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How to start homesteading today (with little space)

Do you live in a big city but still have an interest in homesteading? You don’t have to have 10 acres of land to start homesteading, homemaking and working towards a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. Here are 10 ways to start homesteading today, wherever you are and with however much land you have (or don’t have).

10 ways to start homesteading today

10 ways you can start homesteading today whether you have access to land or live in an apartment.

Homesteading is about self-sufficiency, simplicity, and taking small steps towards the highest level of achievement in your reach. That ‘reach’ looks different for all of us.

For some, it’s growing a small herb garden in their single window. For others, it means cows, acres of orchards and flocks of chickens. The one thing we all have in common is that we can start anytime, anywhere.

1. Declutter your space. Purge!

The first of 10 ways you can start homesteading today is to declutter and purge your space. This is thankfully something I didn’t have to learn. Shortly after my ex-husband and I met we decided to hit the road to play music. For almost 3 years our belongings fit completely in our 2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring. 

I’ll admit it was hard at age 21 to give everything away but it was one of the best lessons I’ve learned. Now every new year I have a nice big “House Purge”! Clothes, sports equipment, cake pans, candles, toiletries, etc. If I haven’t seen it recently, it’s usually moved to the purge pile and then donated.

If you live in a small space, this is a great activity to practice because it makes more room for you to grow plants and work towards self-sustainability! Decluttering your space helps in decluttering your mind, which is part of slowing down.

2. Cook from scratch

Cooking and baking from scratch is my favorite homemaking activities. I come from a family of phenomenal bakers and cooks so the pressure was on!

Since I’ve started to homestead I’ve learned to make things like my favorite chocolate cake and the best dang cast-iron buttermilk biscuits you’ve ever had. Not only is cooking from scratch good for the soul but it can also save you a considerable amount of money.

Furthermore, baking and cooking from scratch at home means you aren’t eating at restaurants or spending money on preprepared food.

3. Start a garden

You might not be able to plant a full-sized vegetable garden right now but what about a small herb garden? Starting a small garden is a great way to start homesteading and, depending on the crop, it doesn’t take too much space.

I had a roommate once that had a nice, compact herb garden in our kitchen equipped with a grow light and little pod system; it was kind of like this one. It was so fun to have fresh herbs for our homecooked meals and such an easy thing to do. You can get a pre-made setup like this one or opt for a more simple sprouting setup like this one.

4. Learn to sew

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is buying a sewing machine. I have a really simple machine that’s great for beginners and can take a beating! In one year I’ve learned to sew makeup bags, crossbody purses, diaper bags, and (my most recent achievement) pleated skirts!

It’s a lot of fun to give homemade Christmas gifts to people every year. This, too, can save you a considerable amount of money. Although sewing seems like a large time commitment, it doesn’t have to be.

BONUS TIP!: One of my best friends helped me out when I first started sewing and she sells her upcycled, made from love items on her Etsy store OneThingToAnother. 

She’s currently taking a short break but when she’s back up and running I highly suggest purchasing one of her lavender-mint aromatherapy eye pillows. I also have one of her essential oil carriers – they clip right onto your purse and the bottles fit perfectly, equipped with a nice zipper.

5. Go green

Another great way to start homesteading and save money is to make your own cleaning supplies. You don’t need chemicals or premixed sprays to make your home squeaky clean. When I clean my house it’s done with baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.

I’ve been making my own laundry detergent now for two years using this recipe. You can also make your own hand soap and hair supplies! Pinterest is a homesteading gold mine.

6. Do it yourself, as often as possible

Sewing, making your own cleaning supplies, baking and cooking from scratch all fall under this category. The DIY projects are where it’s at and the best ways to start homesteading. All the cool kids are doing it.

You’ve likely seen tutorials on making coffee tables out of pallets, concocting your own homemade bug spray, the list goes on and on.

