This is part 2 of the simple things you can do to start homesteading. I tried to think of things that would be minimal money but would save you in the long run…so here we go….
6. Work your house as a team.
This I’m sure sounds odd. If you have children that stay at home during the day you have many hands to help you do your work. Make sure your children know that your family is a team. Even if your children are at school all day you can have them do chores. I know it sounds simple but if Suzy swept the floor, Bobbie did the dishes, Blake straightened up the living room…what’s left? The kitchen is always what I do for my chore. My children trade chores each week. One child will sweep and straighten the living room, dusting if needed. The other child feeds our cats, puts dishes away, and cleans the bathroom sink. They are each responsible for their own rooms as well. So I clean the kitchen and clean the rest of the bathroom..not bad. That frees up a lot of your day time to do other things..if your not cleaning you can be outside gardening!
7. Make your own laundry soap. This is super simple and saves a lot of money. You can make 9 gallons for the same price as buying one container of Tide. It takes a little time, but in the long run it is way worth it. The recipe is simple. 1 C Borax, 1 C washing soda, 1 bar of felphs-naptha, 2 1/2 gallons of water. That’s it. Grate the bar into tiny pieces, melt it in hot hot water. Mix borax and washing soda in a 5 gallon bucket until dissolved. Pour the melted soap in and stir. Let sit overnight and stir again in the morning. The smell of the naptha will not be in the clothing once it is washed. Wash in cold water, put vinegar in your rinse cup instead of buying downy and then hang your clothes out. You’ve saved half the amount of money you used to use when you used Tide, hot water, and downy.
8. Change your pans to cast iron.
Cast iron is an all around good choice. These pans will last you way longer than teflon and are more durable than stainless steel. The trick is learning how to season them and how to use them. The beauty is that once you learn how they are extremely useful. You can cook outdoors with them, you can cook on a wood burning stove, you can pop them in the oven, and they cook normally on a range too 😉 They have an even heat and stay hot longer than most pans which means you can turn off your burner (again saving money) and finish cooking your meal. To season your pan use fat..animal fat..bacon grease, butter, lard, or shortening, rub a generous amount in and around the inside of the pan and bake it at 300 degrees for one hour. Then turn off the heat and let it sit in the oven until it’s completely cool. You may have to do this more than once. When you wash your pans do not use soap, simply scrub the pan clean. The more you use your pan the better it becomes. You will still have to season the pan occasionally but if you spray cooking spray and wipe it around before you put it away it will help keep the season on it. They make pans in all sizes. I’m currently working on the switch and have three sizes of frying pans and now a dutch oven. Next purchase is a sauce pan.
9.Find a network of like minded people. If you are a member of a church, you will be amazed on how much they can help you with what you need. If you don’t have a church hunt up the Amish in your area. Networking is the single most important thing. Homesteaders barter with each other because that is a more effective way. Let me give you an example of how networking has helped. My garden one year did great on green beans but did poorly on corn. We eat corn all winter. I happened to mention to a friend that my corn piddled and she said she had lots left in her garden and it would go to waste so I should take it. I didn’t pay anything for it and we had enough corn for the winter. People have canning jars, extra veggies, fruit trees, and many other things you might need one day. Most of the time you can get these for free or little money. Some will let you trade an abundance of what you have or will accept work in exchange. We are all here to help one another and what one person does for your one day, you might be able to do for another later.
10. Learn a skill.
Almost everyone likes to either knit or crochet. There are other trades like sewing,spinning wool, blacksmithing, pottery, or tanning hides. Crocheting and knitting are probably the easiest to learn besides sewing. Learning a new skill can do nothing but benefit you. Learning these things shouldn’t be hard if you have your network of people. My mom taught me how to crochet. I now crochet my own dish cloths. I bought a spool of yarn for 1.79 and can make two dish cloths. That is cost effective. They last longer than store washed ones and are cheaper than a “good” store bought one. I’ve learned to make blankets and scarves which comes in handy. Knitting is great to learn too. Scarves and hats are easily done. You’ll probably like one over the other so focus on the one you like the most but try to take the time to learn both. Keep adding to your skills by learning what you can when you can. Eventually you will learn things that will help you become self sufficient and that will lower costs. Right now I’m working on tanning hides and my children are learning to blacksmith.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope this list has helped you get a jump start on homesteading. Happy Homesteading!!