A key part of modern homesteading is to do everything you can to live independently. While many people quickly grasp the idea of growing their own food, home-schooling kids, or doing basic sewing, there are a number of other ways you can reduce your need for outside resources.
Purchasing or renting a home is expensive enough without getting jabbed on repairs every time you turn around. Many home repairs aren’t as complex as expensive technicians would have you think.
While it’s best to utilize professionals for repairs involving high voltage or pressurized plumbing, it’s very simple to install thermostats, light dimmers, and even flooring with no outside intervention. A general rule of thumb for bigger jobs is that installation costs about what the materials cost, but for smaller chores it’s drastically more.
The daily routine tasks may be obvious as you begin building your independence, but other things are a little sneakier. Some of the things we pay a good bit of money for are actually quite manageable as do-it-yourself work, with a little investment in some tools or training.
Want an example? Forty dollars is the approximate going rate for a locksmith to come and bail you out when you’ve goofed and left the keys dangling in the ignition–or when one of your lovely and precocious children has done so.
By investing in a set of locksmith tools and some basic instruction, you can mitigate this near-catastrophe yourself. It won’t take many instances of avoiding lockout fees to pay for the tools yourself. You’ll probably end up helping your neighbors a few times, too. And just maybe one of them is an electrician or plumber from whom you can leverage a little repair later on.
That’s just one of many ways you’ll find to save money and increase your self-sufficiency. Basic vehicle work like oil changes, spark plug replacement, and filter replacement are all simple to do with basic tools and a quick internet search. Specialized cleaning is easy with a few smart tips. Do the research and build your homestead.
Storing and Preserving Food
There are countless ways it can be beneficial to grow and store your own produce. Many the foodie has plucked fresh basil from a patio pot to flavor a recipe, but proper drying and storage of herbs will let you flex your inner Emeril all year through.
What’s the latest E. coli scare you’ve heard about? The massive scale of food agriculture in the United States means that many vegetables and fruits are harvested with near-mechanized speed by low-paid workers. They lack the time (and occasionally the desire) to be as thorough with food safety as they should be, so one unsanitary action by a single worker on a 12-hour shift can potentially impact thousands of pounds of produce.
That can be easily avoided by growing as much as possible at home, and even with limited space, you can produce a surprising amount of, well, produce. Hanging baskets yield delicious strawberries. Tomato plants thrive in buckets or large pots. Community gardens also provide options. There are lots of solutions if you’re hoping to avoid mass-produced food.
Your ability to improve your homestead way of life is limited only by your imagination and resourcefulness.