Homesteading is a lifestyle choice that’s gaining popularity for its focus on self-sufficiency, sustainability, and a return to the basics. Homesteading is more than just a trend. It is a way of life that can bring immense satisfaction, health benefits, and a sense of accomplishment. But how can you get started as a homesteader and reap the rewards of this lifestyle?
Becoming a homesteader requires perseverance, determination, and a mindset of lateral thinking and finding innovative solutions to problems. The first step to homesteading is to start where you are with what you have and build slowly on that foundation toward increased self-sufficiency.
We will explore how to become a homesteader, starting from scratch and progressing step by step. Whether you’re looking to start a homestead in the countryside or are interested in urban homesteading, this guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and tools to embark on your homesteading adventure.
Before you embark on your homesteading adventure, it’s crucial to understand what homesteading involves. At its core, homesteading is about living a self-sufficient lifestyle. This means producing your own food, generating your own power, and sometimes even making your own clothes and other necessities.
In this guide to get you started homesteading, we will cover everything you need, from understanding the basics of homesteading, setting your homesteading goals, creating a budget for your journey, and choosing the right location for your homestead.
Homesteading can take many forms, from a small urban balcony garden to a sprawling rural farm. Regardless of the scale, the basic principles of homesteading remain the same: growing your own food, reducing your reliance on commercial products, and living sustainably.
This could involve gardening, animal husbandry, canning and preserving food, composting, and more. Homesteading is more than a lifestyle; it is also principles, a mindset, and a philosophy.
The Homesteading Mindset
Becoming a successful homesteader requires a specific mindset. It’s about embracing simplicity, being resourceful, and having a willingness to learn and adapt.
Homesteading is not just a set of skills; it’s a lifestyle and a mindset that values self-reliance, sustainability, and a close connection to nature.
It also embodies a desire for independence and taking charge of your destiny and holding it in your own hands rather than relying on the state or others to provide the services you need to live.
The Benefits Of Homesteading
The benefits of becoming a homesteader are numerous. Apart from the obvious advantage of being self-sufficient, homesteading can also lead to a healthier lifestyle as you’ll eat fresh, organic food you have grown yourself.
It can also be incredibly satisfying to see the fruits of your labor and know you’re living in harmony with nature. Homesteading can save you money in the long run as you reduce your reliance on store-bought goods and state or city-provided utilities and services.
Whether you’re starting from nothing or you’re looking to expand your existing homesteading efforts, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools, and basic understanding you need to succeed.
Getting Started With Homesteading
Embarking on your homesteading journey can seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and preparation, you can start a homestead that suits your lifestyle and meets your needs.
It may also surprise you that you can start homesteading right now without waiting to purchase your dream property to get started with this lifestyle.
Here are some key steps to consider when getting started with homesteading.
1. How Far Do You Want To Take Your Homesteading Dream?
You can take your homesteading dream as far as you can or implement some homesteading principles wherever you live to improve your food security and reduce your reliance on the food and services supply chain we have all been conditioned to depend upon.
You can start small and grow your homesteading operation as your resources and skills progress, but the important aspect is to decide how far you are willing to take your homesteading and plan accordingly.
2. Starting a Homestead from Nothing
It’s entirely possible to start a homestead from nothing. You don’t need a large piece of land or much money to begin.
You can start small, perhaps by growing your own food on a balcony, a backyard garden, or keeping a few chickens, and gradually expand as you gain more experience and resources. Remember, the goal is self-sufficiency, not perfection.
3. Set Your Homesteading Goals
Before you start, setting clear goals for your homesteading journey is important. What do you hope to achieve? Are you aiming for complete self-sufficiency, or do you simply want to grow some of your own food? Your goals will guide your decisions and help you stay focused.
Goals allow you to build a tangible plan to reach your ultimate homesteading goal and measure your progress along the way.
4. Creating A Budget For Your Homesteading Journey
Homesteading can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. Creating a budget early on is important to manage your resources effectively.
