People living in apartments in the city often dream of homesteading in the suburbs or the country. There is good news: you don’t need acres of land to get started.
Homesteading is actually possible anywhere. Those who live in an apartment or condo may think they can’t homestead at the moment. But the truth is, you can homestead in an apartment, too!
Besides owning land and livestock, homesteading is a way of life that leaves behind the modern way of thinking and allows you to be self-sufficient. There are many benefits to apartment homesteading, and it’s a good way to get started right in your own neighborhood.
If you are wondering what homesteading means, the term encompasses a broad range of activities. Ultimately, it can be best described as a lifestyle focused on self-sufficiency. You can do this by growing and preserving food, producing your own electricity with solar, wind, or water generators, and even making your own clothes and fabric. There are some homesteaders who aim to never spend any money. They are amenable to making or bartering everything they need. Other people might approach homesteading more cautiously, and while they aspire to provide as much for themselves as possible, they may not be averse to using some money or working for pay.
There is a subset of homesteading known as urban or suburban homesteading; people who live in cities or suburbs may consider themselves homesteaders and provide for their own needs within the confines of an urban setting or a small suburban lot.
Homesteaders are people whose hearts and minds are dedicated to their homes. It is a person whose focus is on remaining in their homes and loving them, which is quite different from everything in our society which is obsessed with things out there.
Instead of focusing on sickness, homesteaders focus on wellness. They are much more concerned with maintaining healthy systems for themselves, their plants, and their animals than they are with dwelling on the diseases and sicknesses around them.
A homesteader has this crazy, countercultural idea that they want to grow what they eat. They want to know where it came from. They want to develop a relationship with their food. They trade seeds, trade ideas, and create all sorts of things. This is all part of who they are.
Homesteaders can come from all walks of life and may not share the same values and beliefs. People who retire from lucrative careers can invest in infrastructure that allows them to sustain themselves on their land. Many people start off homesteading with nothing, erecting a scrappy stronghold in order to provide for their needs. Despite looking very different, both of these camps consider themselves to be homesteaders.
Self-reliance and simplicity are things many people strive for and some achieve by living as homesteaders. Here are some benefits of homesteading survivalism to check out.
- With homesteading, wealth takes on a broader meaning.
Self-sufficiency is a political agenda, and self-sufficiency is the key to homesteading. By producing our own energy, growing our own food, and not commuting to work, we are decreasing our participation in the money economy. Such practices are creating gross inequality in the economy and in society. Everything’s value is measured by a monetary value in the common economic system. It is not just employees or customers who rank by that value, but also fictitious things, such as stocks, Treasury bonds, and time. Money-based value is a narrow way of thinking that often overlooks ecological and spiritual values.
Choosing to live as a homesteader gives us the opportunity to create a holistic system for small-scale production, independent of the global financial system.
- When you homestead, you better understand what is enough.
When it comes to homesteading in the 21st century, the most difficult thing is to know when enough is enough. This applies to both materialistic accumulation and time commitment, and it is the opposite of the contemporary idea that bigger is better, and more growth is more desirable. Not only do we have to make several deliberate decisions about what is best for our health and happiness, but we must also hold out against the conventional wisdom that we should take whatever we can get, necessary or not.
- We are able to connect with nature through homesteading.
Homesteading is about embracing ourselves as a part of the natural world. It’s more than simply comprehending our kinship to nature, but also embracing our interdependence with our land.
- Getting back to homestead basics can improve your health.
With homesteading, we go back to basics and focus on some fundamental aspects of health maintenance and improvement: exercising outdoors, eating real food, and connecting with nature. Through the course of our existence as human beings, our bodies and brains have evolved to receive certain sensations—what we touch, taste, see, smell, and hear. For millennia, these impressions have come from nature and have largely remained unchanged.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started with the modern homesteading lifestyle. It is actually more affordable to use simple homesteading ideas and practices because you won’t need to pay for packaging and marketing.
- Plant a kitchen herb garden.
Are you aware that you can grow herbs in your kitchen? Not just outdoors, but right within. Simply place them on a window sill for a while, or use a grow bulb. Growing herbs is quite easy, requires very little maintenance, and requires very little water.
- Make a planter garden.
