Living a Self-Sufficient Life
Everyone has their own idea of how to live a self-sufficient life. For some, self-sufficiency is having a big garden in the backyard and being able to grow food for themselves or their family. For others, it extends to all basic needs and even living off the grid.
However, you don’t need a garden or a cabin in the woods to be self-sufficient. Anyone can be self-sufficient, even if you’re not jumping all feet in!
10 Ways Anyone Can be Self-Sufficient
1. Plant windowsill herbs
The first thing I recommend when anyone wants to save money or be more self-sufficient is to grow herbs – it is SO simple! Planting herbs is a total gateway drug…ha. Find a few containers around your house, or buy some cheap ones from the thrift store or dollar store. Fill them with soil and either plant some seeds or herbs that have already sprouted. Well-maintained herb plants can last a while! And what is better than using fresh herbs?
2. Cook your meals from scratch
It seems our modern approach at living doesn’t include the art of homemade food. However, the best way to avoid constantly going to the grocery store, eating fast food, and relying on other prepared meals is to learn to cook from scratch. It can be as easy as using those fresh herbs to season some oven-baked chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. Mixing together a few ingredients to create the same pancakes that come from a box only takes a few additional minutes! Homemade food doesn’t have to be complex or fancy.
3. Make your own body care products
One of my favorite things to do is to make my own soaps and other body products. Store-bought soap is loaded with all sorts of toxic ingredients. And really, we don’t need to rely on manufacturers to create soap for us. Part of being self-sufficient is knowing how to make items like this instead of buying them from a store (and overpaying!) This is my homemade hand soap recipe. Here are some other homemade body care products you can try:
4. Ride a bike
Investing in a good bicycle to get you around town will save you tons of money and reduce the need to gas up your car (or completely eliminate it, if possible!) Not to mention, a mass amount of air pollution is caused by vehicle emissions.
5. Reuse and re-purpose
A large part of being self-sufficient is avoiding consumerism, making do with what you have, and reusing or re-purposing items. From using containers you already have to plant herbs like mentioned above, to saving used coffee grounds to use as fertilizer in your garden, to re-purposing pieces of wood or furniture for other projects…there are tons of ways to reuse and re-purpose common household items! There are also some ways to reuse items in your home to make eco-friendly wrapping paper.
6. Stock your pantry with basic ingredients
When you look in my fridge pantry, you might think, “Wow, there is nothing to eat!” (My husband often does this…love him anyway.) That’s because my pantry is mostly stocked with ingredients to turn into meals – it’s not stocked with boxed meals or frozen meals. I have to admit that this might take a little getting used to. Now, when I look in my pantry I see a world of possibilities. Some key items I keep in my pantry, fridge and freezer are: Flour, honey, frozen vegetables (like green beans, peas, and broccoli), tomato paste, quinoa, rice, chickpeas, butter, sesame oil, spices, yeast, etc. Keeping these basic ingredients on hand basically insures you can always make something for dinner. That way, you’re not running out to buy fast food – even if you have not pre-planned!
7. Buy from local farmers
Purchasing vegetables, meat, and other items from local farmers (and other local businesses) is the best thing next to producing these items yourself! Plus, you are helping others maintain their self-sufficient lifestyle and livelihood.
8. Learn how to can and preserve
I will admit, my canning expertise does not exist with great skill – mostly because I don’t own a pressure canner (someday…soon!) But without out a pressure canner, you can still preserve things like salsa, jams, etc. Learn how to water bath can here! (And what you cannot can, you can usually store in the freezer.) Dehydrating is another great way to preserve food.
9. Grow vegetables
You definitely don’t need a big, luscious plot of land to grow a garden. Utilize what lawn you do have. And if you don’t have a lawn, make do with some potted plants right on your porch! If you really don’t have any space outside to grow some vegetables, you can absolutely plant some indoors. Take a look at this guide to growing vegetables indoors. To be even more self-sufficient, start saving some seeds.
10. Stock up on herbal/home remedies
When a cold or the flu hits your house, there is nothing worse than having to run to the store while you or your littles are sick. Another key to being self-sufficient is not heading off to the doctor for every little sniffle and paying an arm and a leg. Keeping your “medicine” cabinets full of tinctures, healing herbs, probiotics, elderberry syrup, and other home remedies is definitely a life saver during those unexpected sick days. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health is an excellent resource on herbal remedies.
11. Go paperless
Cutting back on paper accomplishes several goals: 1) Saving money and being frugal, 2) Sustainability, 3) Being less wasteful. Though it may be unrealistic to go completely paperless, there are several actions you can take to make the transition smooth. Invest in a big pack of washcloths and some sturdy towels. This takes care of the napkins, paper towels, and cleaning rags. If you have a little one, consider using cloth diapers and cloth wipes – It’s a bit of an investment upfront, but well worth the cost down the road. Disposable diapers are so dang expensive.
Do you incorporate any self-sufficient practices in your life? Is there anything you’d add? Let me know in the comments!
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You may have found this blog post via Pinterest by this beautiful image, copyright of William Garrett, edited by me.