What is homesteading? It’s a term you hear more and more these days but what exactly does it mean?
The basic concept of homesteading is a back to basics approach to living. It may involve growing your own food, or making your own items or even going completely off the grid.
In today’s world homesteading is a new way of looking at things. It’s ‘less equals more’, if you will. There are so many ways to approach this new movement that no two ventures are alike.
There are books, websites, blogs and yes even Pinterest where you can find ideas on how to homestead. True homesteading means being self-sufficient. It means you produce everything you need and you earn enough money from your land so that you do not have to work elsewhere. Unfortunately, in today’s reality most people are unable to be “true” homesteaders. (I know some of you exist, don’t worry.)
Does that mean you can’t be a homesteader? Truth is, homesteading is more about getting back to basics. Even if you live in an apartment you can be a homesteader.
I remember as a little girl, my grandmother had an apartment in the city. She cooked on cast iron cookware, always kept a stick of real butter on the kitchen table, made all her food from scratch and hung her laundry on the back porch to dry. (Back then everyone did that because most people washed their clothes in the sink and hardly anyone owned a dryer.)
As I grew up, these types of things were considered what “poor” people did. If you “made it” in this world, you had a washer and dryer, you ate out or bought quick, pre-packaged meals that could be cooked quickly and Teflon was what you aspired to own in cookware.
Have you ever thought “keeping up with the Jones” was a losing battle?
It wasn’t until we didn’t have the income we once had and had to look at ways to live with less that we found we were happier. Strange, right? But it’s true. All of a sudden we had more time to spend together. Instead of watching cable TV we went for walks. Instead of buying food at the grocery store we started a vegetable and herb garden and bought a few laying hens for eggs. Instead of going out for dinner, we found recipes we could cook together at home.
The more we did things ourselves the more empowered we felt.
Part of being a homesteader is being prudent. Many homesteaders don’t have cable TV, they share one cell phone or only have a landline, they may only have one car and if they are lucky enough to be able to work from home, they don’t have to buy a lot of clothes.
Reducing your spending so that you are living “under” your means, means you can put more towards your debt. Paying off debt makes you feel a less stressed. It gives you more cash in your pocket and it means you may not have to work as hard.
Living under your means and reducing debt is not an easy thing. It’s like going on a diet. You start off good for a month or so, but then Macy’s has a sale and all bets are off.
Homesteading is NOT easy, but it can give you a better lifestyle. Instead of working to live, you live to work. Minimizing your wants and taking stock of what you have gives you a different perspective. It’s about wanting what you have and not needing everything else.
So, to answer your questions, “Yes! You can homestead.” In fact, you may already be a homesteader and not know it. And if you’re not already doing these things…why not get started today?