Are you living in an apartment or renting from someone who does not want you to disturb their “lawn”? It’s totally fine. You would be surprised at how much you can grow in planters. The possibilities are endless.
- Establish a community garden.
The popularity of community gardens is increasing every year. More and more are popping up in urban areas. No matter if you live in an apartment, have a small lot, or have covenants that prohibit you from gardening. Community gardens are still possible no matter where you live. They’re fun and they’re good for everyone!
- Get rid of the grass and install an edible lawn.
There is no need for plain old grass. Get rid of decorative shrubs and replace them with berry bushes, if your apartment permits. Plant some fruit trees. Plant a raised bed garden and think of it as growing food rather than a lawn.
You can have an edible lawn that looks pretty too! There are some edibles that are truly beautiful when they grow. People who think well-maintained grass is important are crazy.
- Make a compost pile.
Organic, natural fertilizer can be used to feed your edible lawn and beautiful garden. This will reduce trash and help your yard and garden thrive! A win-win situation!
- Consider vermicomposting.
It’s possible to do this in an apartment, you just have to think small. For example, plastic cat litter containers make great composting buckets, as they have a solid seal. No matter how small your garden or plant space is, you can create rich compost for your plants. Composting doesn’t take much effort, and you’re still reducing trash!
- Learn how to hunt.
Humans hunt for survival, and the tradition has been carried forward since ancient times. Today, if the hunting season is not successful, we are short of meat and have too much freezer space. For us, it is important to know that animals lived free lives and were killed humanely to feed our families. We are cutting out tons of carbon and ensuring we are eating healthy meat.
- Learn how to butcher.
Now that you’ve harvested the game, learn how to butcher it. You’ll never have to take your meat to a butcher again.
- Learn how to catch and clean fish.
Fishing kind of falls into the same category as hunting, but is quite different from hunting. Both take effort, but it’s much nicer sitting in a canoe than stalking a buck through heavy brush. We all love fishing, don’t we? Plus, fish include healthy omega 3s and other fatty acids that we need to live our healthiest lives.
- Invest in a farm share.
If you live in an area where farming, especially livestock, is not feasible, this is an excellent idea. Shares are available almost everywhere. Sustainable farming practices are followed by these farmers, and their livestock is treated humanely and fed better. It’s often just a pop down to the farmer’s market for your cut.
- Raise rabbits for meat.
The meat produced by one buck and two does can provide you with one rabbit a week for an entire year. The majority of chicken keepers do not keep meat rabbits under the same restrictions. Why is that? Simply because it was left out of the wording. Although rabbits are cute and cuddly, they can be an excellent source of protein for your freezer. However, getting rabbits needs a lot of space and intensive labor to clean their crates.
- Invest in your own dairy animal.
It’s good for you to drink milk when it’s fresh and raw! Adding a couple of goats or a cow would be a great idea if you have space, such as a farm share.
- Learn how to tan a hide.
You can avoid the damaging effects of commercial chemical tanning by tanning in a traditional, natural way. The materials needed—including bark, skins, and brains—can be obtained for free, making it possible to create a valuable product from biodegradable, non-toxic materials. The resulting leather can be fashioned into beautiful, useful items.
- Learn how to make butter, cheese, and yogurt.
These dairy products can all be made at home. The easiest to make is butter, and you’ll have some buttermilk leftover. Yogurt isn’t so hard either. After that, you can try making a soft farm cheese.
- Learn how to render fat.
Animal fats are good for us, contrary to what we’ve been told for decades! You can find very few places to purchase healthy animal fats, so you should learn to render your own. It is a wonderful thing to know how to make your own lard and tallow.
- Learn how to be a bee farmer.
You will have access to fresh local honey and be able to make candles with the beeswax once you start your own bee farm!
- Don’t use your clothes dryer.
The clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy hogs on the market. It not only wastes a lot of energy, but it ruins your clothes as well! There’s one less thing you’d have to spend money on and your clothes will last longer! It is also possible to do it in an apartment. Simply hang the clothes to dry inside. You can also consider alternative power hookups for appliances.
- Get rid of cable or even TV altogether.
Find better ways to keep yourself entertained. Your wallet will be lighter, and you will have more time for the important things in life. It will make you more productive, and you will spend less money! Having no satellite TV subscription saves you over $1,500 a year, and who knows how much more you save by avoiding countless annoying advertisements.
