Do you lead a busy life? Would you like to be more self reliant, but don’t think you can fit it in your already busy schedule? Well, good news. This post is for you, my friend! I have put together my best time saving hacks for the homestead.
Believe me, I understand how crazy life can get at times. I am a wife, mother to 2 grown kids, and grandmother to 4 grandkids. I work pretty much full-time with The Hubs in his new construction company. I have this blog. And we have our little homestead. So I get it!
Time Saving Hacks for Busy Homesteaders
Hack #1: Keep your feed storage containers near the animals.
We used to keep all of our feed in the feed room of the barn. But with our animals spread out throughout the farm, it added up to a lot of walking back and forth! We decided instead to get 35 gallon plastic containers to store our animal feed in. We then placed each kind of food, near the animals that it feeds. That small step actually cut out a bit of the time it takes to feed the animals!
Hack #2: Put animal waterers near your existing water faucets.
On the same token, situating the animal pens around the water faucets is another time saver. If your animal waterers are fairly close to your water faucet, you will spend less time moving and hauling hoses. And if you can have a hose that stays by each waterer, even better!
Hack #3: Consider getting self-fill waterers for your animals.
I haven’t gotten these yet, but it would surely save me some time! Self-fill waterers save you the time it takes to fill up your animals’ waterers every day. This in itself would save me 10 minutes every day, plus make it easier to plan for a short vacation from the homestead.
Hack #4: Plan out your meals for the month.
I have really struggled with this one, but I know that it’s one of the best time saving hacks! If you have your meals planned out for the month (or even for 2 weeks), you can save unnecessary trips to the grocery store. When time is at a premium, why waste time going to the store more than what is needed?
This time saving hack also saves money. I have heard of people saving hundreds of dollars on their food bill, just by meal planning. Saving time and money? Count me in!
Hack #5: Try freezer cooking, batch cooking, or two-in-one meals.
Who has time to cook from scratch every.single.night? Not me, that’s for sure! I don’t enjoy cooking, and having to deal with it every night drains me. If this is you too, why not try batch cooking?
You can spend one afternoon making lots of freezer meals to make later. One lady even makes a whole month of dinners in 4 hours! With this method, you’ll have a lot of meals in the freezer to pull out and bake or crock pot. It’s especially helpful if you work during the day. You can put your meal in the crock pot in the morning before work, and when you get home it’s done!
Two-in-one meals involves cooking a double batch of whatever you’re having for dinner that night. It could be lasagna, soup, or various pasta dishes. That way, you’re using the same amount of time to make two dinners instead of one. This is an excellent time saving hack for busy families.
Hack #6: If you need to, reduce your animal numbers.
Sometimes homesteaders have a tendency to take on too much. Shiny object syndrome, squirrel syndrome, or whatever you may call it, can take over your life. Before you know it, you have more things going on than you can handle.
I’ve done this personally a few times. Like when I found chicks for $.25 each! Or when The Hubs had the bright idea to put in a HUGE garden, when the last one didn’t get weeded often enough.
Start small, plan out your goals for the year, and make sure you don’t go overboard. If you find you are in over your head, don’t feel shame in reducing some of your numbers. You might even be able to make a bit of a profit!
Hack #7: Let your animals mow your yard.
Okay, I gotta chuckle at this one. But if you have cows, sheep, or goats, you can “hire” them to mow your yard. If worked properly, it will cut down on the time you have to spend mowing the yard, and help your soil as well!
Our sheep mowed down their pasture a little too much this summer, so we put them in our fenced front yard for a couple of weeks. They kept it nice and short, and we didn’t have to mow it for over a month. That in itself saved us a half hour each week, for a total savings of 2 hours that month!
It might not save you A LOT of time, and you might get funny looks from your neighbors, but it is a good time saving hack. It might also save you money on buying feed!
Hack #8: Look into deep mulch, no-till, or lasagna gardening.
Weeding is always such a time sucker on the homestead! You have to keep the weeds down in order to grow a productive garden, but who has time to spend hours every week weeding?
There are a few methods of gardening that save lots of time in the weeding department. Ruth Stout Gardening uses hay, at nearly a foot deep. Lasagna Gardening involves layers upon layers of compostable material, stacked up throughout the year. Back To Eden Gardening uses copious amounts of wood chips.
There are so many options of materials to mulch your garden with. There is inorganic mulch, such as plastic sheeting or rubber mulch. And there is organic mulch, like wood chips, leaves, hay, straw, and grass clippings. This should not be confused with the USDA labeling of organic. Organic, in this sense, is simply something that is derived from living matter.
Organic mulches are best in my opinion. If you’re going to go through the time and expense of adding material to your garden, why not use something that will make your soil better?
The Hubs hasn’t let me do deep mulch in our main garden yet. He swears by the traditional tilling and weeding method of gardening. I guess it’s because he’s not out on his hands and knees every week weeding!
Mulching the garden is one of the best time saving hacks. If you invest a little time up-front, you will spend so much less time weeding the garden.
Hack #9: Install drip irrigation in the garden.
If you normally spend a lot of time watering the garden, you should consider installing drip irrigation. It saves you lots of time versus heading out to the garden twice a week to move sprinklers. If I actually had an average sized garden, I would do this in a heartbeat!
Hack #10: Have lots of kids to do the work for you.
Just kidding on this one. Kinda. But seriously, having more hands to help lightens the load. In fact, back in the “old days” it was very common for families to have lots of kids. This was for practical reasons, to have more help on the farm.
I still “use” my kids around the homestead. I mean, it’s only fair after I raised and cared for them all those years, am-I-right?? My daughter, her husband, and their two kids live with me and The Hubs on the farm. So, we split chores, and if something needs done while I’m at work, she does it.
Enlisting help is a great time saving hack, although it’s not entirely possible for some. If you don’t have anyone to help you, you may want to consider hiring local teens to help you with some of the bigger chores. It will cost you some money, of course, but it’s definitely a time saver.
Homesteading is rewarding, but can be overwhelming.
In short, do what you enjoy. If homesteading is something you want to do, do it! Just take it slow and don’t overwhelm yourself. Add one thing at a time. If you feel you’re doing too much, cut it back. Nothing is set in stone, you have the ability to change it.
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.