Steps to DIY Self-Sufficient Living
To be self sufficient means to be able to supply your own needs. This could mean living off-grid, learning basic car maintenance and eating seasonally while preserving food for the year ahead.
It can also include using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, fostering collaboration and embracing continuous learning. Taking these simple steps can help anyone on their journey towards being more self sufficient.
1. Grow Your Own Food
In an increasingly fragile world, it’s a good idea to have your own food supplies. Natural disasters, chemical spills and other man made problems can leave you with no access to food. Growing your own food is one step in self sufficient living and a great way to make the most of any back yard space.
Growing your own food also cuts down on waste. Many grocery stores throw out “ugly” produce or produce that doesn’t sell well. Growing your own food allows you to use all of the produce that would otherwise be thrown out.
Another tip for living self sufficiently is to start saving money. The more you save, the less you need to rely on other people. This includes making small changes such as sleeping in an extra hour or cutting out a few hours of TV or couch time.
2. Collect Rainwater
Self-sufficiency is a journey that will teach you how to reduce your dependence on city resources. This includes building backup and supplementary utilities such as water and power, gardening, raising livestock, beekeeping and more.
It also means learning to use and re-purpose items that would otherwise be thrown away. For instance, you can repurpose milk jugs to grow seeds or a wooden dresser can become a bathroom vanity cabinet.
The journey to self-sufficiency requires a brave and fortified mindset. This is why it is important to start small and find projects that naturally supplement your family’s efforts to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. For instance, a great first step is to begin reducing your utility bills by coaching your family on water conservation practices such as running the dishwasher only when full or washing clothes in cold water.
3. Learn to Fix Your Car
Not everyone can become fully self sufficient and quit their jobs, but there are plenty of ways to improve your independence. The first step is to pay off all your consumer debts and get your personal finances under control. This will give you a financial safety net in case of an emergency.
Another step is to learn basic mechanic skills so you can repair your own car, lawnmower and other tools and machines. This will save you money on expensive repairs and help you live more sustainably.
Finally, be sure to conserve energy and water. This includes using energy efficient appliances, cooking with a wood stove, walking or biking instead of driving and not leaving lights on unnecessarily. It also means cutting out wasting habits like a daily latte or too much TV or “couch time.” You’ll have more hours in the day to focus on your own dreams!
4. Buy Paper Instead of Plastic
Practicing self sufficiency means living on less and reducing your dependence on the energy, food, water and other resources that are not renewable or sustainable. This can mean canceling subscription services, ditching your daily latte, cooking from scratch more often, using filled jars for home workouts instead of buying dumbbells and using recycled paper products as much as possible.
Many diy self sufficient homeowners are finding that it is far more cost effective and environmentally friendly to reuse or repurpose objects rather than throw them away. For example, an old dresser can be turned into a vanity cabinet in your bathroom. This also makes it easier to practice a key component of self sufficiency: being resourceful.
5. Tap Your Own Maple Tree
One of the first steps to self sufficient living is reducing your dependency on the modern food system. It’s a complex network of commercial growers, distributors, and grocery stores reliant on trucks, trains, planes, and boats to get from your neighborhood to your plate.
It may not be feasible to live off the grid, but many of us can do something to reduce our dependence on the modern world. By waking up an hour earlier, cutting out an hour of TV and social media, or going without that daily latte, you can make big changes in a short amount of time!
The best way to become more self sufficient is to start small. Tapping your own maple trees, for example, is a great way to practice suburban homesteading and enjoy the sweet flavor of homemade syrup.