I’m constantly trying to think of ways to get closer to self-sustainability through our homesteading lifestyle. The next step is to actually do those things!
If you’re homesteading and need guidance towards self-sustainability, here are 19 ways to achieve your goal.
I’ve done a lot of the things on the list below. Some others are ones that are on my to-do or wish list. If you’ve done any of these things, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Read to get closer to self-sustainability
I bet I’ve read more in the last 3 years than I did in my four years of high school. Okay, okay, I wasn’t that bad of a student. I just want you to understand that reading and self-sustainability go hand-in-hand. I’ve learned so many things from some of the best books.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to read. It’s truly something we overlook. Reading is required to get closer to self-sustainability while homesteading, but it sure does help.
Get closer to self-sustainability while asking ALL the Questions!
I recently gave a wonderful couple 4 of my hens to provide them with eggs. YES. I gave them the hens, for free. If someone wants to take a few more steps closer to self-sustainability I’m all for it.
When they came over to pick up the chickens one of them nicked their toe-nail and started to bleed. I slowed the bleeding with cornstarch and sent them home with some antibiotic spray just in case.
As we were loading up the hens, I told them to not hesitate to call with any question. When I began homesteading and working towards self-sustainability I had so many questions.
In the beginning, the most frustrating thing about this lifestyle was that I had no one to ask my questions. ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS. It might be the most important thing to remember.
Grow a vegetable garden
When people think about self-sustainability I’m pretty sure the first thought is growing or raising their own food. I’d definitely say that is the main priority while we take the steps to get a little closer to self-sustainability through homesteading.
Growing a vegetable garden can be so simple and you really don’t need a ton of space, either! If you’ve never grown a vegetable garden, you can start here with the 5 easiest vegetables to grow. Also, greens take a small amount of space to grow! If you have the option, vining vegetables can provide shade, beautiful landscaping, and food all at once!
Grow an herb garden
This is on my list, Y’all. Over the years we’ve grown cilantro, mint, rosemary, and I even grew borage last summer! We raised rabbits and I’ve read so much about all the herbs you can use in your rabbitry.
There’s a medicinal herb garden in the works for the future on our homestead. I think it’s a great addition to a life of self-sustainability. If you’re interested in starting some simple herbs inside, check out this great post by 15 Acre Homestead called “10 Insanely Easy Herbs to Grow Indoors“.
Plant fruit trees
Alright, this is a HUGE one! When planting fruit trees you need to understand that they’re an investment. I’m not telling you they’re expensive because you kind find great deals on fruit trees and bushes. What I’m trying to tell you is fruit trees are a time commitment.
Most fruit trees take a few years to start producing fruit. But once it does, it will save you tons of money! My husband LOVES fruit so it’s a main priority for us.
On our homestead, we’re finally getting where we should have some type of fruit most seasons of the year. This is a huge deal for us and our outlook on self-sustainability and homesteading. Be sure you prune your trees the correct way and use great plant food like this one.
Raise backyard chickens
Backyard chicken raisers, raise your hand! Or your chicken, if he/she will let you (mine won’t). Backyard chickens can provide you with so many tools to aid in closer steps towards self-sustainability on the homestead.
Not only will they give you eggs, but also can provide meat and compost. Aside from the eggs, meat, and compost, you can put them to work further by having them till your land!
Don’t let them in your growing garden because it’ll be completely ruined. BUT if you have a patch of grass that you don’t want there anymore, your chickens are your answers.
While we’re on the subject of raising animals that provide you with multiple resources, let’s talk rabbits. Rabbits can get you closer to achieving self-sustainability in multiple ways, also.
They’ll provide you with meat, great nitrogen-filled manure, and breeds like angoras can provide you with fur for fiber. The best part of their manure is that it can be immediately added to the garden! You need shelter to provide your rabbits with a way to escape the elements and predators. Once you have that, you’re off to a great start!
Take a foraging class
This is on my to-do list, especially lately. My yard is overrun with weeds! My chickens eat these plants that I naturally have labeled as weeds and one day I thought “These aren’t weeds!”.
I have free food growing in my yard at this very moment. My chickens get so excited when I show up at their gate with a bundle of freshly pulled “weeds”. Foraging is one of the main activities for folks that are mostly self-sustainable on their homestead or farm.
For a long time, I thought that there wasn’t much to find in Florida. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that is wrong. You just have to know what you’re looking for!
Start a community garden
Starting a community garden is on my wish list for the future. I have dreams of a big, flourishing, bountiful community garden! Not only would it further me in my conquest to some form of self-sustainability, but it could also teach others.
I’m finding that there are many people who don’t garden because they think they can’t, for whatever reason. Whenever I see community gardens I always think it’s a great step to break that barrier. If you’ve ever started a community garden, I’d love to hear from you!
Make your own non-toxic home cleaners
I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for a while now, using this recipe. Recently I processed some lemons, froze their juice, and put their rinds in a huge container of vinegar. I’ve been using that lemon-rind-vinegar concentrate as a bathroom cleaner!
