Have you thought about becoming more self-sufficient?
Are you looking for ways to implement self-reliance into your lifestyle and take control?
There are so many ways to expand your skills and reach the kind of life you are yearning for. Living a sustainable independent life doesn’t have to mean you need to buy a farm and turn your back on convention. You can integrate self-sufficient ideas and methods into any lifestyle and produce incredible results to remain self-reliant.
Here are 11 ideas to get you started on your journey to living a simpler life.
Table of Contents
1. Begin With A Self-Sufficient Plan
I never thought we would become a self-reliant family; sure, we were interested in the lifestyle, but not knowing where to start was the quandary.
Do we go all in and spend hours, days, weeks planning and executing a schedule to get us on the right track? It was stressful to get my head around just how much there was to do!
Then what we did was break it all down to small manageable steps. Baby steps.
This made it all very doable, and that’s where we began our journey to be self-sufficient and prepared for anything.
Start with a sustainability plan, and each step seems so much more achievable, do as many as you feel you can handle, and don’t feel under pressure to take on too much.
The most important step is to start. You may find you have already integrated self-sufficiency ideas into your life without even realizing it.
Being more prepared can have a wonderfully positive effect on your family and help make you feel dependent on the grid and the food system.
A natural place to start being self-sufficient and such an enjoyable, rewarding first step. Starting your own garden and planting what you like to eat (as a family) can be something you all get involved in. It’s fun and interactive to plan, build, and ultimately enjoy the produce of your work.
It’s incredible how much money you can save by having a garden of fruit and vegetables you can pick yourselves. Even a small patch of earth can give you a plentiful bounty to enjoy.
Having compost can help in several ways, firstly you no longer need fertilizer for your garden. Good compost is the cornerstone of any garden and can replace the need for artificial fertilizer.
You will also be amazed at the reduction of food and garden scraps as your compost works its magic. Composting food scraps, leaves, clippings, and cardboard are just the start and will benefit your plants no end.
Not only will you reap the rewards of adding amazing nutrients to your soil with compost but also you will dramatically reduce landfill waste, increase biodiversity by attracting worms (vermicomposting), and a host of inspects and save money on garden supplies you would otherwise have bought.
4. Grow an Edible Lawn
How often do you really use your lawn? Why not rethink and transform your lawn (no matter what the size) into a beautiful edible space?
You can list what you would like and then design the space you want with pen and paper. You can plant fruit trees, blueberry bushes, edible herbs, and flowers; the choice is yours.
By growing an edible lawn, you help reduce your carbon footprint and encourage your family to eat plenty of fresh homegrown nutritious produce.
Saving so much money and eating fresh organic produce; also, the time you spend outdoors tending to your edible lawn can have positive health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety and boosting your immune system.
Chickens are easy to care for and a great start to your very own homestead. They give you meat and fresh eggs, which you could even sell to make additional money for the household – a great enterprise for kids to start.
Raising chickens is another great addition to your compost as their manure is high in potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, ideal composting and using as an alternative to fertilizer. What better way to add to your self-sufficiency journey.
Don’t think chickens are just for eggs and meat; they make lovely animals enjoy and are fun and productive. Help keep weeds and fallen fruit at bay and, when used in a controlled way, can help clear any area.
They can till soil like no other and help to peck away unwanted bugs and ticks; their foraging is amazing to follow! Food scraps can be used to feed chickens, reducing waste that would usually accumulate.
Fishing is a hobby for many people and a very worthwhile life skill; catching and processing a fish for consumption is a skill to learn and pass on to your children—another great addition to any self-sufficient lifestyle.
Not only is learning to fish a fun skill, but it’s also great to do as a family and can promote feelings of wellbeing just being outdoors, reconnecting with nature enjoying the time together, and the peace.
You will learn the lesson of patience and concentration while waiting for the fish to bite. Processing a fish once caught in a humane, ethical way is important, and learning how to cook what you have caught is a skill too; once you have tasted a freshly caught catch, nothing will compare.
7. Learn to Butcher
This is an essential tip if you are a meat-eater. Getting butchery skills will change your life in the kitchen! Save you soo much time and money.
I have been very fortunate here as my partner trained as a butcher, so he taught me how to process any animal’s meat. I was daunted at first, but now it’s a skill I couldn’t do without.
You can save so much money and time by learning how to process your meat, which you can then bulk buy and freeze for later. If you have the land, rear your own animals, which will feed your family. A really great skill to learn to add to any self-sufficient family.