Consider the costs of seeds, equipment, livestock, and other necessities. Remember, there are ways to homestead cheaply, such as repurposing items, swapping with other homesteaders, and doing things yourself instead of hiring out.
5. Choosing The Right Location For Your Homestead
The location of your homestead will greatly influence your activities and success. You’ll need ample space if you plan on large-scale farming or raising livestock.
In an urban area, you must consider local regulations about raising animals or growing food. Research and planning are key to finding the right location for your homestead.
Starting your homesteading journey does not need to be delayed or restricted by the limitation of not having a large property. You can practice many homesteading principles and activities wherever you are in preparation for moving to a larger space in the future.
Steps To Becoming A Homesteader
Becoming a homesteader is a journey that involves learning new skills, adapting to challenges, and embracing a lifestyle of self-sufficiency and sustainability.
It is not a change that can be made in the short term because it involves changes to your lifestyle and your mindset that take time to achieve and adjust to the adaptation. This is why most people adopt a stepped approach to begin their homestead journey.
Here are some key steps to guide you toward becoming a successful homesteader.
1. Start By Simplifying Your Lifestyle
One of the first steps to becoming a homesteader is simplifying your life. This means reducing clutter, focusing on the essentials, and letting go of unnecessary distractions. A simpler life makes room for the things that truly matter, like growing your own food and building a self-sufficient homestead.
Taking this step is often the hardest as you intentionally choose to take a more difficult road, even when modern conveniences are all around you to tempt you to take the easy route and go back to a dependent lifestyle.
2. Start Small And Homestead With What You Have
Homesteading is a lifestyle that requires innovative thinking, repurposing items, reducing waste, and reducing the impact of your lifestyle on the environment.
You can start this step whether you reside in an urban, suburban, or rural setting. Make the changes slowly so you do not become overwhelmed by taking on too much at once.
Many beginner homesteaders start their journey while still generating income from a traditional job. If you are in this position, you must carefully balance your time and activities to prevent burnout.
3. Start Homesteading Where You Are
Don’t wait until you purchase your property and move to a location with more space before thinking and living like a homesteader.
Even if you live in an apartment, investigate growing your own food using indoor growing methods such as hydroponics or container growing. The knowledge you gain from these challenges and experiences will stand in your favor when you scale up your homesteading operation.
You may not be able to start homesteading on a large scale, but at least you have started your education and learning to adapt to a new way of life and a new perspective.
4. Learning About Your Growing Season
Most beginner homesteaders start with growing food before they progress to livestock and other homesteading lifestyle changes. Part of that process is learning about the growing seasons where you live and where you will grow your food.
Understanding your local growing season is crucial for successful gardening. Knowing when to plant and harvest can distinguish between a bountiful yield and a disappointing crop. Take the time to learn about your local climate and plan your garden accordingly.
5. Starting A Garden And Preserving What You Grow
Gardening is a fundamental part of homesteading. Start small with a few easy-to-grow vegetables and gradually expand your garden as you gain confidence and experience.
Learn how to grow vegetables in various settings, from in-ground to containers and basic hydroponic systems. The more experience you can gain with different growing methods, the more choice and versatility you will have in your knowledge and experience when you upscale.
Another key skill to master as you grow your food is learning how to preserve your harvest through canning, freezing, and drying. This will allow you to enjoy your healthy homegrown produce year-round and increase your self-sufficiency.
6. Making Friends With Other Homesteaders
While making friends with other homesteaders may seem counter-intuitive to seeking a more independent lifestyle, it can be a crucial aspect of your homesteading journey that can determine success or failure.
This is especially true for new homesteaders on a steep learning curve to expand their knowledge and skills and establish themselves in a locale. Building a network of fellow homesteaders can provide invaluable support and knowledge.
The community can offer advice, share resources, provide encouragement when challenges arise, and jump in and help you with tasks that require more than one or two pairs of hands! Look for local homesteading groups or online communities where you can connect with other people who share your passion.
