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Right now, this world is in some very turbulent times. More and more people are turning toward wanting to live more self sufficiently. And this, for most people, means homesteading. But what if you don’t have a lot of land? That’s not necessarily a deal breaker. You can start homesteading, no matter where you live.
Sure, it’s much easier to start homesteading if you have at least a couple acres, but it’s not impossible. Homesteading is about honing skills so you can be more self reliant. Self reliance is “reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities” according to Merriam-Webster.
Let’s start with what anyone can do to start homesteading.
Simplify your life
Everyone can take steps to simplify their lives. This is a great way to move slowly into the wonderful world of homesteading. Do what you can to cut down on expenses now. That way, you will be able to have more money saved for if and when you decide to move to that acreage.
Learn to enjoy the simple things in life. The hustle and bustle of the modern world is not good for the soul. Find ways of eliminating the “extra” stuff in your life that doesn’t matter, and focus on what does. If you want more tips, read my post on living a simple life.
Learn to preserve foods
You can learn to preserve a wide variety of foods. And it doesn’t have to be foods that you grow yourself! If you find a good deal on some great produce, can it up. Maybe someone gives you a handful of herbs? Learn to dry and store them for future use.
If you live in an agricultural area, try to find some opportunities to glean. Gleaning is a collective effort to help gather the “leftovers” from the harvest. I’m actually part of a Facebook gleaning group in my county. Here in Idaho, several farmers allow big parties to come help glean their potato fields. This gives locals the opportunity to harvest some of the smaller potatoes that don’t get harvested by their machinery. Free food for the locals, free cleanup for the farmers!
Build a stockpile of food
Homesteaders seem to always be prepared. You can start homesteading by building up a stockpile of food to help you get through the lean times. Store what you eat, and eat what you store. Keep your food stock rotated to ensure it’s fresh.
Don’t be tempted to run out and buy a huge supply of food at once. Your food storage should be built upon gradually. Take advantage of sales, store food from your garden, to get a good, inexpensive base for your food storage.
Learn to forage
Another tool in the homesteader’s toolbox is foraging. Whether it’s foraging for DIY herbal remedies, or foraging for “free” food, a clever homesteader learns to use what nature has to offer them. Even weeds can be useful to the thrifty homesteader.
I love foraging for both food and medicine. You can check out my beginner’s guide to foraging for more information on what nature has to offer us.
Reduce energy usage
Reducing our energy usage is helpful both for our pocketbook and the environment. Energy savings help homesteaders save money and reduce their dependence on the power grid.
Turn off unnecessary lights, hang clothes on a clothesline to dry, or consider heating with a wood stove. You can even take it further by installing solar panels or wind turbines. You don’t have to be off-grid, but every bit of energy savings can add up to a big savings.
Set up a water catchment system
Harvesting rain water may not be feasible for everyone, as some states have restrictions on water catchment. But if it’s allowed, you should consider setting up a water catchment system. It helps you use rain more efficiently by directing it to where you need it most.
Whether you use the rain water for watering your garden, watering your animals, or using it for water storage, rain water catchment can help you cut costs on water. Why not take full advantage of nature’s gift of free water?
Steps to start homesteading
1. Make sure this is really what you want.
A lot of people think that they want to start homesteading, without thinking about the work involved. Homesteading is a serious time commitment, especially when you add gardens and animals. Don’t fall for the glamorized picture of homesteading!
2. Prioritize and set goals.
Sit down as a family and find out what is really important to you. Decide what you want to accomplish by running a homestead. Do you want to raise all your own vegetables? Or do you want to raise a years supply of meat?
If this is too ambitious or unfeasible on your size of property, maybe just plan on raising a small amount of your own food. This is fine too! The important thing here is to set realistic expectations and set goals that will help you accomplish them. I have a Homestead Goal Planner in my Subscribers Only Resource Page. Just sign up with the link below to get a password to access all of my freebies!
3. Cut expenses and make a budget.
In order to make your homestead dreams a reality, you may need to cut expenses. Setting a budget is helpful so you know how much money you can put into this lifestyle. If you decide you need to move to make your dreams come true, you’ll need some money set aside.
4. Baby steps.
Don’t take on too much at once, and try not to set unrealistic expectations. Realize that you may be limited by the amount of space you have. The important thing is to do what you can, with what you have. Start with one project, then move onto the next. Jumping into too much at a time will leave you frustrated and ready to give up.
5. Find like-minded people.
When you start homesteading, it’s a good idea to find like-minded people to learn from. Not many people understand this homestead life, and you may start to feel alienated from your “city friends”. Plus, if you have homesteading friends, you might have someone to help farmsit while you go on vacation.
6. Start a garden.
Gardening is very important to homesteaders. What better way to use the land that you have, to grow food for your family? Gardening can be very inexpensive, and can get you some organic vegetables and fruits. And if you learn to can and preserve those foods, it will help lower the cost of building your food stockpile.
Even if it’s just in pots, I encourage everyone to try to grow at least some of their own food. Like the Victory Garden movement during both World Wars, I think there is a definite need for each of us to share some responsibility for our food needs.
7. Raise animals.
If at all possible, raise some animals for eggs, meat, milk, or income. Of course, this won’t work for some on small properties. But try to get creative and find out what might work where you are at.
Chickens should be a first choice for those with enough room to raise them. They are easy to care for, and provide an ongoing supply of eggs. If you need pointers, I have an e-book with all the information you need to start raising chickens.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, or quail can be raised in very small spaces, and can provide you with meat for your family. Start with a breeding trio, and you can harvest their offspring within a fairly short amount of time.
8. Learn to can and preserve.
If you are growing a garden, you will likely want to learn to can and preserve your harvest. This will allow you to not waste those vegetables and fruits you put so much work into growing. And it will help you build up your food stockpile.
You can water bath can anything that has a higher acidity level, but you’ll need to pressure can lower-acid foods. Consider investing in a canning course so you know you’re doing it safely.
9. Learn to repair, mend, sew, and build.
Many homesteaders go along with the old adage, “Use it Up, Wear it Out Make it Do or Do Without”. This mindset helps save lots of money. Learning to sew, repair, mend, and build helps develop useful skills and can help keep your budget under control.
10. Continuously hone new skills.
Homesteading is a lifestyle in which you are constantly learning. Every new venture you take on is a learning experience. And most of this knowledge is easily transferable. You may even be able to seek a new career using some of the skills you have learned by starting to homestead. Or you can make an income on your homestead.
My Subscribers Only Resource Page also has a download with 70 homesteading skills that you’ll want to master if you want to homestead. Subscribe below to get your copy!
Have you decided that you truly want to start homesteading? I hope I have given you some helpful tips to get into this way of life. It is truly rewarding, both financially and for peace of mind. I started on this journey 3 years ago, and I don’t know if I could ever leave this behind.
This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.