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Did you know you could homestead anywhere? Yes. Right where you are. In the city. In an apartment. ANYWHERE.
From the outside, homesteading can be a little intimidating. You have to have land, animals, grow your own food, read by candle light with no cable or technology, right?
“Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. “
How beautiful is that? No where in this does it say that you have to live on 100 acres of land with cows, pigs and chickens.
It is what you make it
Homesteading is not limiting. You can still work a job and even shop at Walmart *GASP*
Contrary to popular belief, you can live a normal-ish life and homestead. This is something I have been calling half homesteading because I wasn’t sure that it really fit into the homestead definition. The longer I do this, I find that this isn’t true either. Homesteading is a loose term we use to sort of define what it is we do, because what we do doesn’t really fit in anywhere else.
I was worried at first that I wouldn’t be accepted into this “community” because of this.
Come to find out, none of that matters. While I wanted this label so that I could find people like me, and people to look up to, there is really no need to let the label define me!
So yes, I do categorize myself as a homesteader. No, I do not grow everything I eat, and I do still work a full time job and shop at Walmart. Homesteading is more than all of that, and we will get to that later.
The Homesteading Community
Did you know that there is a community of homesteaders? People who love the land, rather they have any or not. These folks are living a little more sustainably. Living and loving with less. Country people and city people. Farmers, gardeners, and window seal growers. People that want to get back to their roots, sort to speak. And will stop and nothing to get there.
I was sort of intimidated by this community at first. They all seem to have it together. Growing their own food. Butchering their own animals. Homeschooling their kids. I didn’t fit in.
Or, did I?
The answer to that is, well, I did fit in. Still do. And here is why:
Homesteading is a journey.
You don’t just wake up one morning and sell all of your junk, grow all of your food and buy a cow. And much like every other aspect of life, everyone’s journey is different. And not every path leads to the same place.
So, if you are a person who is curious about homesteading. Follow me on Instagram, and go look at the people I follow. Join our community. It is not limiting. You don’t have to have it all together. (that is why I -AM- FlusterCluckMama). We are a very welcoming community, and these people are inspirational!
Now, lets get to it. How do you Homestead where you are?
So. You want to homestead right? Homesteading can be done anywhere. And no, you do not have to house a cow in your apartment. Here are some ways you can “homestead” right where you are.
Follow Your dreams
Maybe your dream is to have a small farm. Animals. Land. The whole shebang, but right now…you live in an apartment. Don’t fret! First off, you can homestead anywhere. Yes, even in your apartment. Homestead, until you can afford to buy your dream homestead! Good news for you, homesteading can actually save you money. Plus, if you are looking for some ideas to bring in extra cash to help you save up, I have those too. Check out my Homestead Side Hustle post. This is how I make some extra cash to build on my homestead goals.
You have to start somewhere. If you don’t start planning and building for your dreams now, then when will you? Okay, so some people were given land, farms, tools. They have a step up. So what. I started with nothing. And man, when you start hitting your goals. Its epic! Hard work does pay off. Start your homesteading dream RIGHT NOW!
Cook From Scratch
Cooking real meals with real food. No, you don’t have to do this every day. Set yourself a goal. Mine is to cook completely from scratch 2 times a week. I am learning different recipes and I am figuring out how to incorporate them into our weekly meal rotation.
Breads, sweets, soups. All of these can be made pretty simply. Yes, it does take a bit longer than making it out of a box, but it is worth it. And it feels so good feeding your family something that you completely made yourself.
If you are intrigued, and this is something you want to start as well, you should totally get Jill Wingers cookbook, The Prairie Homestead Cookbook. This is jam packed with easy from scratch recipes, and in the beginning of it, it also has a really nice tid bit about becoming a homesteader.
I get it. Not everyone can grow their own garden or own chickens. That shouldn’t stop you from eating fresh, local foods.
Start looking for farmers markets near you. Buy what you can from them. When it is out of season, there is no shame in buying from the produce section at your local store.
I have found that, in our area, Aldi and Kroger source their produce and meats locally. So when I can’t grow my own, or buy from our farmers market, I go there.
Another thing you can do to keep fresh food on hand is to freeze or can! There are so many different ways to store fresh foods. Check out my canning and food saving Pinterest board for ideas!
Oh wait what? You don’t have time to learn to knit, make your own soap, turn butter, and learn wood working?
Of COURSE you don’t have time to learn all of that. But, there are plenty of people that have learned different trades like that. These are the people you need to buy from when you need something.