- Learn how to sew.
It doesn’t matter whether you learn how to sew by hand, with a machine, or both. It is an incredibly useful skill that is becoming extinct due to underutilization. Very, very few people are proficient at sewing. Instead of buying new clothes, you can mend old ones. You can even make your own clothes. By shopping around, you’ll find that homesteading on a budget is cheaper and you’ll get a better quality product if you make your own.
- Get acquainted with knitting and crocheting.
You would stay warm all winter long if you knit your own gloves or hats. You can also make blankets, socks, whatever you like. If you want to go a step further, you can even learn how to spin your own wool.
- You can make your own candles.
Beeswax candles are much healthier for your indoor air quality and your home than store-bought candles. These candles can be used instead of light bulbs to reduce your energy costs. You’ll be better off the more you learn to live without things (even once in a while).
- Set up rain barrels.
They can be used to irrigate your plants. If you have purifiers, they can even be used as an alternative to tap water for your dishes, for livestock, or for your personal use. This is especially true if your roof is not asphalt.
- Install a greywater system.
We waste so much water when we pour it down the drain. Doing dishes, washing clothes, and doing the laundry uses up so much water. You can use a gray water system in particular if you use natural cleaners since a lot of cleaning solutions on the market are too harsh for use in a greywater system.
- You can make your own cleaners.
It’s amazing what a citrus fruit and a bottle of vinegar can accomplish. It’s easy to clean your home. You’ve probably got everything you need right in your kitchen. It is cruelty-free and doesn’t contain harsh or overpriced chemicals. It is just plain clean.
- Make soap at home.
Melt and pour soaps make this pretty easy. Cold processing soap may be more time-consuming, but it is also more rewarding. There’s a lot less to it, you know exactly what’s in it, and it cleans better too. It’s definitely worth a try.
- Learn how to start a fire.
Consider getting a fireplace or wood burner in your home. The vast majority of us cannot heat our homes without electricity, even if we have gas furnaces or propane heaters; they need electricity to run! Furthermore, learning how to build a fire outdoors is a great idea. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t use this skill while camping or hanging out with friends on a cold Autumn night.
- Learn how to can your food.
Garden extras can be used through the winter if you can them. It’s possible to can groceries from the grocery store as well! Get some extra organic produce and learn how to preserve it if you find a great deal.
- Learn how to build a basic structure.
This skill is not crucial for apartment homesteading, but will help in case you decide to go further in your homesteading dreams.
- Make fermented foods at home.
It’s good for you to eat fermented foods. Your gut develops healthy flora, allowing you to be your healthiest self. Diseases begin in the gut. Help yourself stay healthy by fermenting some foods!
- Learn how to forage.
It is amazing how many edible weeds are out there. Look for a good book that will guide you, and then stop wasting time killing those dandelions. In addition to helping pollinators, they are also good for you!
- Learn how herbs can be used medicinally.
You should learn more about herbs in an era when essential oils are booming. These herbs can be grown right in your kitchen or backyard! It isn’t necessary to purchase them from a company. They are often found in nature and many are medically useful.
- Make your own tinctures, salves, and remedies.
Now that you know about those herbs, put them to good use. Natural medicine used to be the norm. We have definitely moved far away from that. Although a doctor’s advice is the best, a home remedy can usually solve the problem. A homeopath can help you find a natural remedy for pretty much everything.
- Find healthy foods and or barter for them.
Every once in a while, we will probably still need a helping hand, regardless of what we do. Perhaps you grew lots of tomatoes in your planter garden, while your neighbor is a great forager and has protein rich mushrooms. There can be a lot of possibilities within your apartment. There are a lot of possibilities. Then again, you can source healthy foods, and sometimes you can even barter something you have for them. This is especially important if you live in an apartment.
- Exercise is important.
How can exercise help one become more independent? Being out of shape means you aren’t at your best, which means you don’t function as well as you should. Poor health makes homesteading harder since you would depend on the money economy and other resources to stay healthy. Find exercise you enjoy and stick to it.
- The more you read, the better.
You should read every book and article you can find that gives you information about self-sufficiency. Definitely look into foraging and natural identification manuals. Maybe you’ll find more time to read once you cut the cable.
