Why I Don’t Live The Stereotypical Simple Life

When I first got interested in slowing down I had an image in my mind of the stereotypical simple life. I thought that’s what I wanted too, but the more time I’ve spent thinking about it, the more I realised it might not be for me.

Why I Don't Live the Stereotypical Simple Life | I Spy Plum Pie

I have a feeling that when I say a stereotypical simple life you’re picturing lots of the same things I was. White walls, minimal stuff, home baked bread, lots of time for reading books and sewing my own clothes. These were all things that appealed to me (and they still do!) but I quickly learned that for me, that kind of simple, slow life wasn’t achievable.

I work full time in a job that is often busy and high pressure, but that I really enjoy. I also live in an apartment in an inner suburb of Melbourne, so space is a premium. It became pretty obvious that my kind of simple living was going to have to look a little different. So, I started to think about things that may otherwise be classified as ‘simple living staples’ that I could choose not to do. Here’s some of them:

  • Baking my own bread. I don’t eat that much bread, so when I do want some I go to the bakery
  • I grow herbs and some other vegetables, but I don’t grow them from seeds. Instead, I buy my seedlings from the nursery at Ceres instead
  • Fermented foods are something I love, but I don’t make my own. I just don’t have room in my kitchen to take up space with homemade kimchi, so I buy it instead.
  • When I have time I make my own bath scrubs and the like, but when I don’t, I buy them instead, just making sure I choose eco-friendly brands

These are just some examples of the things I thought I needed to do to live a properly slow, simple life, which it turns out I don’t. Thankfully there’s actually no such thing as one way to live simply – who knew! So instead, I’ve been exploring what works and what doesn’t work for me, whilst recognising that it will change from time to time as well.

In actual fact, what I needed to introduce into my life was more down time to make sure I still ate well, exercised enough and had time with friends (and to write this blog!). So, things that were time consuming but not absolutely necessary have to go for now.

It was refreshing to realise that I didn’t need to compare my kind of simple living to anyone else’s, and that there was no way I could do it wrong. Turns out for me things like meal prepping, regular decluttering and  having solid morning and evening routines are the keystones for me living more simply. Anything above that is really a bonus. It might not look as pretty on instagram, but that’s not really the point is it!

Are you interested in simple living? In what ways are you bucking the stereotypical simple life image?

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5 Comments on Why I Don’t Live The Stereotypical Simple Life

  1. Pearl Red Moon
    December 9, 2017 at 6:58 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Liz, my lifestyle is much closer to your “stereotypical” version, but I’m nearly 60 and its taken several lives lived within this one to get here! We (my husband and I) have made conscious choices to make our life “slow” and that the majority of things we buy are sustainable.

    • We live in a tiny rural town. Houses are substantially cheaper than cities so we could buy a quarter acre of land with a 100 year old timber cottage. We “renovated” the kitchen using all second hand cabinetry

    • We have made a productive fruit and vegetable garden and most other food is bought from a weekend Farmers Market at a larger nearby town. This also enables buying less packaging.

    • I don’t bake bread but do make yoghurt, some soft cheeses, preserves, jams and pickles.

    • No food scraps ever go into bin. I use Bokashi system in the kitchen and it is buried in the garden when required

    • Worm farm, fed from food scraps and the worm tea goes on garden

    • I work as a textile artist. I have an internet business (Etsy shop) selling my creations and line of womens PDF sewing patterns. I buy a small amount of new fabric but make a lot from “upcycled” second hand clothes and from unused fabric lengths donated to thrift shops. Another source of income is from teaching adult hobby classes and I love to encourage people in the joy of making your own clothes and slow stitchery.

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      December 9, 2017 at 12:05 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks so much for your comment! I think you’re so right – we can have different ‘ideal’ lifestyles for different phases of our lives, and that’s totally ok. Your life does sound pretty wonderful though!

  2. Hanna
    December 9, 2017 at 11:38 am (7 years ago)

    Yesssss I have been struggling with “expectations” of simple too. I work 4 days a week in an operating theatre, intense, high stress work that I LOVE. Plus 120 acres of small farm, a permaculture home food system, including animals that need care and a 4 year old son. Simple for me isn’t always making from scratch, it’s making when possible, buying when appropriate and having the wisdom to know when outsourcing is best.
    And reminding myself that those “expectations” aren’t even mine?!
    Great post 🙂

    • I Spy Plum Pie (admin)
      December 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm (7 years ago)

      So glad to hear this post hit home for you too! It’s always so useful to re-assess where our ‘expectations’ come from isn’t it!

  3. Jess64
    January 3, 2018 at 6:11 am (6 years ago)

    I think it will look different for everybody. Also I have taken your idea and I outsource things. 4 things that I do that don’t match the typical simple life.
    1) I buy yogurt and sauerkraut (but make my own kombuchu and kefir)
    2) I freeze seasonal fruit and vegetables, but don’t bother with traditional preserving methods.
    3) Buy bread
    4) Buy almost all my fruit and vegetables from the farmers market, I used to run a big garden, but currently it is all too much work and I would rather support local farmers.


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