Many people dream of a simpler life, some more so than others. No worrying about bills or running the rat race, and whilst this is easily achievable for some, it’s not always possible for all.
Here I share 5 of my best tips for living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, without the need for acres of land or investing in a horse and cart – unless you want to, of course…
5. Grow your own food
One of the first, and easiest, ways that people start to become more self-sufficient is by producing their own food. They might start by growing a few root vegetables and foraging for blackberries, but it’s as good a place as any to begin. If you have the room to produce all your own food, then great! If not, then you obviously need to decide what it is you will grow.
The ultimate aim would be to produce all your own food for free, whether that is by creating a small scale farm in your back garden or seeking out a grower’s co-op and swapping produce with others. It is do-able, you just need to get out there and get on with it! Oh, and consider a little light foraging from nature’s garden too!
4. Learn to make your own…
…beer, remedies, soaps, cleaning items, jams, cordials etc. If you can buy it in a shop, then you should definitely learn how to make it yourself and generally if you can’t make it yourself, then it begs the question – do you really need it?
Of course there are some items available today that weren’t available to our ancestors and greatly improve our quality of life, think antibiotics for a start. But chances are that a lot of things you buy in the shops, you could very easily do without or make yourself at home. Home made products also make fabulously thoughtful gifts. And this leads us on to the next point…
3. Learn a handicraft
Trades of times gone by are being lost and this is a very sad thing indeed! Very few people know how to knit a patchwork blanket, even fewer could make a quality piece of furniture from a few logs of wood and even less would know how to smelt their own iron to make a pot for the stove.
We cannot afford to lose these crafts and one thing that many who wish to become self-sufficient are doing, is learning some of these skills in the hopes that they can then produce their own items for use.
2. Let go of materialism
When trying to become self-sufficient, one thing that is often hardest to do is letting go of “stuff”. We are so used to being able to walk into a shop, pick something up off the shelf, pay for it and take it home, with very little thought about how the item got there. But if you really want to be more self-sufficient, then this is something you need to address.
If you can’t make it yourself or barter with someone else for it, then either do without or look for it second hand. Boot fairs, free-cycle and second-hand shops are teeming with items that need homes and better yet they are usually far, far cheaper than buying brand new.
1. Produce your own energy or learn to use less/none
There are many ways to produce your own energy. The simplest one is to invest in some solar panels and start producing your own electricity. Many people produce so much that they end up selling some of their electricity back to the electric companies!
If you’re fortunate enough to have a running stream in your back garden, why not think about getting a water wheel put in? If these options aren’t suitable for you, then try getting yourself used to using less electricity – switch off the TV, use candles, have a fire outside to cook your tea on… Just use less electricity and other forms of energy.
These are my favourite tips for getting started on the road to self-sufficiency. If you have some other ideas, why not share them with me in the comments below?