Yikes–We Shrunk the Homestead!

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What is a homestead? Most people will answer it’s acreage, or land, or some kind of farm setup. I’ve lived on acreage, and I’ve lived in studio apartments. In both circumstances I still considered myself a homesteader. How’s that possible? Because “homestead” is a verb, not a noun!

You don’t need land, or livestock, or even a huge garden to be a homesteader. What you need is a “homestead” state of mind. Homesteading (to us) means utilizing the space you have to work with–to its maximum potential–to provide you with as much as you can produce or create yourself. It also means reducing waste, re-purposing items, and learning to preserve food (even food you purchased), and being able to deal with emergencies if help isn’t available.

If you don’t have a lot of space, work with what you have. A sunny balcony can house a container garden for produce. (Old buckets with drain holes will get you started!) A water bath pot and pressure canner, coupled with some good books on canning (such as the Canning Diva’s) can get you on the road to some food independence, even if you have to utilize store bought (or better yet, farmer’s market) ingredients. A dehydrator can help you create your own healthy snacks–here are some simple dehydrated snack ideas! Learn to see things you might ordinarily throw away for what they could become—old sheets for example. They can be made into drop-cloths, haircut capes, first aid bandages/bindings, temporary blackout blinds, plant ties, and any number of other useful items.

Even the smallest domicile has room for tools. A small plastic toolbox filled with screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hammer, etc. is a great place to start–I still have my first toolbox ever, shown below. Tools are essential to any homestead, no matter what size it is! (And start thinking about what other things can be considered a tool—a sewing machine is a great example.)

Don’t forget to prepare for emergencies. Something as simple as a good first aid kit (build your own), emergency lights, bottled water, and a way to receive breaking news (such as a hand-crank radio) wouldn’t take much room and could literally prove to be a lifesaver in the event of a crisis.

Homesteading is the art of doing what you can, where you’re at, with what you have. Don’t let a small space inhibit you—let it spark your creativity to learn the homesteading spirit starting today! (And don’t forget to follow our suburban-homesteading adventures on Instagram: @willoughbyacres!)