Buying local is supporting other peoples dreams. It is helping them stay afloat and support their families.
Not only that. There is satisfaction in knowing that what you are buying is made with love and not being mass produced in a factory with underpaid workers. Although, those guys DO need paid too, which is why you shouldn’t feel bad when you have to go to Walmart to pick something up. People still have to work jobs like that and get paid.
Next time you need a gift, or something for yourself even, check local first. See if there isn’t someone nearby making exactly what you are looking for. If there isn’t, but you still want to buy something hand made, check out Etsy!
Learn How Food Grows
Just because you can’t grow it yourself, doesn’t mean you don’t need to know how it grows.
This isn’t just good info for you, this is something all kids should know as well. That way they don’t think everything just magically appears in the store.
Homesteading and gardening books are great sources for this. Your local library will have tons of books for you and your children to look through.
Want to get hands on? Call your local extension office and see if they have any classes or workshops you can sign up for. They love to help people learn about agriculture!
Join Community Gardens
You want to grow your own food, but you live in an apartment. Or maybe you just don’t have the time or tools you need to start one.
Check around to see if there are any community gardens you can help with. Food banks, Churches, Libraries. Allot of places will have one. And if they don’t maybe you can help get one started.
Community gardens are great places to learn and teach about gardening. Kids that don’t have access to one, or don’t have people to teach them can come and hang out and learn. This is how we develop the next generation of gardeners, homesteaders, or farmers.
Learn To Live With Less
Minimalist living and homesteading tend to go hand and hand.
You see allot of people that are homesteaders are also minimalists. These people try to do more with what they have. They don’t run out to the store for the latest technology or new toys.
Good old fashioned life. No clutter. No giant houses full of toys and other useless crap. They learn to fix what is broken and only buy things they absolutely need.
While this is an awesome lifestyle, and I really admire these people, this isn’t for everyone, and I get that. You do you. If this isn’t the path you want to head down, on to the next one!
Fix What Is Broken
We live in a very throw away society. Something breaks? We trash it. Furniture gets scratched, we put it on the curb.
Contrary to popular belief, things can still be fixed. Clothing can be minded. Furniture can be redone, or even re-purposed.
Next time something is broken, look into fixing it rather than just throwing it away.
I do understand that some things aren’t worth fixing. Things are made cheaper now, and they just don’t go back together.
That leads me to my next point…
It is super easy these days to just go to the store and pick up a new frying pan or a new garden tool.
You run out to walmart, and you find a tool that looks decent and you buy it. Done….well, the thing breaks a month later. Like shatters. No fixing that.
Start buying smarter. Buy tools, gadgets, pans, with a warranty. Or do your homework and read reviews before buying.
When it comes to kitchen or gardening tools, I buy my stuff from Lehmans. This place is the place for homesteaders. They only sell high quality products, that they fully back. These are the products you buy once and done.
From Empty containers, wine bottles, and newspaper, all the way down to scrap wood and even scrap food. Danged near everything can be re-used. Before throwing something away, take a second look at it. Get creative. Some of my favorite things to repurpose are containers. Lunch meat containers, baby food jars, empty candle jars, and dish washer tablet containers. There are so many uses for them aroudn the hoemstead!
I like to make indoor compost in the bigger containers, and store them under my sink until the compost is ready to use. The little jars are great to store things in, or even as decoration.
Re-purposing rewired my brain a bit. Now when I am buying something I am more conscious with it. If the container is nice, sturdy, and reusable I am now 10X more likely to purchase that product!
That is why I love to buy things used, if possible. I keep a list of things that I am looking for in my phone at all times. Things like small appliances, crocks, yard tools etc. When I have a few minutes here and there I check Facebook market place for some of the things I am looking for. Most of the time, I can find it brand new on there for a fraction of the price!
Goodwill and other thrift stores are wonderful places to keep your eye on as well. I have bought baskets, clothing, cast iron skillets and a whole lot more, for a whole lot less!
By buying used, you are not only saving money, but giving old things new life.
A big part of homesteading is being more conscious or your purchases. Use less. Waste less. Being sustainable.
Buy more things that can be used again and again and less -one time use- items. Find more products that can be reused or don’t come in all the fancy packaging.
Make yourself more aware of how much of what you buy goes to the trash, and if you REALLY need what you are purchasing.
Donate instead of trash
This one. Well, this one really gets me. If you have something that someone else needs, and you aren’t using it, then why wouldn’t you?
