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I’m a member of a number of homesteading and off-grid living Facebook groups and one simple question seems to pop up every couple of days: “How can I get started homesteading?” Often the question has a slight variation to it: “I’m a renter, how can I get started homesteading?” or “I don’t have time (or money), what can I do to homestead?”
So instead of writing a lengthy answer to each person individually, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to that question: what can YOU do to homestead exactly where you are?
What is Homesteading?
I’ve dedicated an entire post to exploring what homesteading means to me but in order to understand how you can begin homesteading whatever your situation is, we need to revisit the main points.
Merriam-webster’s dictionary definition of homesteading only adds to the image of a large tract of land, or an ancestral farm or cabin. Modern homesteading, however, is synonymous with self-sufficiency. Here’s my very unscientific definition of homesteading:
“striving for a self-sufficient lifestyle”
Or to take it a step farther:
“striving for a self-sufficient lifestyle by taking back control over the things we need in life.”
This means growing or harvesting our own food and preserving it so we can take back control of our nutrition from corporations. It means producing our own energy (or living without) by using a well or solar panels to take back control from the utility companies. It really means taking back control of our lives and how we decide to live them.
For me, homesteading equals freedom. I recently read Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money and she put my feelings very elegantly into words. Without directly quoting the book, she talks about how money is not good nor evil, but the intentions with which we use it are good or evil. Money is simply currency, or current-cy. It is a tool with which we direct our current (or our energy) to the things that are important to us.
I know several people who spend a lot of money on things that ultimately don’t line up with their own values. Take that a step further – how do you spend your time? Your energy? Your emotions? Are you spending on things that are important to you? Homesteading, for me, is spending my time, money and energy on things that are important to me — creating a happy, healthy home for my family.
That doesn’t mean I’ll have to wait until I have 200 acres, or a herd of goats or sheep before I can do that. I can (and have!) lived a self-sufficiency-focused, conscious lifestyle in an apartment. I’ve gathered a number of ways you can homestead, no matter where you are in your journey. Some of these overlap categories, but are worth repeating.
Cook from scratch – old-timey meals tend to be very frugal
Buy in bulk
Learn how to can
Use less electricity
Learn how to sew
Learn how to knit
Learn how to crochet
Learn basic car maintenance and repair
Make your own all natural house cleaners
> I list a couple recipes in my post on Unique Ways to Use Lavender
Grow medicinal herbs (in pots)
Learn how to make herbal teas
Learn how to make herbal salves
Learn herbal medicine (This is the program I’m using: Herbal Academy)
Check out my review of Herbal Academy’s Intro Course
Learn how to make medicinal tinctures
Meditate or take regular time out for yourself
Spend time in nature
Learn yoga (there are tons of videos on youtube)
Learn first aid and CPR
As mentioned above, cook from scratch
Learn food fermentation
Learn how to can
Learn how to dry or freeze food
Learn how to make butter and cheese
If you can – hunt or fish
Join a CSA
If you have a deep freezer, buy half a cow or half a pig
Learn how to brew your own beer/wine/whiskey
Learn how to tap trees for syrup
Learn how to forage for plants and mushrooms in your area
Compost or try vermiculture if you have the space
Line dry your clothes
Ditch the tv, or at least cable
Make your own candles
Install rain barrels
Get a small solar panel to charge your small electronics like phone or kindles.
There are also some basic ways to get started that encompass ALL of the categories above:
Read, read, read
Watch homesteading videos on youtube
Join homesteading Facebook groups to surround yourself with like-minded people
Get your friends and family involved – it’s always more fun with friends!
Sign up for newsletter for a few of your favorite homesteading blogs (like this one!). Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people and getting behind-the-scenes look into the lifestyle of other homesteaders will give you an endless source of ideas, recipes and information!
Now it’s your turn! Did I miss anything? What skills do you think are essential for homesteading? Where are you in your homesteading journey? In an apartment or do you have land? Comment below! I’d love to hear from you!