Homesteading is a lifestyle — and it’s not limited to a 40-acre plot. There are numerous homesteading skills you can learn no matter where you live. Here are some homesteading ideas you can do in an apartment.
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Can I start homesteading in an apartment?
Today we wanted to share with you some ideas for how to start homesteading in an apartment or a small space. There are so many people out there who are interested in homesteading, but think they can’t get started because they don’t have 10+ acres.
And it’s just not true!
There is SO much that you can do right where you are, no matter how small your space. You CAN start homesteading in an apartment.
In fact, if you have a goal to buy land eventually, you definitely SHOULD start working on some homesteading skills in an apartment.
What is homesteading?
At its core, homesteading has to do with self-sufficiency. When people talk about homesteading, they’re usually referring to skills such as food preservation, gardening, animal husbandry, and other basic skills such as cooking and sewing.
Our homesteading experience
During the first four years of our marriage, we moved 4 times. During those years, we lived in a very small house, a medium-sized house in the city (with virtually no yard), and a one-bedroom, third-floor apartment.
Now that we are out in the country, we’re so grateful for the skills we learned during those first few years of marriage, even when we didn’t have much space. We have tons more to learn, of course, but we’re glad that we got a good foundation in those first years.
Whether you plan to move eventually or you’ll be staying in the city, you can totally cultivate your homesteading skills wherever you are. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to get started. Just get started!
Homesteading ideas you can do in an apartment
Here are some basic homesteading skills that you can cultivate no matter where you live.
Cooking from scratch
Scratch cooking involves using basic ingredients to make your own foods, rather than buying them pre-made and prepackaged from the store. From-scratch cooking is almost always healthier because it incorporates real, whole foods. In addition, it gives you so much more freedom, since you’re not having to rely on the store for foods that you could make yourself.
Here are some excellent foods to start with:
- Homemade yogurt
- Cooked beans
- Snacks (we love dehydrated apple chips and oat muffins for healthy snacks)
Focus your grocery shopping on the outside edges of the store where you can find whole foods, rather than the snack or boxed food aisles.
Food preservation can take up as much or as little space as you have. Maybe you don’t have space for the deep freezer of your dreams or shelves and shelves of canned goods, but you can still learn to preserve in an apartment!
Preserving includes skills such as dehydrating, drying, canning, and freezing.
Dehydrating is an excellent way to preserve food with a small amount of space, since you’re actually shrinking the food, in most cases. In our apartment, we dehydrated apple chips, banana chips, cherry tomatoes, basil, and other herbs.
We love our Nesco dehydrator. However, if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also dehydrate many foods in an oven.
Drying works excellently for herbs, and there’s no equipment needed! We love drying mint for mint tea. First, simply tie the stems together. Then, hang the herbs upside down in a dry, warm place out of direct sunlight until dried. You can place the herbs in a paper bag for extra protection from sunlight.
Canning is a way of preserving food in jars so that they are shelf-stable. The Ball Blue Book is one of the best, all-around resources for canning techniques and recipes.
If you’re in a small apartment, you may have to be creative about how to store your jars. Is there extra space under your bed or couch for storage? Even a small shelf fit in a corner could potentially fit a dozen or so cans. See what space you can make. And even if you don’t have space for large batches of canned food, it may be worth doing just to learn the skills of canning. If you do move to a larger space, you’ll know just what to do!
Freezing is magical. Freezers basically stop time when it comes to keeping food. Okay, not quite, but the freezer can add a significant length of life to your food. Even if you don’t have a lot of freezer space, you can use your freezer to store some smaller, homemade foods.
We love making pesto and freezing it in ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen, dump them into a plastic bag and store in the freezer. The next time you need pesto for a recipe, just pull out three or four cubes. Since they’re so small, they’ll defrost very quickly in your recipe.
Your local farmers or farmers markets and an excellent place to buy fresh, nutrient-dense food to preserve.
If you have a balcony garden, you can grow plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans.
Even if you don’t have any outdoor space though, you can still have some greenery growing in your windowsill! Herbs are an excellent place to start. Here are some of the best herbs to grow on windowsills.
