How to Homestead, No Matter Where You Live

A homestead kitchen

Whether you live in the country or in town, you can start a homestead no matter where you live. Homesteading is a mindset, and you can begin to homestead anywhere.

How to Homestead No Matter Where You Live

Do you long to live on a homestead in the country?

Maybe you're stuck in town, or live on a postage-stamp-sized lot in suburbia. Perhaps you live in an apartment or townhouse with no yard at all. 

You might be saving money for your future homestead, or maybe you know you'll never be able to make the leap, no matter how much your heart longs for that dream.

Well, I'm here to tell you that a homestead is a place in your heart, not a dot on a map! You can "homestead" anywhere.

The evolution of homesteading

In years past, homesteading wasn't a "thing," it was just how people lived. Even as late as the Great Depression, families grew some or all of their own food, raised or hunted their meat, and bartered with others for the things they couldn't produce themselves.

I loved my dad's stories about his growing-up years. Three generations shared that small home with the wrap-around porch on a corner lot in a big city, but they had a few chickens behind the garden where they grew most of what they needed. 

One of my favorite stories is about the night Gram's bottles of homemade root beer exploded in the closet under the stairs of that little house that was full of people and love.

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But then the modern age arrived, and people began paying for convenience because they were too busy to do/make/cook it themselves.

Now we've come around to realizing that the rat race might not be worth the stress and that we work so hard to make enough money to pay for everything that we don't have time to enjoy it.

An old homestead barn in the country.

Modern homesteading

Truthfully, we can't "homestead" like folks did a hundred-or-so years ago. The government no longer gives out parcels of land that we can claim simply by building a little house and living in it. 

We must buy our property, repay the bank, live by neighborhood rules and covenants that often dictate what kind of house we live in and what we can do with it.

What we now call "homesteading" might better be referred to as "simple living." Simple living can be done anywhere! A family can live simply on a rural farm or live simply in an apartment. 

Whether or not we live off-grid, raise animals or not, have forty acres or live in the suburbs, we can live simply and be what is often referred to now as modern homesteaders.

Yes, you can homestead no matter where you live and no matter what your circumstances are. Homesteading and simple living is a state of mind, not a place on a map. It isn't dependent on how much land you do or don't have.

Homesteading is a mindset

And what is this state of mind? 

It's having a heart for our home and our family. Doing for ourselves, raising some or all of our own food if we can (and finding some local sources if we can't), planning and being prepared for what might happen in the future, opting out of consumerism and dependence. Right?

Grow food

Do you live in an apartment? You can garden on your balcony and raise some spectacular, delicious tomatoes and a big container of salad greens. You can cook from scratch, make bread, and have a cozy, warm home.

No balcony? Use your windowsills. No sunny windowsills? Use grow lights. Find a good farmer's market for the rest of your needs. It won't make you any less a "homesteader."

Maybe you have a suburban yard and the backyard's wooden fence blocks the sunlight to the only spot you can put a garden. You can grow vegetables in a shady garden using a few tricks and the right varieties of plants - and it doesn't make you any less a homesteader.

In fact, I wrote an ebook explaining how to grow vegetables and herbs in shady places. Click that link to read more about it!

No money to put in raised garden beds? Try growing a vegetable garden in cardboard boxes.

A dozen brown eggs in a cardboard egg carton

How to homestead in spite of your HOA

Your neighborhood HOA might not allow you to keep chickens or rabbits or bees, but you can find someone who does. Buy healthy eggs and meat from them. Offer to help out so that you can learn new skills. Maybe they'll ask you to help when they want to go on vacation.

Make your own cleaning products and laundry detergent and toiletries and soap. They're healthier for you, and you'll save money - and being frugal is another way to live simply. (You might want to read about the dangers lurking in your bathroom.)

Hang your laundry to dry instead of using the dryer. If your HOA doesn't allow an outdoor clothesline, improvise with a drying rack like this one from Amazon that's similar to one we used when we lived in Greece, where clothes dryers were a luxury.

A handmade pink patchwork quilt

Learn some old-fashioned skills such as knitting and quilting, woodworking or knife-making. 

Crafts and hobbies are soothing as well as producing useful items for your family, your home and for gifts, and they keep the old skills alive.

More than any other room in your house, your kitchen and pantry are the most important ingredients in your homestead. You can be prepared for power outages, winter storms, inflation and even job loss.

Live frugally and wisely

I've always picked up a few extra cans of food on each grocery trip, just because. When hubby was laid off for awhile, that stockpile became a true blessing. 

I opened the last can in that cupboard on the day that hubby started his new job! Our supplies stretched just like the loaves and fishes in the Book of Matthew. (Nowadays I have a cupboard full of home-canned food, but the principle is the same.)

Learn how to cook from scratch (you might enjoy my embarrassing story here), how to make your own yogurt, and how to use herbs for everyday health. 

Learn how to preserve food from your own garden or from farmer's markets and you-pick orchards.

Baskets of produce at a farmers market

Be thankful

And most of all, be thankful for what you have: a roof over your head and a place to call home, the scent of the roses in a neighbor's yard, the buzzing of bees on a warm, sunny day - they might not be your bees, but they are still pollinating your plants if you have flowers in your yard or on your balcony.

Don't be disheartened if you long to homestead in the country but are stuck in the city. You can live simply on a modern homestead wherever you are.

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A farmer's market. Text: How to homestead no matter where you live.


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