7. Continually Learning New Homesteading Skills
Homesteading is a lifelong learning journey, so don’t expect to become an expert in all things homesteading overnight. From gardening and animal husbandry to carpentry and food preservation, there are always new skills to learn.
Embrace the learning process, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Learning to do new tasks that you previously paid others to do for you can be a dramatic perspective shift, and it takes time to learn the necessary basic skills to perform these functions for yourself.
Do not set unrealistic expectations upon yourself to learn too much too soon and become self-sufficient in a couple of months. This is also where a community of homesteaders can be invaluable, as everyone helps each person move closer to the self-sufficiency goal.
If you follow these introductory steps toward starting your homesteading lifestyle, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful homesteader. Remember, the journey is just as important as the intended destination. Enjoy the process, learn from your mistakes, and celebrate your successes along the way.
Once you’ve mastered the basics and have your homestead up and running, it’s time to explore more advanced aspects of homesteading. We will guide you through some advanced strategies and concepts to help you take your homesteading journey to the next level.
Depending on your starting point for your homesteading, you may experience varying difficulty levels. These additional challenges may force you to explore some more advanced homesteading strategies from the get-go.
Homesteading On The Cheap
When you are a beginner homesteader, or as you grow and expand your homestead, you might be looking for ways to do so without breaking the bank. There are many ways to start homesteading on the cheap.
For instance, you can repurpose and recycle materials, swap goods and services with other homesteaders, and learn to do repairs and improvements yourself. Remember, homesteading is not about having the most expensive equipment but about being resourceful and self-sufficient.
Homesteading on the cheap does not mean making do with inferior strategies but rather using or re-using everything around you to move you forward to your sustainable lifestyle goal with as little need for money as possible.
This mindset sets you free from pursuing money to achieve your goals on the homestead and provokes you to think laterally and find innovative solutions to problems that don’t cost a lot of money!
If you’re in an urban or suburban area, don’t put your homesteading dreams on the back burner! You can still practice homesteading on a smaller scale with backyard homesteading.
This involves efficiently using your backyard and indoor space to grow food, raise small livestock like chickens or rabbits, and even install renewable energy sources like solar panels. Backyard homesteading is a great way to live more sustainably and self-sufficiently, even in a city.
Urban Homesteading For Beginners
Urban homesteading is a growing trend that allows city dwellers to embrace the homesteading lifestyle. In my opinion, starting as an urban homesteader is one of the most difficult beginnings of a homesteading journey.
My reasoning behind this standpoint is that you must be much more innovative and creative to use your limited space and resources to implement homesteading principles than those with land available.
However, starting out as an urban homesteader can set a good knowledge and skill foundation for the day when you finally move to a location with more space for homesteading.
Your introduction strategy as a beginner urban homesteader can involve container gardening, indoor composting, rooftop rainwater collection, and more. Even in a small apartment, you can practice aspects of homesteading, like preserving food, making homemade products, and reducing waste.
Advanced homesteading is about expanding your skills, pushing your boundaries, and finding new ways to live in harmony with nature. As you continue your homesteading journey, remember to enjoy the process, learn from your mistakes, set achievable goals, and celebrate your success milestones!
Embarking on the journey to become a homesteader is a rewarding and fulfilling adventure. It’s a lifestyle that embraces self-sufficiency, sustainability, and a deep connection with nature. From understanding homesteading basics to mastering advanced techniques, each step brings you closer to living a life that aligns with your values and aspirations.
Remember, homesteading is not a destination but a continuous learning and growth journey. Whether starting a homestead from nothing or expanding an existing one, each day brings new opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
As you move forward on your homesteading journey, remember to simplify your life, set clear goals, and continually learn new skills. Connect with other homesteaders, share your experiences, and learn from each other. And most importantly, enjoy the journey. The path to becoming a homesteader may be filled with challenges, but the rewards are well worth the effort.