One of my dreams is to live on a farm, grow all kinds of things, and raise some animals. Specifically, chickens! Cute little chickens running around? Fresh eggs every morning? Yes, please!
A few months ago my husband and I decided to sell our house and move into an apartment. Just until we decide where we want to live and what type of home will best suit our family. Plus the market was just begging us to capitalize on selling our home (read more about that here). Moving into an apartment kind of goes against the ideology of homesteading.
I grew up reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Anyone else? I cannot wait to introduce these books to my daughter. I think this book series is partially to blame for my desire to live a homesteading lifestyle. Maybe not bouncing through fields on a wooden-wheel wagon, or putting your clothes out to “dry” (AKA freeze) on a clothesline in January in the Midwest, or the lack of modern medicine…
What DOES sound ideal is the more simple way of living. No one was caught up in the 9-5 grind (that we all know is way more than just 9-5), traffic, being annoyed at an obnoxious family member on social media, or losing a phone charger…
Here are some tips to be more self-sufficient, even if you don’t have the luxury of wide open spaces…
5 Homesteading Tips (Regardless of the Type of ‘Home’ You Have)
Have a small/medium/extra small herb garden in your kitchen
Start a small container garden in your kitchen (or somewhere else in your home). Just grow a couple types of herbs, no need to over-do it right out of the gate. Make a list of 2 or 3 types of herbs you use regularly. Do some research to be sure they will all grow together well in the same container. (Some plants can live side by side with no problems, some will enhance the growing abilities of the other, and some will straight up kill each other – do your research before investing.)
If you don’t have a sunny location to keep them (like me), try an LED Grow Light on your kitchen counter. This is the one I have and I really like it. I’m sure the neighbors are suspicious.
grow some vegetable- or fruit-bearing trees
You would probably be surprised to know how many veggie and fruit-bearing trees come in a dwarf/container sized variety that you can grow in your home. (Even when the climate wouldn’t normally support that type of tree.) I’m currently growing a Meyer Lemon tree in mid-Michigan. I’ve had two harvests so far and have had the tree almost two years. I hear that as the trees mature they bear more fruit, up to twice a year!
Not only will you be producing your own food, some of these items can be quite a luxury (i.e. you won’t have to justify purchasing them at the grocery store).
3. Embrace the essential oil movement
I’m really getting into the essential oil obsession right now. I am the first person to say that I am grateful for modern medicine (I had open heart surgery when I was 7). But I do think there are a lot of times I reach for a “cure” for an ailment that isn’t necessarily the best choice.
I’m not necessarily talking about being ill and avoiding professional medical care. But I AM talking about diffusing some grapefruit and orange essential oils around 2pm when you just really want to take a post-lunch nap (that can’t just be me). Legit. Try it. Work your way into it, you’ll be surprised how much you like it.
4. Make your own cleaning products
I have gotten into making quite a few of my own cleaning products. One of my favorites is my Laundry Detergent that works better than any other detergent I’ve ever used (and I have a messy toddler and a husband). Plus, it lasts SO LONG!!! You can get the recipe I use here.
Another thing I live by is the use of vinegar. Just the regular ol’ white distilled vinegar. (I take shots of apple cider vinegar, too.) I use distilled vinegar most often to clean my produce. Either put it in a spray bottle and spritz away (then rinse), or, what I usually do, put your produce in a big bowl with water and some distilled vinegar. (I tend to eyeball about a quarter of a cup when I use it.) You’ll be surprised how much longer your produce lasts, especially berries and grapes.
5. Rethink your self-care products
I try to find multiple uses for lots of things I buy. For example, did you know that olive oil is an excellent makeup remover?!? Also, coconut oil does just about everything, moisturizer, shaving cream, oil pulling, oh, and actually using it to cook with. And also baking soda will do just about anything, really worth a Google.