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6 Reasons to Downsize Your Homestead

I think it’s a common misconception that in order to homestead you must “have it all” – the goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits, etc. I thought if I didn’t have animals, gardens, things fermenting (or molding) in the kitchen then I just wasn’t doing it the right way. I’m downsizing my homestead and I’m not ashamed to tell you why.

downsize your homestead

6 reasons to downsize your homestead today.

Homestead burnout is real, and it can really wreak havoc. There’s no shame in needing a break or wanting to decrease the size of a flock or herd.

Priorities, goals, wants and needs change

My husband has carried us financially for 4 years as I worked the homestead full-time. When an opportunity came along for me to work from home I was absolutely thrilled. The farm finally at a point where I could spend less time outside.

I was going to be able to lift some of the financial responsibilities off my dear hubby. With this change in my everyday life, it meant I was having to rebalance and reprioritize. What that means is I NEEDED A BREAK FROM SOMETHING.

This is where it all began. I’m not saying I’m done homesteading, but I’m downsizing to explore other interests. All while maintaining my love for homesteading and preventing total burnout.

Doing it alone is hard work

I do a few other things besides homesteading full-time. Aside from running the homestead and this blog, my husband and I are musicians and perform on the weekend. I work from home for a personal finance comparison website (Finder.com), and up until recently I also cleaned an Airbnb a few times a week. Sound insane? YEP.

If you’re a frequent visitor to The Green Acre Homestead you know that I mostly homestead alone. That isn’t saying that I have NO help, it is just minimal help. We can even call is seasonal, I suppose. Folks, it’s hard work doing this alone. I can’t imagine being 100% alone while homesteading, although I’d do it if I had to and I’d love every minute of it.

But with all these other things I’d like to explore, and the fact that the homestead falls on me 95%, I decided to downsize for a bit.

Finances matter and so do dreams

As I said, our finances have mainly fallen on Emerson for most of the years we’ve been homesteading. And, let’s be honest, homesteading isn’t always cheap and whether we like it or not, money matters.

We don’t have kids yet and I have so many different projects I want to try on the farm. Why should I continuing feeding 30+ chickens when I could put that money elsewhere?

Of course, there are ways to conserve money while homesteading, such as fermenting feed or sprouting fodder, but sometimes downsizing is just a better option.

I’ve cut my feed bill almost in half while downsizing and we’re in the process of getting out of debt and building my dream garden space!

Age and experiences

I’m 26 years old and still have non-farm related things I’d like to do and places I’d like to see. This blog is all about honesty and if I’m being honest, it can be hard as hell trying to find someone to take care of a farm with 30+ chickens, 21 rabbits, 12 ducks, 13+ gardens to water, 17 fruit trees and a big fat pig.

I’ll always return to farming, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed a small break now and then.

As I write this, I’m on the way to New York City to visit my baby sister for the weekend. Over the last 2-3 months, we’ve gone from having all those animals listed above to just 10 chickens, 12 ducks, and 15 rabbits.

I’m young, I don’t have children, and I have time to do all the things I would like to do. I’m choosing to take advantage of that now by downsizing my homestead and reigniting my fire. No shame in this young farmer’s game.

Taking a break is healthy

Emerson always tells me that taking a break from things is healthy. For a long time, I didn’t believe him but he’s correct. When you set something down for a while, you start to crave it.

Whenever I go on a trip away from our homestead, I return so motivated to get more done and try new things. My last paycheck job was three years ago. I was just thrilled to get hired on at Finder and continue to be able to homestead and learn about this wonderful lifestyle.

I am 100% that by temporarily downsizing my homestead, it’ll leave my super pumped and ready to start again soon – and with fresh new ideas, too!

Homesteading hurts

I hesitated to include this reason, but I promise 100% honesty and transparency here, so I’ll say it again. Homesteading hurts. The circle of life isn’t always nice and taking an animal’s life is never fun.

Additionally, the decision isn’t one that is made without thought. I’ve been on the receiving end of a whole lot of grief more than once for my decision to humanely raise and cull animals, and that’s fine because my decisions and morals are mine.

The freezer is full of meat to feed my family and I’m deciding to take a break from butchering. I’d rather eat an animal who lived a wonderful, happy, humane life than one that didn’t.

They’re your reasons to downsize your homestead

These 6 reasons are my reasons and they’re justified completely because, well, I say so. You should never be ashamed to say, “I need a break”. I used to be, and it really wore me down – emotionally and mentally.

Homesteading is wonderful for your mental, physical, and emotional health. With saying that, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be overwhelming at a certain point.

