It may be disheartening when you’re renting, dreaming of a lifestyle that seems so far away. It can sometimes feel like it will be forever before you have a homestead. However, you are closer to having a homestead than you think! You don’t have to own land, just like you don’t have to live in the country. Here are 25 ways to homestead while renting to get you started!
1. Mill your own grains
Whether you have a hand cranked mill (#afflink) or a machine, it will always ensure that you have fresh flour on hand. Flour has a shorter shelf life than grains, even when stored correctly. Instead of having your flour go rancid or learning how to preserve it, you can store grain and mill it yourself.
2. Bake your bread daily
You just can’t beat a loaf of fresh bread. The smell alone can drag even the heaviest of sleepers out of bed in the morning. Bread really doesn’t take that long to make. If you can find a good recipe, you can leave it to rise as you carry on with the rest of your morning routine. If your family goes through a lot of bread, consider having a “baking day” and putting some in the freezer to make it easier on yourself.
3. Start a sourdough culture
If you are baking your own bread, then you need yeast. Right? Wrong! If you create your own sourdough starter, you can continue to make fresh bread day after day without the need to buy yeast. You know, as long as you remember to feed it… A well cared for sourdough culture can live for decades!
4. Preserve your food
Canning, dehydrating, freezing…there are many ways that you can extend the life of your growing season. You don’t need expensive or fancy equipment to do so either. Learn the best way to store your harvest and ensure that your family has home grown food all year round.
5. Make your own candles
Candles aren’t just for romantic nights when your other half is trying to make it back out of the dog house. When the grid goes down and the lights are off, you’re going to need something to keep you from kicking your toe on the bed frame.
6. Prepare simple cheeses
Cheeses such as ricotta, quark and mozzarella can all be made at home and they’re actually pretty easy! Find a recipe online or pick up a cheese making kit (#afflink). Start building your homestead from the kitchen out, and you’ll productive in no time.
Not only are quilts a beautiful heirloom that you can pass on to your children, they are also a necessity. No one likes being cold in winter. With all of the beautiful, funky fabrics available now, no one has to be! You don’t even need a sewing machine, hand stitching can be therapeutic and works just as well.
8. Grow vegetables in containers
Building a homestead while renting isn’t impossible, though it may seem that way at first. You don’t need to have permanent garden beds to be able to grow vegetables. Almost anything can be used as a pot, as long as it has some way to drain at the bottom. I’ve seen old baths, broken crockery or even footwear used as a garden pot!
9. Render tallow and lard
A lot of people see tallow and lard as a waste product. This couldn’t be any further from the truth! You can make soap, candles, use it for cooking… Nothing goes to waste on the homestead and tallow and lard are not an exception.
10. Make your own soap
Soap making is not only a homestead skill, but also a really fun hobby! You can get as creative or fancy as you like, or create a really simple soap using the bare basics. Soap can be used as the base in a lot of other recipes such as laundry detergent or house cleaning products. It can also be a source of income if you really get passionate about it!
11. Learn basket weaving
Baskets are one of the items on the homestead that are severely underestimated regarding their usefulness. I’m not particularly fond of having to use plastic buckets or containers, but you have to carry things somehow! Baskets are beautiful, sturdy and definitely better for the environment. Making your own baskets also gets you one step closer to reenacting your dreams of living in a little house on the prairie.
12. Cook from scratch
If you looked in your cupboard right now, how many products could be replicated at home from scratch? Probably the majority. There are so many reasons to cook from scratch, including knowing what is in your food and saving money.
13. Get out of debt
Living debt free is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Getting out of debt gives you one less bill to worry about and gets you one step closer to living a self sufficient lifestyle. It may even take your homestead while renting situation to a homestead on your own land!
14. Use cast iron cookware
Cast iron cookware will last forever, when properly looked after. Even neglected cast iron pans can often be restored. Rather than scratching toxic non stick flakes into your food, get yourself a reliable set of pans (#afflink) instead.
15. Grow your own salad
How many times have you looked in the fridge and cringed because the salad mix is wilted. You just can’t beat being able to step outside and pick your own lettuce fresh!
16. Learn how to use and cook a whole chicken
Again, nothing on the homestead should go to waste! You may not be able to have chickens while you are renting, but don’t let that stop you from learning how to use it. There is so much more to a chicken than its breasts (huh, huh!) so learn how to use the whole bird.
17. Make bone broth
Another nutritionally rich food that gets overlooked. Chuck in all of those wilted veggies from the fridge and you’ve got yourself a meal out of practically nothing.
18. Reduce your waste
Every time you go to throw something into the trash, take note. How can you avoid having to do this in the future? What products can you use instead to cut back on the amount you have to throw out?
19. Learn basic sewing skills
Even if it is just sewing buttons back onto a shirt, basic sewing skills can save you money and extend the life of the items in your home.
20. Prepare herbal home remedies
Going to the doctor can be expensive. It can also sometimes be unnecessary. I’m definitely not giving out medical advice, but there are a lot of minor ailments that can be remedied from home.
21. Create natural beauty products
I have seen recipes to create products ranging from your own foundation to even homemade eyeliner!
22. Train your dog
An untrained dog is not only a major pain in the ass, but it can also be a liability. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have your permanent homestead yet and get your dog trained to save you any future headache.
23. Dye natural fibres and spin them into yarn
You might not be able to have your own sheep. If you can get your hands on wool, you can start practising using it for now! Make yourself a drop spindle and you can make your own rainbow coloured yarn.
24. Knitting and crocheting
25. Learn to barter
Having a community is critical. No one person can be completely self sufficient, even if we all may try. Even if you are renting, you can still build a community and get involved with other homesteaders. You will be able to trade skills and surplus for items that you may not be able to make or grow yourself.