I recently subscribed to an online periodical called “From Scratch Magazine.” If you are interested at all in homesteading or living a more simple life connected to the earth, I encourage you take a look at it.
In a recent email from this site, a pdf poster was included about the “Modern Day Homesteader” along with these words, “Homesteading is an attitude. A lifestyle. A journey.” That and a couple of articles I have read written by some of those “Modern Day Homesteaders” made me realize that homesteading and living sustainably wasn’t something you aspired to, it is something you just do…right now…right here…at this very moment.
In fact, even you, yes you, are a potential homesteader. Don’t believe me? Answer these questions.
Do you sew?
Do you make your own bread?
Do you recycle?
Do you garden?
Do you compost?
Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” around the house?
Answer yes to any of these items and you are a potential homesteader. But let’s take it a bit further, shall we?
Do you have backyard chickens?
Do you keep bees?
Do you make your own soap/household cleaners?
Do you can/freeze your own food?
Do you shop at famer markets/CSA’s/health food stores?
Answer yes to any of these and you are one step closer to being a homesteader…But what about…
Do you live under your means?
Do you pay cash for everything you can?
Do you use solar/wind/hydro power?
Do you raise farm animals?
Do you or would you like to leave the rat race and just live off your land?
If you answer yes to any of these, then I hate to break it to you, but you are definitely a homesteader.
Now before you go all “I’m no hippie” on me, (I’m dating myself here, I know) remember that homesteading is an attitude. It’s wanting to leave a smaller carbon footprint, eat healthy, wholesome foods, avoid processed foods and GMO’s and chemicals. It’s wanting to get away from the eight to five, Monday through Friday daily grind and wake up every morning feeling revitalized and excited for what the day will bring.
Not all of us are ready to live “off the grid.” But that doesn’t mean we can’t live a life that makes us feel better at the end of the day. It’s a lifestyle of choices. Of choosing to need less and live more. Finding the wonder in daily life. It’s growing your own food or making your own clothes and feeling good about what you have accomplished.
It’s a journey. Learning as you go. Trying new things you never thought you could do before. It’s jumping in with both feet and saying, “yes, I can.” Because, well, you can. It’s not rocket science people. In fact, it’s common sense. A type of common sense we have lost in the hands-off digital age.
Homesteading isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely a movement I have seen more of, though most people don’t know it has a name. If you’ve ever walked along the farmer’s market in the summer time and had that sensation of “gee, I wish I could be like these people,” then you know what I mean. And I’m here to tell you that you CAN be like these people in your own way.
You are in charge of your own destiny, all you need to do is adjust your attitude, discover your lifestyle and make the journey.
“Okay, smart ass, this all sounds great, but how do I begin?”
I’m glad you asked. Let’s take this journey together, shall we? One step at a time. In fact there are many ways to start and no, I’m not gong to tell you to head into work and tell your boss you quit. Let’s start simple.
Look around you. How much “stuff” do you have? Are you a small family living in a huge house with an even bigger mortgage trying to keep up with the Jones’? Give it up. You’re never going to win and both you and the Jones’ will just end up in lots of debt.
The idea (or attitude, if you will) of homesteading is first, living within your means, and second, learning to do without.
Start going through all your “stuff.” Yes all of it. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start small…say your attic or garage (“But you said small!”) Okay, your closet. Pull everything out and look at it all. Ask yourself these questions… “Can I live without it?” “Is it something I use on a regular basis?” “Is it something I need?”
If you answer yes to these questions, then keep it. No sense in getting rid of something you use or need. But be honest with yourself. If it is in the attic or stuffed in the back of your closet, is it really something you need to have?
Now I’m not telling you to get rid of old family photos or that special heirloom. This is where you need to apply a little of that good old common sense. As you go through your things, and if you are really honest with yourself, you’ll start to notice that there is a lot of ‘stuff’ you have collected throughout the years that maybe you just don’t need.
Take your time, go through each room and do the same thing. When you are done, take a look at all the stuff you have. Make piles. What can you sell? What can you repurpose? What can you donate? You may want to start with a yard sale. There’s nothing like turning junk into cash.
This may sound like a daunting task, but stick with it. There is nothing so refreshing than de-cluttering your home. You will feel like a huge weight has been taken off your shoulders. And you may realize that you don’t really need that huge house after all. Maybe a smaller house with more land would better suit you.
Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once you have de-cluttered, take a break and enjoy the feeling for a while. When you ready we’ll get to the next step. For now, relax, breath and enjoy.