For most people, the word homesteading conjures up visions of acres and acres of farmland, a beautiful farmhouse, and mason jars cooling on the kitchen counter. Some homesteaders even live completely off the grid without access to any modern utilities and with no employment. These kinds of homesteaders sell handmade goods and foodstuffs to sustain themselves. In reality, homesteading can be far different than that and can look more like an 800 square foot apartment in the city.
A homesteader to me is anyone who is trying to live a little more simply and self-sufficiently – two ways of life that are near and dear to my heart! The homesteading movement has really taken off in recent years with families striving to live with less and to be more content with what they have.
If you want to grow a small vegetable garden in buckets and planters on your front porch, I would consider you a homesteader. If you prefer to make your own soaps and candles and do most of your cooking from scratch, I would consider you to be a homesteader.
For my own family, homesteading is growing our own vegetables, stockpiling, and living a more natural life on a budget. We also are striving to be happy with far less and are making a conscious effort to own less things and make room for more memories.
Do you have what it takes to be a homesteader?
Well that all depends. Do you have a lot of acreage to house lots of livestock and poultry? No? Good. You don’t need it.
Do you have a huge backyard for a large vegetable garden? No? Don’t worry, you don’t need that either!
Do you have the drive and determination to make choices that guide your family on a path to more self-sufficient living? If you answered “yes”, then you’ve got all you need.
The truth is, you can truly homestead wherever you are. Whether that’s on a huge farm in a rural area, in a subdivision in the suburbs of a large city, or in a downtown studio apartment. There are ways anyone can homestead.
Check out my list of feasible first year homesteading goals to get started!
How we do it:
To our family, homesteading is making the most of our 2-acre property and 1000 square foot home.
This year is our first year on our property and instead of putting in the time and effort to get our soil ready for planting, we decided to stick with raised beds. This may change next year, but for now with one energetic toddler and another baby set to make his or her debut any day, this is what works for us.
We stockpile food and household supplies when we’re able to find them on a good deal. Stockpiling is a big part of homesteading, especially if you live far away from town like we do. We don’t have much space in our small house to stockpile lots of items, so we limit our stockpile to things we know we use regularly.
By having lots of our favorite foods on hand, we are able to drastically cut down on the quick trips to the store to pick up miscellaneous necessities. This also has really cut down on our spending because we aren’t physically at the store as much as we used to be, so any spontaneous purchases have been completely eliminated from our budget. Win-win!
We’re also currently making a big push in our home to eat more naturally and use more natural products instead of chemicals.
For example, we purged a lot of our cleaning products and I now clean almost our whole house with just combinations of water, vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap.
We already don’t eat meat in our house, but we were very guilty of buying packaged, processed foods out of convenience instead of making our own. Since our son stopped breastfeeding while I was pregnant with baby number 2, he has been eating tons of solid foods which made us face our unhealthy lifestyle.
Now, we are striving to eat healthier and more organically and buy tons of sugar-free frozen fruit for quick and convenient smoothies in place of the frozen or boxed meals that used to fill our cupboards.
Another aspect of homesteading to us is simplifying our lives down to only what we really need. This resulted in an 8-month purge of all of our belongings. Even if you have more than enough space to store all of your “stuff” and then some, I highly recommend cutting down on the things you own so you can really focus on what’s more important. Here is a great list of tips to help you do just that!
We’ve also set some small goals to help us use less disposable products and create less waste. For example, we go through a TON of paper towels, but have decided to start using rags whenever possible to see how much we can cut down on this avoidable expense. The opportunities to homestead in tiny ways are endless, and they all add up to a big difference in your home – and usually a big savings!
At the end of the day, homesteading is what you make it. If you’re interested in living more naturally, consider growing some of your own vegetables or just frequenting your local farmers market to buy local produce on a regular basis.
The best way to start homesteading and living a simpler, self-sufficient lifestyle is to just start replacing things in your life one at a time with a more natural alternative. Do you buy lots of lettuce every week for salads? Try your hand at growing your own. When you’ve used up the last of your Windex, pick up some vinegar and a spray bottle and make your own window cleaner instead. Pick up a bread maker at your local thrift store (I’ve seen them in lots of thrift stores for just $10 – DO NOT buy a new one!) and learn to make your own bread.
Do you think you have what it takes to start homesteading? How do you homestead where you are? What tips do you have for those without much space who are drawn to the homesteading lifestyle? Let me know in the comments!
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