The best part? Becoming a DIY-er doesn’t require acreage and it’s a critical part starting a homestead. I’d say 50% of my life now consists of DIY projects. Also…it can save you money! I’ve saved hundreds of dollars fixing my own small leaks in pipes, changing my own well switch when it came out and fixing my dryer (all of which I learned to do on Youtube).

You can check out some really great DIY ideas on my Pinterest board.

7. Barter

My mother is the bartering queen, y’all. I have memories of being a young girl and my mother bartering massages for things like deer meat and lawn service. The older I’ve grown the more I’ve realized how homesteading driven she is. She honed in on her skills and used them to her advantage.

To this day she barters with the local fish market, local grocery stores, and she’s even bartered massages for a few friends of hers to put in some beautiful raised garden beds.

Bartering can be intimidating and uncomfortable because you have to ask for something. Keep in mind, though, that it should always be a fair trade. You’re asking but should also be giving.

8. Preserve your food

By learning to dehydrate, can, and freeze foods from the comfort of your own home you’re on your way to start homesteading with or without land.

If you live in a city and buy in bulk, you’re a prime candidate for food preservation. Keep an eye out for large sales and clearance items. Stores will often start marking down produce and meat the closer to their “Best by” date approaches. Buy a bushel of apples to make apple sauce or beef tips to prepare beef stew and can it for the winter.

For some really great preservation recipes and information, Pinterest is always my go-to. You can also buy some really wonderful books to help you navigate these waters.

9. Start composting

Some forms of composing can be a little difficult because it can require space. For those who don’t have space, you can vermicompost! Vermicompost is composting with worms and it’s super cool. You can find all kinds of DIY setups that fit in small spaces like under your sink or buy a premade bin.

Composting is a great way to reduce kitchen waste and upcycle vegetable/fruit scraps. You’ll get some great soil and compost “tea” to feed to your beautiful container vegetables and herbs you grow!

Another method to look into is Black Soldier Fly Larvae composting, which is a method of composting where you can add even meat and fish bits to the mix. If done right, you never have to worry about smells. This is preferably an outdoor endeavor, but with a small deck or porch it can be an

10. Upcycle

Thrift, thrift, thrift. Reuse, reuse, reuse! All of your old, stained shirts can turn into rags for cleaning since you read my post about “5 Super Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Home” and don’t use paper products anymore. *wink*

You can reuse empty yogurt containers or plastic spinach bins from the store to start seeds since you’re planting herbs and vegetables now. Use your empty salsa jars to gift your homemade laundry detergent to friends and family alike for Christmas time!

If you’re trying to downsize your wardrobe, check out Poshmark for reselling your clothes, shoes and handbags. Use the code chdk93 and we’ll both earn $10! You can also check out my Digital Holiday and Celebration Organizer with more tips on saving money while shopping online.

Summary for homesteading today

With these ten ideas, you’re halfway to homesteading in no time! Simplify your life, reduce your money spent, and take a couple of steps towards the goal you thought was out of reach. Good luck and happy homesteading!

start homesteading today

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  1. Lauren Paolini says:

    You just motivated me to check out beginner’s sewing machines on Amazon! That and knitting are two skills I really want to learn! The laundry soap recipe you use is the same recipe/site I’ve been using for the past year, and I love it! I just got some lavender essential oil to add to my next batch.

    1. Oh, yay! I’ve loved sewing, I haven’t been doing it as much. Maybe I’ll sit down and sew a little this week. And YES YES YES I LOVE that laundry soap. I’m adding oil to my next one, too…which reminds me that I’m almost out. LOL

  2. Another great article! The section about canning reminds me of something Barbara Kingsolver wrote in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. She encourages people who shop at Farmers’ Markets to buy a bushel of something and can it. The shoppers get to eat wonderful food beyond the season, and the farmers are better supported.

    1. thegreenacrehomestead says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I’ll have to look u Barbara Kingsolver – she sounds like a smart lady. I look forward to learning to can and preserve foods. Today I’ll be blanching green beans for the first time ever!