- Ask for help and build community.
Each of us has our own specialties, and some of us know more than others. Whether it’s getting help sourcing food or teaching you how to hunt wild game… never be averse to asking for help, or you’ll never succeed in your endeavor.
- How to start homesteading in an apartment?
It might seem impossible for a person to live self-sufficiently in an urban area without living off the land at first glance, but it is possible. As much as it’s a lifestyle, homesteading off the grid is a state of mind.
Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can turn your apartment into an urban homestead, even if you live in a city like Bangor or Portland.
You can grow your own food in a small space. A self-sufficient mindset is fostered by growing your own food – plus, eating local produce and reducing food miles can help the environment, and where better to eat than right in your apartment? Despite not having any outdoor space, you can still grow herbs on your windowsill, microgreens in your small spaces or a full-blown vegetable garden indoors if you’re feeling ambitious.
Get cooking. While learning to cook, you will save money and eat healthier while becoming more self-sufficient. Getting started can be as simple as learning a few simple recipes. In addition, many kitchen staples—like bread, butter, cheese, almond milk, and nut butters—can be made at home, saving your money and reducing food waste.
Reduce your food waste. Homesteaders use all of the resources available to them. The more food you waste, the greater your impact on the environment and the closer you get to homesteading. In addition, reducing food waste now will allow you to extend the shelf life of your stockpiles of food by socially distancing, self-isolating, and self-quarantining yourself.
Be sure to store fresh produce properly so that it lasts as long as possible. You can also freeze it to keep it fresh longer. There are many creative ways to use food scraps, such as using meat and vegetable scraps for a broth. Another option is to compost in your kitchen.
- Is it possible to grow enough food to sustain yourself within an urban apartment?
In order for crops to succeed, you have to know how different conditions can affect what and how to plant. You could plant in a small apartment, on a balcony, or the backyard of a home.
Keep an eye out for irregular watering, poor ventilation, and poor lighting when it comes to growing your produce indoors. Plants that are allowed to dry out excessively can kill their roots, which facilitates the growth of fungus pathogens that eventually kill the plant. You can’t make this right with overwatering later. Also, lack of light, air that doesn’t move, and lack of freshwater could make things worse.
The best thing you can do: Watering has no hard and fast rules, so you must “develop a “feel” for it, just like you would for cooking. Make sure the pots or flats are saturated with water before planting. You should feel the weight of the roots when you pick them up before and after you water the plant, so you know what weight range the roots will fall within when sufficiently hydrated. (Look for powdery soil when you water!)
Open your sunny windows for natural light and fresh air when it comes to ventilation and lighting. However, growing lights and rotating fans can also be helpful. Be careful not to disturb the plants when you use the fan. Make sure it is set to low speed or far enough away from the plants.
- Is it still legal to homestead? If so, how is it done?
In the minds of many people, homesteading is connected to free land. It is no longer possible to obtain free land merely for farming or living. Instead, you save money and buy some land in a decent area with low taxes after working for a while. Farming and living on it will provide you with a little income and food.
When you homestead, you are utilizing the resources you have and the things you own to provide for yourself and your family. By homesteading, you reduce your reliance on companies, institutions, governments, and social services.
You can own the land for as little as a few hundred dollars per acre if you are willing to purchase it. It is often miles away from small towns and in some cases, even from roads.
There are programs that resemble the homesteading lifestyle but are fundamentally different. In the case of buying land, there is a great deal of paperwork, you can be evicted if you pollute the land, and it takes months to get approved, assuming that you get approval in the first place. Considering all of the given loops to jump through when buying a land outright, it may be a better option to purchase it with a mortgage at first and pay it off aggressively.
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Homesteading practices will help you live a simpler life, produce your own food, and become more self-sufficient. Beginners can start homesteading on a small scale, so the process does not overwhelm them. It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce friends and family to the benefits of homesteading.
You don’t have to own a farm or live on one to start a homestead. You don’t even have to own land to homestead. Homesteading can be as easy as growing and preserving your own fruits and vegetables. A homestead doesn’t require you to live like a pioneer in order to reap its benefits. You don’t need a lot of money or knowledge to live a simple life; you just need desire and dedication.
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