (I assume) sprawled across walls and roads. Cute.

On the plus Side… Money and Space!

OK, so it’s not all bad, different and unusual. One of the best things about living in the suburbs (and Melbourne, actually) is having money. No more saving for a mortgage, no more paying ridiculous rent.

And in this house, I have an extra room and a tonne more space. So much space, in fact, that I can host photoshoots in my home. Couldn’t do that in Richmond, that’s for sure.

Moving from the city to the suburbs has taken a bit of adjusting time but I’m getting there!

What hilarious things did you find confronting when you moved to the suburbs? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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7 Responses

  1. Oooooh you are reminding me of every reason why I left the suburbs! When I decided to have babies, everybody told me to move back to the burbs but I just bought a bigger apartment.

    The next thing that happens is that you buy a bigger car to avoid walking the extra distances and then you get fat from lack of incidental exercise.

    The good news is that people are friendlier in the burbs. You might actually meet your neighbours 🙂

    1. omg Jus do NOT even mention the weight gain lol. I am already ballooning this winter haha. I found it way easier to keep my health in check when I was close tot he city because, as you pointed out, I did so much walking. UGH.
      Get me back to the city fringe ASAP lol.

  2. Well you are minutes away from Epping and the best turkish bread baked twice daily plus incredible deli and fruit and veg at the shopping centre. And don’t forget Dumplings Plus. I tried to convince them they need to open up on the Gold Coast but seems they are deaf!

    1. Oh Gayle you cannot tease me like that. I am a Turkish bread lover from way back. I need exact location details, name of the bakery, their opening hours and who to ask for haha.

      My partner is also obsessed with Dumplings, so he’s going to lose his mind. I am going to Google their address now and go there this week.

      You’re a legend 🙂

  3. Oh lovey! Try moving to bloody Tarneit! Waaaah! I felt spoilt in Altona. Now I tell people I live near Geelong. And not in the cute coastal/ crazy mayor/ Great Ocean Road sense.
    P.S. I love your doormat.
    P.P.S. and that coffee tea towel.

    1. Oh Louise, I don’t even know where those suburbs are haha. I’m assuming they are not near the CBD. Well, I know Geelong. I drove out there once to film some videos for Metricon on it felt like I was driving to the Northern Territory lol.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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