Homesteading and Apartment are two words that you don’t think should go together, but what if I told you they can?!
I know so many homesteaders like myself who dream of acres of land and dairy goats and alpacas…okay maybe the alpacas are just me! But my point is that homesteading looks one certain way in our heads and so that can hold us back from homesteading right where we are. Because we think since we live in the city, in an apartment, townhouse, or hoa that we can’t possibly homestead.
And I’m setting out to prove it. We lived on a 1/3 of an acre for 5.5 years and we did SO much there, and we could have done much more but finances got in the way. Which brings me to where we are today – a townhouse in the city, a better job, and saving for our dream property. But just because I can’t have chickens anymore doesn’t mean I’m not still a homesteader. Oh cont-rare. There is SO much I can still do and plan to do here in this small city space.
If you’re dreaming for acreage, I want to encourage you to keep on working and planning for it! But I also want to encourage you to do what you can NOW, life is too short to waste a minute waiting for things to be ‘perfect’ – because, news flash, it won’t ever be perfect. It’s called life 😉 So start homesteading today with something from this list!
20 Ways to Homestead in an Apartment:
In the Kitchen:
make bread: This is one of the first things I learned to do, and after the birth of my third child I let the weekly practice of baking bread fall to the wayside. But this is a quintessential homesteading skill! And I’ve started it back up again in our townhouse. If you are just starting on your bread baking journey, try out my Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe. It’s super forgiving, simple, and delicious!
make your own sourdough starter: Ready to up-level your bread baking skill set?? And uplevel the nutrient value of your bread?? Sourdough is the answer my friends. This is an ancient bread baking technique – it simply doesn’t get more homestead-y then this! It’s a little more time consuming and take more care to make this, but once you master the basics it’s simple. You can follow this fabulous tutorial to making your own sourdough starter, OR you can buy some from Azure standard.
can/freeze/preserve produce: Y’all, I’m not at the point where I’m producing gobs of produce from my tiny container garden – I’m sure it’s possible,but I’m not there and it will take time. While I’m working towards that, when produce is on sale (or if you’re lucky like me to live near tons of u-pick farms) I’m stocking up and preserving it. Freezing is the easiest way. But canning and dehydrating aren’t too tough either. Preserving the harvest is an absolute rock star homesteading skill.
cook from scratch: Basic? Yes. But this is a skill many lack in today’s world, and it’s an essential homesteading skill. I mean, what is even the point of growing veggies and raising meat and dairy if you can’t do anything with it?? Right now in an apartment, townhouse, or hoa, is the PERFECT time to practice honing your cooking skills.
make kombucha: Kombucha has become a super popular health food trend – it’s chock full of probiotics after all. But did you know you can make your own??
grow your own sprouts: this is something ANYONE can do. I personally don’t really recommend the jar sprouting method – it’s a bit needy and I’ve read that it has the potential risk of growing bacteria like E. coli….um no thanks. But guess what, there is an easier and safer way! Just get yourself a little tray of potting soil and spread some alfalfa seeds on it and water as needed. Boom. Highly nutritious, cheap, fresh sprouts. From your kitchen counter top. Boom. Homesteading.
grow a container garden: Have a patio, balcony, or porch that gets 6+ hours of sunlight?? Congratulations friend, you can grow veggies and fruits in containers out there! Start small, 2-3 containers, and then work your way up. In no time you’ll be harvesting little bounties from your own apartment.
join a community garden: This is a great option if you don’t have any space to grow a garden. I did this waaaay back when I lived in an apartment that had a nice SHADY balcony. Community gardens are becoming way more common, so search around and see if you have one near by your home.
take gardening classes: Whether you can have your own small garden on a balcony or tiny back yard, or you’re participating in a community garden , or even if none of those options are available to you – you can most likely find a free or cheap community gardening class you can take. These are often available at local libraries or university agriculture extensions.
grow your own mushrooms: This one couldn’t be easier! You don’t even need a sunny window! You can buy a mushroom growing kit on Amazon and have your own gourmet mushrooms in a few weeks!
grow herbs: Herbs tend to be very forgiving windowsill plants, they are gorgeous too. Nothing is much nicer then reaching for home grown herbs right in the kitchen!