If not, think about approaching local, sustainable, organic farms to find out how you (or a group of like-minded friends) can pay to adopt/rear an animal so you can then butcher it yourself once it reaches maturity.
It is a great way for farmers to diversify while getting an income from you to feed and rear the animal (unless you decide on another solution, such as providing the farm with labor).
At the same time, you can reap the benefits when you have the meat processed (by you) and in your freezer, saving you time and money throughout the year. You don’t necessarily have to go on a costly course either, as there are plenty of online tutorials freely available such as on YouTube.
8.Become a DIY Expert
You may have overlooked this tip, but there are so many skills you could learn to enhance the knowledge you already have.
There are so many ideas here, such as sewing, knitting, making candles, woodworking skills, carpentry, plumbing, painting, upcycling furniture, basic building skills; the list is endless! It can save so much time and money by doing these chores yourself, and the reward is you have done it all yourself.
Many of the skills needed can be learned for free, either from a quick internet search (there are so many YouTube tutorials!) or search locally at colleges.
We have upcycled at least one piece of furniture in every room in our house; it’s fun, and repurposing furniture to use and serve a purpose in your home is so satisfying. Self-sufficiency doesn’t have to be boring! It can be fun and bring the whole family together for a common goal.
You will become a little addicted, and knowing when to stop is sometimes quite hard! Turn that skill into a side hustle and make some extra cash; it doesn’t have to feel like a chore when it’s enjoyable. You may find it’s the first step to a new career.
9. Become a Beekeeper
Having a pantry stocked with local organic honey is a wonderful dream. So why not make your own by becoming a beekeeper?
Bees will work in symbiosis with your garden by pollinating and are very low maintenance; you get the reward of nutritious fresh honey and use the wax to make many homemade cosmetics candles.
It’s a huge money saver to produce your own honey (have you seen the price of good quality honey?!), and the taste of raw natural honey is so delicious (nothing like shop-bought honey) and can help with seasonal allergies too.
Our youngest suffers every year from hay fever, and it’s still amazing to me that simple addition to her diet of local honey can help with those annoying symptoms.
Benefiting your family, the community, and the wider world (with the global bee decline), becoming a beekeeper has so many positive advantages. If you have an abundance of honey and wax, you could also create a commercial enterprise by selling your natural raw honey and beeswax. Another amazing side hustle. Also a rewarding self-sufficient skill to master.
10. First Aid
Having a good knowledge of basic first aid can help your family and community no end. Not only can you learn together to help yourselves if any injuries or illness occur but having a good awareness of herbal and natural remedies can support the medical education you learn.
Knowing the ideal items to have on hand in your first aid kit, as well as some herbal alternatives, can give the assurance, along with your underpinned medical knowledge, you will be prepared if faced with any injury or illness. Take a course in first-aid; better still, get the whole family involved to ensure self-sufficient skills within your family are strong.
Think about taking it further and enroll the family in a wilderness herbal medicine course. Not only is it fun, but you will also come away with so much fresh, essential knowledge on how to treat and care for your family – the natural way.
After harvesting all your nutritious produce, if you don’t eat it while it’s fresh, how do you preserve it? Finding ways to preserve and store your fresh food is a great way to save money throughout the year and enjoy your own produce without waste.
Canning, making preserves, pickling, fermenting, smoking and freezing foods are ideal ways to enjoy fresh produce all year round.
These preserving food methods will reduce waste significantly, coupled with the fact you can recycle plenty of glass jars and containers that would ordinarily end up in a landfill. It doesn’t matter what you decide to grow. There are recipes for all types of produce to preserve and enjoy.
Self-Sufficient Family | Start as You Mean to Go On
By becoming more self-sufficient, you will feel more prepared and in control. These are only ten tips to think about getting yourself started – there are so many more ideas to suit your own needs. Taking that first step to being more self-sufficient needn’t be daunting as there are so many ideas you can easily slot into your own routine and lifestyle.
Once you have implemented a few ideas on your road to being more self-reliant, it will feel a lot easier to slot in new ones into your lifestyle. It’s great to get the whole family involved too, and such a wonderful legacy to imprint for your children.
Take time to jot down a few more ideas; you will be amazed at how fast the list can grow as you become inspired. If you are thinking about starting a fresh produce garden, take a look at A Beginner’s Guide To Organic Gardening With 10 Top Tips to get you started.