I began this blog as a project for class, but will continue it in the hopes of inspiring more urban, and maybe student homesteaders. Throughout the semester I’ve learned that homesteading is worth whatever amount of time you put into it, which was never that much. Most experiments ended up being far cheaper than their store-bought alternatives, especially after start up costs (jars, for example). Each of the activities I tried ended with pride and joy of the products I’d created. The homesteaders I interviewed gave me ideas and inspired me to try new things. So I’d like to share with you a few tips and tricks about homesteading in general that may help you along the way:
1. If you’re confused, as for help! Chances are, your friends, family or someone they know has some kind of idea that may help you if you’re in a homesteading pickle. And of course there’s always the internet, where many wonderful homesteaders have shared their wisdoms and suggestions.
2. Be patient. The first time you try something, it may not be what you expect. But you can always modify your methods, so don’t give up until at least the third project attempt.
3. Homesteading is a great bonding experience so don’t always go in alone! Invite friends over and if you’re worried about things being too costly, split costs with a friend and reap the rewards together.
4. Take a look at the things you consume or use regularly. You’d be surprised at how much of our daily products can be easily homemade. Your homesteaded version will most likely be better for the environment and for you.
5. Homesteading can be done anywhere! I utilized friend’s dorm rooms, my house and a New York City apartment. You definitely don’t need to be living on a farm or even in the suburbs to live a simpler lifestyle.
6. The lesson I will try to keep in mind during all parts of my day is that the experience is better than the stuff. Consumerism is engrained in our culture and often perceived as a way to be happy. Homesteading activities have assured me that the experience is so much more valuable than the product. I strongly suggest comparing how you feel along the journey of making something with the experience of buying it at the store. I doubt you’ll argue that the latter is the feel good option.
This project was one of the most interesting things I have chosen to do since being at college. I have been able to share with my friends the fruits of my labor and pass on information on how they, too, can live simply. Homesteading has increased my awareness of the environmental impact of our consumer society. I’ve found that most ways I can lessen than impact by making instead of buying are worth it to me, and I hope they are to you as well.
Good luck and happy homesteading!