This is far beyond donating to your local thrift store. Give away things that you no longer use. I am talking about stuff that still has life in it. There are people all over the place in need and I can’t tell you how many times I have seen brand new things being just thrown in the trash because they weren’t being used, or because they were received as a gift and the person didn’t like them.
Contact your local churches, schools, orphanages, foster agencies.. See what they need, and then see what you have that you aren’t using anymore. Not only is it helping people that need it (which is an important part of homesteading in my book) but it feels great, and you are wasting less!
That’s not a problem! Do what you can with what you have. If you love animals and long to have them, but live in an apartment or rental, go visit them. Find local growers and get to know them. See if they need any help, or if you can simply just feed and pet them from time to time. what about growing? Well, you can grow herbs in windows. There is always bucket growing. There are tons of options. If you don’t have access to any outdoor space, try finding a community garden. If you can’t find one, look into starting one! When all else fails, buy local. Buy as much as you can from local growers or farmers markets.
Don’t Feel Bad
Don’t feel bad when you buy from stores. Or if you still get fast food from time to time. People still need jobs. People still need to get paid, and you are not going to hurt anything by stopping to get a coffee or a burger somewhere. Don’t guilt yourself. You don’t have to be completely primitive. Get that coffee, and then go home and homestead your heart out.
Stop Keeping Up With The Jonses
Homesteading is a way of life that is far different then what most people today are living. If you are going to homestead, then there is none of this “keeping up with the Jonses”. That has to stop.
I am not saying you have to stop buying from the store and eating out. Your kids can still have some name brand clothing and what not. But you have to understand that our way of life is different than most people’s. Our kitchens are used, and not pristine. Our homes are lived in . Family time is important. We spend allot of time at home tending gardens, fixing things that are broken, teaching our kids, and cooking homemade meals. Homesteader’s values and goals are a bit different. You may not fit in. But you have to learn to be okay with that.
I for one, do not fit in with the other parents. Our neighbors. Or even my family. And that is okay. But wait, isn’t it lonely? Actually, quite the opposite. People are amazed by what we are doing. They want to know more. They want to learn! Dare to be different! Embrace it!
Composting is something you can do rather you have a garden or not. Compost is gardening gold. Just because YOU can’t use it, doesn’t mean you can’t made it. Keep an old container under your kitchen sink, or you can get this cute little compost can (this is what I use) and start throwing your kitchen scraps in there. Once it is ready, bag it up and ask your neighbor or other gardener if they want it. I am sure you will find someone who will gladly accept it.
Here is a printable list of things that can be composted to get you started.
Grow with Limited Space
Just because you dont have land doesn’t mean you can’t grow! There are so many ways that you can still grow things:
- Grow in buckets
- window seals
- hanging baskets
- Indoor greenhouses
- grow lamps
The list goes on. Get creative, and get growing.
The homesteading community is very welcoming, and VERY helpful. These people are the doers. The helpers. Learn something new? Use that information to help others who may not know. Surplus of produce? Donate to your local food bank or pantry, give to neighbors, start a #foodisfree project. The options are endless. People helping people is what makes this community so awesome.
Teach Your Kids
You don’t have to live on a farm, or even garden to teach your children where food comes from. There are kids graduating that don’t know where milk actually comes from or that potatoes grow underground. Unfortunately, allot of schools don’t teach these things anymore. Ag classes and FFA programs are loosing funding and getting thrown out. It is up to us to teach our kids and give them a love for growing things. We are raising the next generation of ag professionals, gardeners, farmers. What happens when we run out of farmers? We run out of food.
Grow things indoors. Do experiments. Have them dissect a tomato and find its seeds and then plant the seeds. Take them to a community garden to help. Do a farm tour. Borrow library books about growing. Talk to them about where their food comes from. Just do something!
Just because you don’t have a garden, doesn’t mean you can’t save and store fresh food. One BIG thing that homesteaders do it preserve fresh foods. You can do this too!
Check out my Pineterest board on canning and food storing.
Read some posts on canning, and food storing to see what option works best for you. Then, hit up your local farmers markets, or grocery stores and buy fresh, in season produce and try your hand at it. No only is it WAY better then any canned or already frozen junk that you buy, you have just learned an awesome new skill!
Join The Homestead community
Want to be a homesteader? Follow a homesteader! Better yet, follow lots of homesteaders. These people are like family. They will give you all of the encouragement you need. I was worried I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t enough of a homesteader to join.
The Want To Homestead
Dream of being a homesteader? Then you already are one! Don’t just dream, make conscious choices to move towards your goal every day. That is it. The only thing you need to be a homesteader, is a love for it!