Many people dream of a self-sufficient lifestyle that is sustainable and kinder to the environment. This is why homesteading has gained popularity in recent years.
If you’ve decided you want to raise your own food and become more self-sufficient, you’ve taken the first step toward homesteading. Here is our guide to preparing yourself and your family for a more successful self-sufficient lifestyle.
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Think About Your Goals for Your Self-Sufficient Lifestyle
Homesteading was initially conceived by the U.S. government. Its purpose was to develop rural areas. They did this by giving away tracts of land to be improved agriculturally over a period of at least five years. Nowadays, however, homesteading refers to a more sustainable way of living.
Consider exactly what homesteading means to you and your family. Do you want to grow your own vegetables, raise livestock, make butter, bake bread, and minimize your energy consumption? What you do with your property will depend entirely on your goals for homesteading.
If you own your own home, you may consider installing solar panels to reduce your dependency on the energy grid. It will also decrease your environmental footprint.
Zero-waste living is another option for people who want to begin a more self-sustainable lifestyle. This is true, especially for those who don’t have the resources for a full-fledged homestead.
Assess Your Property
Beginning a self-sufficient lifestyle on your homestead doesn’t mean you need to buy 100 acres or go completely off the grid. You can start homesteading and living self-sufficiently right now with the space you have. The first step to establishing a homestead is to assess your property.
What are your space limitations? If you only have a little space, try vertical gardening. Use your horizontal space for raising small animals like chickens and rabbits.
What are the legal restrictions on your property? Many cities do not allow people to keep livestock on residential property. Consult your local laws to ensure your homesteading plans are legal.
If you are considering moving to a rural area to begin your homestead, ensure your property has good access to a reliable water source. Also check for ample space for crops, livestock, and a waste management system. You will also need to consider what type of energy source suits your land and needs.
A successful homestead doesn’t happen overnight. Homesteading is an ongoing process that can feel overwhelming to beginners. Transition slowly by starting small. Set up a miniature garden with two or three types of produce to develop your green thumb. Consider learning some natural remedies to cure common ailments. If you are interested in raising livestock or poultry, chickens are the ideal animal to start with. This is because they are relatively low maintenance. They also need less space than other animals.
If you are still unsure about the homesteader’s self-sufficient lifestyle, make simple changes to reduce your environmental footprint. Walk more and drive less. Collect and use rainwater in the garden. Dry your clothes on a clothesline. Invest in solar panels for electricity. These small changes can make the adjustment to homesteading life go more smoothly.
Get the Right Tools
When it comes to homesteading having the right tools for the job will make the experience easier. It will also help you get the most out of your land.
In addition to assembling your essential equipment for homesteading, purchasing some general multipurpose items can make a significant difference to the success of your homestead. Having an emergency kit means you will always be prepared for any sticky situation that comes your way — and there will be a few. Tactical knives are also handy for butchering your own meat and field dressing when hunting.
Another item every homesteader should have is a rope. Though it may sound simple, a sturdy rope can mend fences, truss vegetables, and secure loads.
But don’t think that you need to invest a fortune in homesteading equipment. There are plenty of second-hand items available at auction. You can also hire larger machinery. And if you connect with the homesteading community, borrowing equipment can be a great way to stay within your budget.
Learn New Skills
Homesteading presents a steep learning curve. While you may be starting small, there will inevitably come a time when you need to expand your skill set to get more out of your homesteading experience.
You should acquire a few essential homesteading skills before beginning your homesteading journey. Learning to cook from scratch can help you get the most out of your garden. Meanwhile, learning to dehydrate and can foods can help you cope with overproduction. It can also allow you to trade some of your goods for items you can’t produce yourself.
One of the challenges many homesteaders face is a lack of variety in their diet. For some, raising livestock is not an option, at least in the beginning. Learning to hunt can be a great way to supplement the protein in your diet. And it will teach you additional skills like survival training and how to butcher game.
Join the Community
Homesteading is a connected, community-based lifestyle. There is a huge number of like-minded individuals who can help you get started. Reaching out to the homesteading community can help you make lasting friends. It will also present plenty of opportunities for your homestead operation. It will also help you achieve a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
One of the biggest benefits of being part of the community is the opportunity to trade. Trading produce and livestock with other homesteaders is a great way to add diversity to your homestead. If you have an abundance of eggs but haven’t mastered the art of cheese making, trading can be a way to add variety to your diet without spending a dime.
Another benefit is the vast amount of knowledge others can offer you. Other homesteaders can give you advice on ideal planting and harvesting times or put you in touch with vets for your animals. They can also let you know when and where the best farmer’s markets are located.
Embrace the Self-Sufficient Lifestyle
Deciding to start homesteading is incredibly gratifying. It can be a wonderful step toward developing a greater connection to your community and the land.
It can be challenging to know where to begin your homesteading journey. The key is to take it slow and make small changes to your lifestyle today. Are you ready to achieve a self-sufficient lifestyle?