Microgreens are another excellent crop that require little space and can grow anytime of year, as long as they have some natural light or a grow light.
If you have a community garden nearby, take advantage of the opportunity to learn to grow plants together with your neighbors.
Lastly, do you know any homesteaders or small hobby farmers nearby who could use a hand? Offer to help in the garden in exchange for a little bit of the harvest. This is a great way to learn from someone who may be a little bit more experienced than you are (and hopefully also get some fresh food!).
Making and fixing clothing and other textile items is a skill that you can learn and improve even in a small space.
Skills within this category include sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, spinning, and weaving.
With these skills, you can make your dollars go farther by fixing items (like clothing) rather than buying new ones right away. In addition, you can also learn to make projects in the exact size, shape, and designs you want.
Here are some of the skills and projects we’ve found most useful in our home.
- Basic sewing skills for fixing rips, buttons, etc.
- Simple quilts
- Crocheted or knitted washcloths and potholders
- Plastic bag dispenser
Non-toxic cleaning supplies
Making your own cleaning supplies is easy, makes for a healthier home, and allows you to rely less on store bought products. Switching to more natural products can be overwhelming. To avoid overwhelm here, just focus on making one change at a time.
Here are some of our most-used non-toxic cleaning recipes:
Laundry stain remover
- One part baking soda
- One part dish soap
- Two parts hydrogen peroxide
Mix together and apply to stains. Let sit for 10+ minutes before washing.
(I have yet to find a laundry stain that cannot be removed by this powerful—but safe–mixture.)
Homemade laundry soap
This laundry soap cleans effectively and only costs pennies per load.
Homemade surface cleaner
- 1 cup distilled vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- 15 drops lavender, lemon, peppermint, or orange essential oil
Mix in a spray bottle.
If you have some freezer space, learning to hunt is an excellent way to provide meat for your family.
You don’t have to own land to hunt. Many people hunt on public land or rent land for hunting. Be sure to check on the hunting laws in your state.
If you’ve never hunted before, ask an experienced hunter near you if they’d be willing to help you out. Many avid hunters are happy to take a beginner along and teach them the ropes.
Depending on the size of your family and your meat consumption, a couple of deer could provide the majority of your meat for the year.
What homesteading skills are best for getting started?
The list of homesteading skills can be overwhelming. There’s so much to learn. Where do you even start?
Think about what skills you have the ability to do. If there’s no public land near you, hunting might not be the best to start. If your neighbor down the street sells bushels of tomatoes every year, canning may be a good skill to learn. In addition, think about your needs. Are your kids always tearing the seams on their play clothes? Perhaps sewing would be the best place to start.
No matter where you begin, don’t let yourself be crippled by wanting to do everything or wanting to do it all perfectly. In many cases, done is better than perfect. Sew that apron, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d like. Next time will be easier!
Best homesteading ideas you can do in an apartment
As you can see, there are plenty of homesteading ideas you can do even in an apartment – no matter how small!
- Cooking from scratch
- Food preservation
- Growing food
- Non-toxic cleaning supplies
…just to name a few.
Don’t wait to get started on homesteading
In a world where a large majority of the population works on computers all day, basic skills are becoming more and more valuable, and less people know how to do them. We should all desire to learn to provide for more of our basic needs and rely less on supply chains.
Count every step in this direction a victory!
What’s on the top of your list of homesteading skills to learn (or improve)?
Nadxiieli Kannenberg says
Definitely bookmarking this thank you! Very informative !
I love all these ideas!! Great post! You don’t need to own cows or chicken or live on a huge property to be homesteading. For me it’s more of a mindset and lifestyle 🙂
There’s so much you can do to be more self-sufficient even in smaller spaces! I totally agree!
Tessa Jones says
PREACH! Yes yes yes… we’re not in an apartment but we’re on 0.16 acre and our zoning forbids animals, so these are the exact things we’re working on in our home and lifestyle for the time being. Love this post, it just about read my mind. Can’t wait to peruse more of your site!
Oh, awesome! It’s so great to be able to have some of these basic skills–whether you stay where you are or move out to the country eventually! Thanks for reading! 🙂