start a compost bin: Waste not want not, was definitely coined by a homesteader. Even if you don’t have animals to eat your kitchen scrapes and food waste, doesn’t mean you need to just toss it out. There are many different composting options to choose from, and plenty that are very well suited for urban living. You’re gardens will be amazing, you won’t be wasting food, and boom. Homesteading.
learn to sew: When I think of homesteading I think of Little House on the Prairie. And you know what they did a TON of? I think it’s fair to say they spent just as much time sewing as they did milking cows. Just sayin’. If you want to embrace the homesteading pioneer spirit, learn to sew! There are TONS of wicked cute and modern sewing projects on Pinterest.
learn to make soap: Again, skills skills skills. Learning to make soap is a great one. Not only can you save some money with this one, but you can also have some peace of mind from knowing what ingredients are in your personal hygiene products.
learn to use natural remedies: I’m pretty sure Ma Ingalls wasn’t dragging her kids to the doctor every time they sneezed. Homesteaders had to have a decent amount of knowledge about natural remedies. It wasn’t trendy, it was survival. This skill set is just as important today as ever before. A great place to start is essential oils – because they are so darn easy, effective, and cost pennies on the dollar in comparison to OTC options. If you want to learn about this essential skill, check out my Essential Oils Basics class here.
learn to knit or crochet: Like sewing, this is a great homesteading skill to acquire. Anything that adds to your independence and sustainability is a homesteading skill in my opinion. Not to mention this is a fun one. There are tons of tutorials on youtube to learn these.
build up food storage and emergency supplies: Homesteading has a lot of cross over with prepping, in my humble opinion. You don’t need to have tons of space to make and keep a week of food storage and emergency supplies. Do it. It’s smart, and could save your life. Very homestead-y.
learn to forage: This can be done anywhere, no matter what your home looks like. Find a local foraging class to learn about the local wild edibles in your area. This is a great homesteading and survival skill to have in your back pocket.
keep quail or rabbits: Have a townhouse with a small yard? Or live in an HOA community? Investigate raising small animals like quail or rabbits. They can be kept in humane cages or in little tractor coops so they can be on the grass. They are small enough and quiet enough to where these “livestock” animals could be considered pets! Homesteading possibilities with these two animals include, fresh eggs, fresh meat, and rabbit manure is excellent fertilizer for your garden.
join a CSA: Can’t grow your own food? Support local farmers. A sense of community is a huge component of homesteading. Plus you’ll get the freshest food possible. Yum.
join an Azure Standard community drop: This way surpasses Sam’s Club, Costco, or Amazon Prime. The prices and healthy options are fabulous. And no membership or shipping cost are needed. Cooking from scratch and staying healthy are super homestead-y and Azure Standard is a great way to help on both fronts.
get out of debt: This isn’t limited to homesteading, but I can tell you from personal experience that nothing quite crushes any homestead hopes like obligations to debt…it’s extremely limiting and a big barrier to the independence most (if not all) homesteaders are really looking for. Getting out of debt is something you can absolutely do without acres of land (in fact, it’s a great step to eventually getting you those acres!). My favorite financial and debt resources are Suze Orman, and Anna Newell Jones. Dave Ramsey is a good resource as well, just not my personal favorite.
start a side business: This one might not immediately seem like a homesteading skill. But let me tell you why I believe it is. First, if your main goal is to get onto acreage, I’m guessing money may be a barrier – starting a business on the side to earn extra income is a viable way to get closer to that goal of land. Secondly, homesteading itself isn’t an inexpensive endeavor, and many homesteaders today have to have outside income to sustain their “hobby farm”.
Additionally, many homesteaders use their homestead as a side business to pay for things like animal feed and supplies. Having a side business NOW will help you learn the ins and outs of running a small business and give you invaluable skills to employ when you get on that homestead. If you’re curious about one of the main ways I’ve created a side income for our family, you can click here.
learn to manage your time: This is an important life skill in general, but when you add homesteading to the mix, it’s essential. One of the top complaints I hear from people in general is about how they don’t have enough time. No. Just no. You just haven’t learned to manage it properly yet. You can go read this post about how I manage my time to make my homesteading life simpler.
Are you feeling a little more empowered to get out there and homestead where you are RIGHT NOW?!
I sure hope so! I hope this has convinced you that you CAN homestead in an apartment and that you’ll start homesteading TODAY! Comment below with the first thing you’ll start with!