Summary on why you should downsize your homestead

Too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. It’s okay to take a break from incubating chickens single spring or mating rabbits or wanting to decrease the amount of land you’re utilizing. I’m going to be focusing more of my energy on learning to be a better gardener.

Are you downsizing your homestead? Or have you decided to downsize in the past? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

downsize your homestead

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  1. I know it’s not the same thing but this year (since apparently it’s the apocalypse) I’ve begun my first ever round of seedlings for our new garden. Anyways today I had to thin some seedlings because they were getting leggy and fighting for light and I cried. I don’t know how you could ever find the strength to (cull? is that what it’s called) an animal. Not that I think it’s a bad thing. More just I can’t imagine the emotional labor that goes behind it.

    1. Hi Alexina! It is absolutely wonderful you’ve plunged into gardening. I also have a hard time thinning plants because I want them all to have a chance to grow into something beautiful. But, for that to happen, the stunted ones must go. I think with culling (yes, that is the correct word!) it is about the mindset and personal moral standards you hold yourself to. Personally, I feel if I choose to eat meat then I should know what goes into raising and taking the life of the animal. My appreciation for food, especially meat, has profoundly improved since I started growing my own. It is hard. It’s so very hard and I have to do certain things, like a ritual almost, days before I have a cull day. In the beginning, I thought I’d either be able to do this over and over or never eat meat again. I feel better about eating meat that I know has been living a beautiful, healthy life and dying a completely humane death. That’s how I move forward with the heavy, emotional labor so far. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with me. I hope you have a beautiful harvest this season. PLEASE feel free to ask any more questions! I’m happy to help or just have a chat. Stay healthy out there!

  2. Loved the honest post. I have read some of Joel Salatin’s books about Polyface Farm….it has helped me to make better decisions about my own small efforts to homestead .
    I’ll be following your journey….

    1. Hi Therese! I am so happy my post resonated with you. I’m going to check out Joel Salatin’s books about Polyface Farm per your suggestion! It is so hard sometimes to make the best decisions when you know it’s a “long game” being played. Please don’t hesitate to reach out again and let me know how you’re doing! Thank you sincerely for your support. -Chelsea

  3. Hey girl!

    This is so true! Just today I was just telling my hubs how we kinda failed at homesteading this last season. Our 5 apple trees went without being picked (we’re talking…hundreds, yea maybe try thousands of apples going to waste), we missed our blackberry picking season and they all dried up, our corn failed, the garden… well we got some tomatoes and zucchini’s, but other than that.. it’s been kind of a flop this year!

    I can relate and understand at the feeling of having to “do it all” if you Homestead. And I’ve felt like that for awhile, but this year it’s hitting me that we can’t do it all. And I’ve started to lower my standards and expectations for our homestead and also, my blogging. That’s a wholeeeee nother story 😂. One blog post every 2-3 weeks… yeahhh **shame face**.

    We haven’t really downsized, although I am tempted to sell 2 of my goats and get some meat pigs if that counts, haha.

    Glad you wrote with transparency, I love this post. ❤️


    1. Hi Cherelle!
      A well-seasoned homesteader was just telling me how it’s unreliable and unrealistic to think we can do it all perfectly every season, or even just simply do it all every single season. I’ve been trying to keep that in mind since! That’s just life, and I can’t imagine having children! Right now it’s just my husband and me, adding children into the mix makes me very nervous.

      I’ve been re-prioritizing my blogging and finding a new method for me! I haven’t had goats but our one pig was, according to seriously everyone I talked to, was one of the easiest pigs and she was still a whole lot of work. I would just say to be realistic if you’re getting pigs and talk to SO many people…and then add like 20% difficulty to that haha

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s nice to chat again. Good luck in everything and don’t be afraid to take a step back!

    2. Hello,

      Where are you now with all of this? I say kudos and bless you for what you have done, learned, and moved on. It was not all a waste I do not think. The experience you gained was invaluable.

      Thank you for sharing here.

      Neophyte, soon-to-be chicken raiser, carnivore eater!

      1. Hi Lyric! Thanks for reading. I now live in Kentucky on a family farm, farming collectively with a family of 9 on about 50 acres!

  4. I totally get this! We have been at homesteading for about 7 years now and it is hard. We moved from a place that I loved so we could have a bigger homestead in the country. It is an interesting balance and everyone should do what is right for them!
    This post is honest and real – would you consider sharing at Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop? We would love to have you share with us!

    Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead

    1. Hi Melissa! YES – balance is so important and so relevant to each individual person. And sure! I’ll hop on over!

  5. Thank you for this honest post – and you are absolutely right – homesteading IS hard work! Good for you for recognizing the importance of taking a break to refresh and recharge your batteries.
    Found you through the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.