In recent years, homesteading has become more popular. Whether you’re interested in homesteading for environmental reasons, financial independence, or just to live a simpler life in general, you can get started now. There are many homesteading skills to learn right now, no matter where you live.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents had many of these skills out of necessity. But many of them have been lost to all of the conveniences of modern life. There wasn’t always a Walmart on every corner!
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Don’t wait until you’re on the homestead to start learning. You might find yourself too busy then. Get started now and you will better prepared when the time comes. Pick a few at a time to work on so you don’t overwhelm yourself and burn out. Don’t kill yourself trying to master every item on this list.
Food & Cooking
Cooking is one of the easiest places to start learning homesteading skills. Homesteading or not, we all have to eat!
- Learn to cook from scratch
- Learn to eat seasonally
- Bake your own bread
- Make your own butter, cheese, and yogurt
- Breakdown a whole chicken
- Learn how to fish
- Then learn how to clean a fish
- Hunting (while not for everyone) is an excellent way to source your own meat.
- Learn about the local wild edibles in your area
- Cooking without electricity – over a fire, for example
- Homemade stock or bone broth
- Grind your own grains
- Preserve your own food: canning, freezing, dehydrating, vacuum sealing
- Food storage – If you plan to preserve food, canning or otherwise, where and how should you store it all? You might end up with quite a stockpile!
- Brew your own beer or try making some wine.
Gardening goes hand in hand with cooking on the homestead. Start decreasing your dependence on the grocery store by growing some of your own food.
- Start a vegetable garden. Even if you live on a small city lot or in an apartment, you can find a sunny spot to plant a few pots.
- Plant an herb garden. This is a great place to start for apartment dwellers. Sit a few small pots in a sunny window.
- Research what plants will grow in your area and their growing requirements (i.e. amount of sunlight & water needed, soil type, growing time, etc.)
- Learn about companion planting to increase productivity.
- Start a compost pile
- Learn about non-toxic pest control methods
- And non-toxic fertilizer (hint: use your compost pile!)
- Start seed saving
- Learn about crop rotation
There’s more to homemaking than just cooking. Here’s some homesteading skills to learn to keep your homestead clean and orderly.
- Make your own non-toxic cleaners
- Make your own laundry soap
- Learn how to wash laundry without electricity
- Line dry your clothes
- Learn how to sharpen a knife, or any other blade.
- Basic construction skills are extremely useful on a homestead. From building barns and fences to simple home repairs, learning how to use a few tools can be invaluable.
- Learn basic maintenance and repair for your vehicles.
- Learn basic maintenance for your home and appliances as well. Knowing some basic repair skills can save you a ton of money and keep your homestead running smoothly.
- Learn how to hook up and pull a trailer. From transporting animals to hauling hay or wood, the uses for a trailer are endless on the homestead.
- Practice reduce, reuse, recycle as much as possible.
- Thrift store shopping – for things you can’t repair or make yourself. There is an art to thrift store shopping. Do a little research and try it out.
Health & Beauty
Not only is making your own health & beauty items a money saver, but it’s also safer. There are so many toxic chemicals in all of these traditional products. Some of them may not even be listed on the labels. Do you feel comfortable covering your body in some mystery chemicals? I don’t. So …
- Make your own personal care products: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc. If you want to make it yourself, there’s a recipe out there to do it.
- Make your own lip balm.
- Learn how to use medicinal herbs.
- Practice making salves and other treatments with those herbs.
- Start using essential oils.
- Try some homemade make up recipes
Not only are these skills fun hobbies, but they are also very useful homesteading skills to learn. Repairing clothes or making goods for your home or as gifts can save you money.
- Sewing. Learn how to sew by hand and with a sewing machine.
- Knitting or crocheting
- Candle making
- Soap making
Safety & Survival
If you find yourself lost in the woods or in trouble on your homestead, would you know what to do? Depending on how far out you live, help may not get to you in time. These may be some of the most important homesteading skills to learn.
- Learn basic first aid and CPR. It could save your life.
- Water purification: without clean water, nothing else matters.
- Map reading/navigation: You may find yourself lost in the woods or elsewhere. Would you know how to find your way home without your GPS directing you?
- Learn how to build and start a fire.
- Know a few ways to start a fire if you find yourself without a lighter or matches.
- Firearms: while they aren’t for everyone, if you do own them, knowing how to properly handle, fire, store, and clean your guns is a necessity.
Animals are a vital part of the homestead. Whether you choose to raise them for food (meat, milk, or eggs), for sale, or for their wool, there are so many homesteading skills to learn when it comes to animals.
- Make your own animal food. You can start now with food for you fur babies – dogs, cats, lizards, whatever you have! Do some research – homemade pet food can be so much healthier than what you buy in the store.
- Learn how to ride a horse.
- Try raising some chickens. They’re one of the easiest animals to start with. Check local regulations to make sure you can own chickens where you live.
- If you can’t raise chickens, try raising some rabbits or quail. Regulations are often much less strict with them.
- Learn basic farm animal care. Try volunteering at a farm sanctuary to get some hands on experience if you are not ready or able to own your own just yet.
I hope this list has sparked your creative side. Get started and have some fun learning a few new skills or crafts. Are there any other important skills I left off this list? Leave me a comment and let me know!