My older sister uses vodka and essential oils to make her own room spray and perfume, which I love. It is so simple to make your own home cleaners and I’m glad I tried!
Baking bread from scratch
Y’all, I love baking bread! I don’t often have the time, or make the time, to do it but I love when I do. I really feel like there’s something therapeutic about baking bread.
Baking bread a great skill to have on the homestead and when achieving self-sustainability and it’s so much healthier! Have you ever looked at the label on most store-bought bread? It’s totally whacked, Y’all. I can’t even pronounce some of the words on the ingredients label!
My mama always said that if you can pronounce it, you probably don’t need to be eating it. Word up, mama.
Learn to preserve food
I’ve been saying for years now that I was going to learn to can food. I have this wonderful book and, honestly, I just need to DO IT.
Often, self-sustainability and homesteading it all about just doing it. If you don’t try, you will never know if you can. Really, I’m a little intimidated by it and that’s such a sad reason for me to not do it. Not that is isn’t a valid reason, though.
I’m going to break that barrier. That’s what this lifestyle is all about when you don’t know what you’re doing.
She posts about a lot of other really great things she does on her homestead. As someone who wants to raise bees one day, I have loved following her journey! I’ve also learned a lot from some of her rabbit videos. Check her out, you won’t be sorry!
Learn to sew or knit
Honesty hour, I don’t really care to knit. I can make a scarf if I need to but sewing is my jam. I can’t sew your next wedding dress but that’s okay. Learning crafts like sewing and knitting are great self-sustainability skills for many reasons on the homestead.
I originally learned to sew to make cloth diapers for when we have children. Since then, I fixed articles of clothing we already have and make bags for family members! If you get good enough, you can sell your product and generate extra income on your homestead. Can you say SIDE-HUSTLE?
Learn how to medicinally use herbs and plants
I talked briefly about this earlier when I mentioned growing your own herbs. Growing your own medicine can be such a useful tool.
For example, I sometimes get migraines and my first go-to is peppermint oil. How simple would it be to grow peppermint and just sniff peppermint? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my peppermint oil and use it daily but I’d also love fresh peppermint.
Read and you’ll find many herbs can assist you daily with small things like bug stings, small cuts, etc. Growing a strictly medicinal herb garden is going to be part of my homesteading and self-sustainability journey, eventually.
Install rain barrels
We have one rain barrel and should really have 10. Living in Florida, we get a fair amount of rain (thankfully). What better way to get closer to self-sustainability through homesteading than catching your own water?
You’ll want to make sure that you purify your water if you plan to drink. If you’re wanting to water your plants, as I do, then you can use your water right away! I’ve also heard that certain states have restrictions on rainwater catching so be sure to do your research before starting.
Learn to make butter or yogurt
I was recently talking someone about making yogurt and I had no idea how easy it was! I know butter is super easy, yet slightly time-consuming and delicious at the same time. Butter has had my heart pretty much my whole life. My nickname as a child was “Carb Queen”. Anyway, moving on…. *facepalm*
Any kind of DIY is a great step towards getting closer to self-sustainability. Learning to be independent and self-sufficient is a blessing and can help in so many ways!
For example, Emerson and I have changed our well switch a few times over the years. Because of this, we’ve saved hundreds of dollars because, of course, the switch dies strictly on weekend days.
A good Youtube video was all we need. BUT WITH THAT BEING SAID I’d never attempt to deal with any other appliance with the electric current without having someone knowledgeable with me. Some things aren’t meant to be a DIY project without more knowledge.
Shout it from the mountain tops, Y’all! COMPOST! I love compost and if you’ve ever read my post “Composting Made Easy” you already know that. Talk about DIY! If you garden and you’re not composting I’m not sure why and I’d love to know.
Even if you don’t have a whole bunch of space, you can still compost. Self-sustainability and composting go hand-in-hand, it’s super sustainable to not waste food and repurpose items you no longer need (like food scraps).
There are multiple ways to compost. Instead of me going into the all here, hop on over to my post. I’d love, love, love to hear about all your composting adventures! If you have any questions, I would also love to try to be of assistance!
Last, but certainly not least, vermicomposting. Emerson and I tried our hand at vermicomposting and it was great until we forgot about our worms. I’ll never not be sad about that…it was such a silly mistake.
Vermicomposting is composting with worms. You won’t only get great soil, you can also reap the benefits of compost tea and fishing bait if you want it! Worm farming is definitely something I’ll try again in the future when I have a better spot for it.
Let’s wrap it up and get to gettin’ closer to self-sustainability!
I could name probably 100 other things but I won’t today. I’ll add it to my to-do list and maybe publish a longer list later! Do you do any of these things? As usual, you know the drill. Drop a comment down below!
Related to self-sustainability:
- Homesteading tasks for beginners
- Realistic goals to make
- Learn these 5 things first as a beginning homesteader